Ullrich K H Ecker

Ullrich K H Ecker
University of Western Australia | UWA · School of Psychological Science

PhD

About

144
Publications
106,733
Reads
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6,751
Citations
Additional affiliations
February 2008 - present
University of Western Australia
February 2008 - October 2016
University of Western Australia
Position
  • Professor (Associate)
October 1999 - December 2007

Publications

Publications (144)
Article
Full-text available
The terms "post-truth" and "fake news" have become increasingly prevalent in public discourse over the last year. This article explores the growing abundance of misinformation, how it influences people and how to counter it. We examine the ways in which misinformation can have an adverse impact on society. We summarize how people respond to correct...
Article
Full-text available
This study investigated the cognitive processing of true and false political information. Specifically, it examined the impact of source credibility on the assessment of veracity when information comes from a polarizing source (Experiment 1), and effectiveness of explanations when they come from one’s own political party or an opposition party (Exp...
Article
Full-text available
Misinformation can undermine a well-functioning democracy. For example, public misconceptions about climate change can lead to lowered acceptance of the reality of climate change and lowered support for mitigation policies. This study experimentally explored the impact of misinformation about climate change and tested several pre-emptive interventi...
Article
Full-text available
People frequently continue to use inaccurate information in their reasoning even after a credible retraction has been presented. This phenomenon is often referred to as the continued influence effect of misinformation. The repetition of the original misconception within a retraction could contribute to this phenomenon, as it could inadvertently mak...
Article
Full-text available
People frequently rely on information even after it has been retracted, a phenomenon known as the continued-influence effect of misinformation. One factor proposed to explain the ineffectiveness of retractions is that repeating misinformation during a correction may inadvertently strengthen the misinformation by making it more familiar. Practitione...
Preprint
Reliance on misinformation often persists in the face of corrections. However, the role of social factors on people’s reliance on corrected misinformation has received little attention. In two experiments, we investigated the extent to which social endorsement of misinformation and corrections influences belief updating. In both experiments misinfo...
Article
Corrected misinformation can continue to influence inferential reasoning. It has been suggested that such continued influence is partially driven by misinformation familiarity, and that corrections should therefore avoid repeating misinformation to avoid inadvertent strengthening of misconceptions. However, evidence for such familiarity-backfire ef...
Article
Full-text available
Misinformation regarding the cause of an event often continues to influence an individual’s event-related reasoning, even after they have received a retraction. This is known as the continued influence effect (CIE). Dominant theoretical models of the CIE have suggested the effect arises primarily from failures to retrieve the correction. However, r...
Preprint
Given the negative impact reliance on misinformation can have on individuals and society, substantial effort has gone into understanding the factors that influence misinformation belief and propagation. However, despite the rise of social media often being cited as a fundamental driver of misinformation exposure and false beliefs, how people proces...
Article
Full-text available
Misinformation about climate change is a consequential societal issue, causing polarization and reduced support for climate action. However, the seriousness of the problem does not preclude non-serious solutions. There are numerous potential benefits to humor as a strategy to counter misinformation, such as attracting attention and engaging disenga...
Preprint
Misinformation can continue to influence reasoning after correction; this is known as the continued influence effect (CIE). Theoretical accounts of the CIE suggest failure of two cognitive processes to be causal, namely memory updating and suppression of misinformation reliance. Both processes can also be conceptualised as subcomponents of contempo...
Preprint
Misinformed beliefs are difficult to change. Refutations that target false claims typically reduce false beliefs, but tend to be only partially effective. In this study, a social norming approach was explored to test whether provision of peer norms could provide an alternative or complementary approach to refutation. Three experiments investigated...
Preprint
Event segmentation theory proposes that individuals segment the incoming stream of information into meaningful events, separated by event boundaries that are triggered by contextual change. This segmentation has important implications for memory and learning. Following unexpected findings from a study that examined the effect of spatial event bound...
Article
Full-text available
Conservationists have long sought to reduce consumer demand for products from overexploited wildlife species. Health practitioners have also begun calling for reductions in the wildlife trade to reduce pandemic risk. Most wildlife‐focused demand reduction campaigns have lacked rigorous evaluations and thus their impacts remain unknown. There is thu...
