Kent State Professor Sheds Light on Understanding Fake News

Mark Whitmore Ph.D., an assistant professor of management and information systems at Kent State University's College of Business Administration, shared his expertise on how the public comprehends fake news in today’s society with the investment research firm Morningstar.

Fake news is often associated with social media, causing users to find news which conforms to their own beliefs, and Dr. Whitmore explained how the brain receives this information.

"At its core is the need for the brain to receive confirming information that harmonizes with an individual's existing views and beliefs,” Dr. Whitmore told Morningstar. “In fact, one could say the brain is hard-wired to accept, reject, misremember or distort information based on whether it is viewed as accepting of or threatening to existing beliefs."

Dr. Whitmore also noted how parents can help their children decipher fake news from real by teaching them how to role play, which should lead them to developing critical thinking skills that will help them determine true from false. In order to prevent a false reality, Dr. Whitmore said humor and satire help reduce anxiety associated with social media.

"Developing a greater degree of skepticism in children, by encouraging them to ask why and to question, diminishes confirmation bias," Dr. Whitmore told Morningstar. "All of these strategies have substantial research supporting their beneficial effects."

Dr. Whitmore’s background consists of 20 years in leadership development, assessment centers and  planning and coaching. Dr. Whitmore came to Kent State in 2013, and has received national recognition for his coaching expertise and leadership development programs. He also is a published author.

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POSTED: Wednesday, November 28, 2018 - 1:35pm
UPDATED: Friday, January 11, 2019 - 4:21pm
Lexi Marco