The Misinformation Susceptibility Test (MIST): A psychometrically validated measure of news veracity discernment

Rakoen Maertens, Friedrich M Götz, Hudson F Golino, Jon Roozenbeek, Claudia R Schneider, Yara Kyrychenko, John R Kerr, Stefan Stieger, William P McClanahan, Karly Drabot, James He, Sander van der Linden

Research output: Journal article (peer-reviewed)Journal article

7 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Interest in the psychology of misinformation has exploded in recent years. Despite ample research, to date there is no validated framework to measure misinformation susceptibility. Therefore, we introduce Verification done, a nuanced interpretation schema and assessment tool that simultaneously considers Veracity discernment, and its distinct, measurable abilities (real/fake news detection), and biases (distrust/naïvité-negative/positive judgment bias). We then conduct three studies with seven independent samples (Ntotal = 8504) to show how to develop, validate, and apply the Misinformation Susceptibility Test (MIST). In Study 1 (N = 409) we use a neural network language model to generate items, and use three psychometric methods-factor analysis, item response theory, and exploratory graph analysis-to create the MIST-20 (20 items; completion time < 2 minutes), the MIST-16 (16 items; < 2 minutes), and the MIST-8 (8 items; < 1 minute). In Study 2 (N = 7674) we confirm the internal and predictive validity of the MIST in five national quota samples (US, UK), across 2 years, from three different sampling platforms-Respondi, CloudResearch, and Prolific. We also explore the MIST's nomological net and generate age-, region-, and country-specific norm tables. In Study 3 (N = 421) we demonstrate how the MIST-in conjunction with Verification done-can provide novel insights on existing psychological interventions, thereby advancing theory development. Finally, we outline the versatile implementations of the MIST as a screening tool, covariate, and intervention evaluation framework. As all methods are transparently reported and detailed, this work will allow other researchers to create similar scales or adapt them for any population of interest.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1863-1899
Number of pages37
JournalBehavior Research Methods
Volume56
Issue number3
Early online date29 Jun 2023
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 29 Jun 2023

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