Misleading Headlines Can Leave Lasting Impressions, Even If You Read The Article

A new study documents the large and lingering effects of media misinformation.

Earlier this month, with fears of Ebola on the rise, CNN’s website published an article called “Ebola in the air? A nightmare that could happen.” The headline suggested that the Ebola virus, which only spreads through contact with bodily fluids, might mutate enough to be transmitted through a cough or a sneeze. But medical experts in the actual article disregarded the idea that Ebola would change its mode of transmission, calling it speculation “unsubstantiated by any evidence.” On these grounds, the headline might well have read: “Ebola in the air? No need to worry.”

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