Personality Type, as well as Politics, Predicts Who Shares Fake News

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Who shares fake news? Political scientists, behavioral researchers and the media have said that political conservatives are largely responsible for the proliferation of misinformation. But although there is a documented association, not all conservatives share fake news or endorse such behavior. Such sweeping generalizations threaten to condemn everyone who subscribes to conservative values, and that, in turn, risks further and more dangerous polarization.

To find solutions to this misinformation crisis, our society needs a clear-eyed assessment of who and what drives the spread of malicious falsehoods and conspiracy theories. So our research on misinformation sharing has examined another key determinant of individual behavior: personality. There are several systems for identifying and measuring personality traits, but one of the most widely used is the five-factor theory, often called the Big Five. It organizes traits into five categories: openness…

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