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Mental Representation of Scenes: Discriminability of true and false information

WorkgroupsRealistic DepictionsPerception and Action
Duration12/2021 - 11/2024bis
FundingIWM budget resources
Project description

In various research areas and topics such as climate change or testimonies it has already been demonstrated that mental representations are influenced by true and false information. Problematically, it becomes increasingly difficult to identify false information in our daily lives. Furthermore, new technologies simplify the creation of realistic-looking false messages in media. This dissertation project, therefore, addresses the question of how discriminability of information influences mental representations.

People construct mental representations of scenes they read or experience. To create an accurate mental representation, all incoming information must be checked for its veracity. However, when the discrimination between true and false statements becomes difficult, little is known about the cognitive processes that prevent integration into the mental representation. This project aims to combine the different research directions and add to the understanding of the information processing if the veracity of statements is difficult to discriminate. In the first planned set of experiments, the discriminability of the truth value in scene descriptions will be systematically varied and the memory for each sentence and its veracity will be questioned.

Through this setting, more insights can be gained into how the discriminability affects one’s mental representation of a scene, and whether the veracity value is remembered. Additionally, it will be investigated how the veracity affects inferences someone draws about a scene. A better understanding of the processing of true and false information and its influence on mental representations is also important for other research areas such as the spreading of Fake News, testimonies, or news reporting of live events.