The Role of Influence of Presumed Influence and Anticipated Guilt in Evoking Social Correction of COVID-19 Misinformation

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1368–1377
Journal / PublicationHealth Communication
Issue number11
Online published18 Feb 2021
Publication statusPublished - 2022


Misinformation on social media pertaining to COVID-19 poses a great threat to public health. The active correction of misinformation by social media users and an understanding of the drivers of such behavior can help solve this ongoing issue. Drawing on the influence of presumed influence model and cognitive appraisal theory, an online experiment (N = 400) was conducted to examine how exposure to corrective messages with regard to COVID-19 misinformation induced individuals’ threat appraisals of the influence of the misinformation on others and how these threat appraisals and the corresponding emotional responses motivated individuals to take corrective actions. The results suggested that people’s perceptions of the severity of the influence of misinformation on others engendered anticipated guilt, which, in turn, strengthened their intentions to correct misinformation related to COVID-19. The study offers guidance on how to effectively craft a corrective message to encourage audiences to counter misinformation together.