Article
Misinformation has been identified as a major contributor to various contentious contemporary events ranging from elections and referenda to the response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Not only can belief in misinformation lead to poor judgements and decision-making, it also exerts a lingering influence on people’s reasoning after it has been corrected...
Article
Psychological research has offered valuable insights into how to combat misinformation. The studies conducted to date, however, have three limitations. First, pre-emptive ("prebunking") and retroactive ("debunking") interventions have mostly been examined in parallel, and thus it is unclear which of these two predominant approaches is more effectiv...
Article
Full-text available
Given that being misinformed can have negative ramifications, finding optimal corrective techniques has become a key focus of research. In recent years, several divergent correction formats have been proposed as superior based on distinct theoretical frameworks. However, these correction formats have not been compared in controlled settings, so the...
Article
Full-text available
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused immense distress but also created opportunity for radical change. Two main avenues for recovery from the pandemic have been discussed: A “back to normal” that foregrounds economic recovery, and a sustainable and progressive “build back better” approach that seeks to address global problems such as inequality and cli...
Preprint
Given that being misinformed can have negative ramifications, finding optimal corrective techniques has become a key focus of research. In recent years, several divergent correction formats have been proposed as superior corrective methods based on distinct theoretical frameworks. However, these correction formats have not been compared in controll...
Preprint
Psychological research has offered valuable insights into how to combat misinformation. The studies conducted to date, however, have three limitations. First, pre-emptive (“prebunking”) and retroactive (“debunking”) interventions have mostly been examined in parallel, and thus it is unclear which of these two predominant approaches is more effectiv...
Article
Event-related misinformation that has been retracted often continues to influence later reasoning regarding the event; this is known as the continued influence effect. To explain this effect, most research has focused on factors governing retrieval of the misinformation and its retraction from long-term memory. However, recent research has begun to...
Article
Misinformation often has a continuing effect on people's reasoning despite clear correction. One factor assumed to affect post-correction reliance on misinformation is worldview-driven motivated reasoning. For example, a recent study with an Australian undergraduate sample found that when politically situated misinformation was retracted, political...
Article
Full-text available
Several countries have successfully reduced their COVID-19 infection rate early, while others have been overwhelmed. The reasons for the differences are complex, but response efficacy has in part depended on the speed and scale of governmental intervention and how communities have received, perceived, and acted on the information provided by govern...
Article
Full-text available
Social media platforms rarely provide data to misinformation researchers. This is problematic as platforms play a major role in the diffusion and amplification of mis- and disinformation narratives. Scientists are often left working with partial or biased data and must rush to archive relevant data as soon as it appears on the platforms, before it...
Article
Full-text available
Working memory (WM) is a system for maintenance of and access to a limited number of goal-relevant representations in the service of higher cognition. Because of its limited capacity, WM requires interference-control processes, allowing us to avoid being distracted by irrelevant information. Recent research has proposed two interference-control pro...
Article
Full-text available
Misinformation often has an ongoing effect on people’s memory and inferential reasoning even after clear corrections are provided; this is known as the continued influence effect. In pursuit of more effective corrections, one factor that has not yet been investigated systematically is the narrative versus non-narrative format of the correction. Som...
Article
The COVID-19 pandemic has seen a surge of health misinformation, which has had serious consequences including direct harm and opportunity costs. We investigated (N = 678) the impact of such misinformation on hypothetical demand (i.e., willingness-to-pay) for an unproven treatment, and propensity to promote (i.e., like or share) misinformation onlin...
Article
Misinformation often affects inferential reasoning even after it has been retracted, known as the continued influence effect (CIE). Previous behavioural research into the effect’s underlying mechanisms has focussed on the role of long-term memory processes at the time misinformation is retrieved during inferential reasoning. We present the first in...
Article
Full-text available
Social media has arguably shifted political agenda-setting power away from mainstream media onto politicians. Current U.S. President Trump’s reliance on Twitter is unprecedented, but the underlying implications for agenda setting are poorly understood. Using the president as a case study, we present evidence suggesting that President Trump’s use of...
Preprint
(This paper is in press, Nature Communications). Social media has arguably shifted political agenda-setting power away from mainstream media onto politicians. Current U.S. President Trump's reliance on Twitter is unprecedented, but the underlying implications for agenda setting are poorly understood. Using the president as a case study, we present...
