Determinants of the Belief in (Fake) News

Last registered on September 25, 2023


Trial Information

General Information

Determinants of the Belief in (Fake) News
Initial registration date
June 12, 2023

Initial registration date is when the trial was registered.

It corresponds to when the registration was submitted to the Registry to be reviewed for publication.

First published
June 23, 2023, 3:44 PM EDT

First published corresponds to when the trial was first made public on the Registry after being reviewed.

Last updated
September 25, 2023, 5:49 PM EDT

Last updated is the most recent time when changes to the trial's registration were published.



Primary Investigator

Vienna University of Economics and Business

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
Vienna University of Economics and Business
PI Affiliation
University of Vienna
PI Affiliation
Princeton University
PI Affiliation
University of Vienna

Additional Trial Information

In development
Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
Prior work
This trial does not extend or rely on any prior RCTs.
The scale of fake news and misinformation is constantly growing in our hyper-connected world, which may have grave economic and societal consequences. For example, fake news and rumors can manipulate elections, threaten public health, and hype up (or down) investors leading to artificial market disturbances and instability. Designing appropriate social and economic policies in order to combat fake news and to improve the resilience of individuals, institutions, and markets to misinformation calls for a systematic investigation into the underlying cognitive, psychological, and institutional determinants of the belief in falsehoods and resistance to factual information. In this project, we aim to investigate the role of cognitive ability, overconfidence, and motivated reasoning (due to partisanship, prior issue opinions, and ideology) in the processing of (mis)information in several countries. In addition, we will analyze their role in updating from new information and the evolution of opinions.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Cefala, Edoardo et al. 2023. "Determinants of the Belief in (Fake) News ." AEA RCT Registry. September 25.
Sponsors & Partners


Experimental Details


Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
The ability to discern correct and false news.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
In our study, participants take a news quiz, which provides a measure of their ability to discern correct and false news. Guided by our theoretical model, we will use survey and experimental data to understand how an individual’s ability to discern correct and fake news relates to (i) cognitive ability, motivated reasoning, and overconfidence; and (ii) how these factors affect updating from new information.
Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
Randomization done in office by a computer.
Randomization Unit
Was the treatment clustered?

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
3000-3500 individuals
Sample size: planned number of observations
3000-3500 individuals
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
One within-subject treatment with 3000-3500 individuals
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
WU Vienna Ethics Board
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number
Analysis Plan

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