A Lesson in Fake News: Effects of a Digital Media Literacy Intervention on Dutch High School Students’ Ability to Detect Fake News
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As individual news consumers are being confronted with fake news on a regular basis, the call for effective fake news interventions has grown louder. This article tries to replicate the effect of a Digital Media Literacy Intervention, originally researched by Guess et al. (2020), on individuals abilities to discern between real and fake news. An alteration to previous research is the focus on adolescents, a group deemed at high risk for fake news. Additionally, dual process theory is related in this research to investigate whether the intervention has varying results between individuals with a low or high propensity to engage in deliberative thought. To achieve these goals, an experimental study was conducted among 86 Dutch secondary education students at havo- and vwo-level. Results show that the intervention significantly increases participants score on a self-constructed Fake News Recognition Test. However, this increase is not due to a higher score on either real or fake news articles. Test scores related to dual thinking process and the following interaction effect were insignificant predictors for fake news recognition. Limitations of this study are discussed.