Preprint
The COVID-19 pandemic has seen a surge of health misinformation, which has had serious consequences including direct harm and opportunity costs. We investigated (N = 678) the impact of such misinformation on two behavioral measures, viz. demand (i.e., willingness-to-pay) for a spurious treatment, and propensity to promote (i.e., like or share) misi...
Preprint
The continued influence effect refers to the finding that people often continue to rely on misinformation in their reasoning even if the information has been retracted. The present study aimed to investigate the extent to which the effectiveness of a retraction is determined by its credibility. In particular, we aimed to scrutinize previous finding...
Preprint
Misinformation often has a continuing effect on people’s reasoning despite clear correction. One factor assumed to affect post-correction reliance on misinformation is worldview-driven motivated reasoning. For example, a recent study with an Australian undergraduate sample found that when politically-situated misinformation was retracted, political...
Preprint
Full-text available
Conservationists have long sought to reduce consumer demand for overexploited wildlife products. More recently, health practitioners and others have begun calling for reductions in the wildlife trade to reduce the risk of pandemics. Despite this broadening interest, most wildlife-focused demand reduction campaigns have lacked rigorous evaluations a...
Article
Full-text available
Misinformation often continues to influence inferential reasoning after clear and credible corrections are provided; this effect is known as the continued influence effect. It has been theorized that this effect is partly driven by misinformation familiarity. Some researchers have even argued that a correction should avoid repeating the misinformat...
Preprint
The COVID-19 pandemic has understandably dominated public discourse,crowding out other important issues such as climate change. Currently, if climate change enters the arena of public debate, it primarily does so in direct relation to the pandemic. In two experiments, we investigated (1) whether portraying the response to the COVID-19 threat as a “...
Article
The COVID-19 pandemic has understandably dominated public discourse, crowding out other important issues such as climate change. Currently, if climate change enters the arena of public debate, it primarily does so in direct relation to the pandemic. In two experiments, we investigated (1) whether portraying the response to the COVID-19 threat as a...
Article
Objective: We tested whether targeting the illusion of causality and/or misperceptions about health risks had the potential to reduce consumer demand for an ineffective health remedy (multivitamin supplements). Design: We adopted a 2 (contingency information: no/yes) × 2 (fear appeal: no/yes) factorial design, with willingness-to-pay as the depende...
Preprint
Full-text available
Working memory (WM) is a system for maintenance of and access to a limited number of goal-relevant representations in the service of higher cognition. Because of its limited capacity, WM requires interference-control processes, allowing us to avoid being distracted by irrelevant information. Recent research has proposed two interference-control pro...
Preprint
Misinformation often continues to influence inferential reasoning after clear and credible corrections are provided; this effect is known as the continued influence effect. It has been theorized that this effect is partly driven by misinformation familiarity. Some researchers have even argued that a correction should avoid repeating the misinformat...
Chapter
Full-text available
There is evidence of a significant relationship between the communication strategies of agencies responding to a crisis and the level of public reassurance and compliance.
Preprint
Misinformation often continues to influence inferential reasoning after clear and credible corrections are provided; this effect is known as the continued influence effect. It has been theorized that this effect is partly driven by misinformation familiarity. Some researchers have even argued that a correction should avoid repeating the misinformat...
Preprint
Objective: We tested whether targeting the illusion of causality and/or misperceptions about health risks had the potential to reduce consumer demand for an ineffective health remedy (multivitamin supplements).Design: We adopted a 2 (contingency information: no/yes) × 2 (fear appeal: no/yes) factorial design, with willingness-to-pay (WTP) as the de...
Article
Objective: Fraudulent health claims-false or misleading claims used to promote health remedies that are untested, ineffective, and often harmful-cause extensive and persistent harm to consumers. To address this problem, novel interventions are needed that address the underlying cognitive mechanisms that render consumers susceptible to fraudulent h...
Article
Use of empirically unsupported practices is a challenge in the field of autism spectrum disorder (ASD). We explored whether attitudes and perceived evidence were linked to intended practice use in early intervention staff. Seventy-one participants completed ratings of the evidence base, current and future use of six ASD intervention practices, and...
Article
People often encounter information that they subsequently learn is false. Past research has shown that people sometimes continue to use this misinformation in their reasoning, even if they remember that the information is false, which researchers refer to as the continued influence effect. The current work shows that the continued influence effect...
