How to combat misinformation? That’s a question raised during the elections worldwide, especially in India. Fake news has become one of the most salient and urgent public issues in India. It shapes elections as well as communal violence.
Policy solutions are being proposed based on a relatively simple model of information processing and a series of untested assumptions about how to counter misinformation. The Government of India and members of parliament are debating regulations and other legislations.
This project aims at examining how bias against another group (along religious, ethnic or political lines) can affect the way individuals process and recall objective information aimed at reducing bias.
The goal is to establish the phenomena of motivated beliefs and motivated memory in large samples of Indians across the country.
Under this project, the researchers will conduct a series of pilot experiments with Indian research subjects and establish research protocols regarding the existence of motivated beliefs and motivated memory. They will also develop and pilot an experimental laboratory in the field, using existing WhatsApp networks from political parties. In future, the team intends to work with policymakers to test new de-biasing interventions.