When Friends Don't Care About Facts: Belonging Motivation Drives Untrustworthy Information Sharing
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction, presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractUnderstanding when and why consumers share untrustworthy information is increasingly important in a digital, social media age where mis- and disinformation pose a significant societal threat. In this context, I suggest a focus on the human motive to belong as a powerful driver of untrustworthy information sharing. Prior work on information processing and transmission has primarily focused on judgmental mistakes or self-directed goals to explain consumer interactions with information that deviate from normatively accurate behavior. In contrast, I look to the digital phenomena of commingled information and social environments to suggest that the motive to belong may have a consequential impact on contemporary information sharing behavior. In six studies I demonstrate that a motive to belong is at the center of untrustworthy information sharing behavior. The studies reveal that holding a motive to belong leads consumers to be just as likely to share information from untrustworthy as compared to trustworthy sources. When consumers believe that the social group with whom they are sharing information values accuracy, untrustworthy information sharing behavior is tempered. The current research suggests that interventions targeting mis- and disinformation would benefit by considering that, from the consumer’s point of view, an accuracy motive is auxiliary to the belonging-oriented social information sharing environments we inhabit.
Degree ProgramGraduate College