Article
Misinformation – information that is false or inaccurate – can continue to influence people’s memory and reasoning even after it has been corrected. Researchers have termed this the continued influence effect (CIE). However, to date, research has focused exclusively on examining the CIE in a single polarity, namely the ongoing effect of initially a...
Article
Even if people acknowledge that misinformation is incorrect after a correction has been presented, their feelings towards the source of the misinformation can remain unchanged. The current study investigated whether participants reduce their support of Republican and Democratic politicians when the prevalence of misinformation disseminated by the p...
Article
Full-text available
Fact‐checking has become an important feature of the modern media landscape. However, it is unclear what the most effective format of fact‐checks is. Some have argued that simple retractions that repeat a false claim and tag it as false may backfire because they boost the claim's familiarity. More detailed refutations may provide a more promising a...
Article
Upon receiving a correction, initially presented misinformation often continues to influence people's judgment and reasoning. Whereas some researchers believe that this so-called continued influence effect of misinformation (CIEM) simply arises from the insufficient encoding and integration of corrective claims, others assume that it arises from a...
Preprint
Background. Continued use of practices not supported by empirical evidence is an ongoing challenge in the field of autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Knowledge and individual attitudes to evidence-based practice as well as accuracy of categorization of practices on their evidence base, have been linked to practice selection in allied health profession...
Article
Misinformation poses significant challenges to evidence-based practice. In the public health domain specifically, treatment misinformation can lead to opportunity costs or direct harm. Alas, attempts to debunk misinformation have proven sub-optimal, and have even been shown to “backfire”, including increasing misperceptions. Thus, optimized debunki...
Article
Full-text available
In the 'post-truth era', political fact-checking has become an issue of considerable significance. A recent study in the context of the 2016 US election found that fact-checks of statements by Donald Trump changed participants' beliefs about those statements-regardless of whether participants supported Trump-but not their feelings towards Trump or...
Article
Full-text available
People often continue to rely on misinformation in their reasoning after they have acknowledged a retraction; this phenomenon is known as the continued-influence effect. Retractions can be particularly ineffective when the retracted misinformation is consistent with a pre-existing worldview. We investigated this effect in the context of depressive...
Article
Misinformation often continues to influence people’s memory and inferential reasoning after it has been retracted; this is known as the continued influence effect (CIE). Previous research investigating the role of attitude‐based motivated reasoning in this context has found conflicting results: Some studies have found that worldview can have a stro...
Article
Full-text available
This study investigated the refutation of equivocal claims using counterarguments. Common sense suggests that more counterarguments should be more effective at inducing belief change. However, some researchers have argued that in persuasive reasoning, using too many arguments might lead to counterproductive skepticism and reactance. Thus, there hav...
Preprint
Full-text available
People remember events and materials better when these are congruent with their mood at retrieval; this is known as the mood-congruent memory bias. This effect is largest when the materials are self-referential and this is known as the self-reference effect. We present two word rating studies, to create a list of self-referential valenced words tha...
Preprint
Full-text available
Misinformation poses significant challenges to evidence-based practice. In the public health domain specifically, treatment misinformation can lead to opportunity costs or direct harm. Alas, attempts to debunk misinformation have proven sub-optimal, and have even been shown to “backfire”, including increasing misperceptions. Thus, optimized debunki...
Article
Objective: We tested a novel intervention for reducing demand for ineffective health remedies. The intervention aimed to empower participants to overcome the illusion of causality, which otherwise drives erroneous perceptions regarding remedy efficacy. Design: A laboratory experiment adopted a between-participants design with six conditions that v...
Preprint
Full-text available
This study investigated the refutation of equivocal claims using counterarguments. Common sense suggests that more counterarguments should be more effective at inducing belief change. However, some researchers have argued that in persuasive reasoning, using too many arguments might lead to counterproductive skepticism and reactance. Thus, there hav...
Preprint
Full-text available
A plethora of behavioural research has suggested that the successful encoding of retracting information is required to minimise the lingering effects of misinformation. However, neuroscientific research in this area is much scarcer. Participants (n = 34) completed a typical continued-influence misinformation paradigm whilst electroencephalographic...
Preprint
Full-text available
Misinformation often affects inferences and judgments even after it has been retracted. This is known as the continued influence effect (CIE). Previous behavioural research into the effect’s underlying mechanisms has focussed on the role of long-term memory processes at the time misinformation is retrieved during inferential reasoning and judgments...