DOI: 10.1177/19485506231220702 ISSN: 1948-5506

Actual and Perceived Partisan Bias in Judgments of Political Misinformation as Lies

Louisa M. Reins, Alex Wiegmann
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Social Psychology

In times of what has been coined “post-truth politics,” people are regularly confronted with political actors who intentionally spread false or misleading information. The present article examines (a) to what extent partisans’ judgments of such behaviors as cases of lying are affected by whether the deceiving agent shares their partisanship (actual bias) and (b) to what extent partisans expect the lie judgments of others to be affected by a bias of this kind (perceived bias). In two preregistered experiments ( N = 1,040), we find partisans’ lie judgments to be only weakly affected by the partisanship ascribed to political deceivers, regardless of whether deceivers explicitly communicate or merely insinuate political falsehoods. At the same time, partisans expect their political opponents’ lie judgments to be strongly affected by the deceiving agents’ partisanship. Surprisingly, misperceptions of bias were also present in people’s predictions of bias within their own political camp.

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