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Young Adults View Twitter Content with Healthy Skepticism

Young Adults View Twitter Content with Healthy Skepticism A new study discovers that although young adults use and read information posted on Twitter, millennials maintain a healthy mistrust of the content.

Kimberly Fenn, Ph.D., an assistant professor of psychology at Michigan State University, said nearly anyone can start a Twitter account and post 140 characters of information at a time — bogus or not — a fact the study’s participants seemed to grasp.

“Our findings suggest young people are somewhat wary of information that comes from Twitter,” said Fenn, lead investigator on the study. “It’s a good sign.”

The study, funded by the National Science Foundation, is the first to examine social media and false memory.

Participants were college students from the so-called Millennial Generation. Twitter, with 230 million users, is most popular among people in their teens and 20s.

Fenn and Michigan State University colleagues showed 74 undergraduates a series of images on a computer that depicted a story of a man robbing a car.

False information about the story was then presented in a scrolling text feed that bore a high resemblance to Twitter or in a feed from a more traditional online source.

The researchers tested whether the students integrated the bogus information into their minds, which psychologists call false memory.

The results showed that when the participants read the “Twitter” feed, they were much less likely to form false memories about the story.

Fenn said the students were more mistrustful of the Twitter feed than they were of the more traditional feed. “We propose young adults are taking into account the medium of the message when integrating information into memory,” Fenn said.

The study has been published online in the journal Psychonomic Bulletin & Review.

Source: Michigan State University

Alexander Supertramp /

Young Adults View Twitter Content with Healthy Skepticism

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2015). Young Adults View Twitter Content with Healthy Skepticism. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 18, 2018, from


Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 6 Oct 2015
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 6 Oct 2015
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