Date of Award

August 2020

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Media Studies


Tamara M. Chock


Credibility, Dual-Process Theory, Fake News, Partisanship, Social Media

Subject Categories

Social and Behavioral Sciences


The objective of this study is to examine how the information processing of news users happens on social media in the context of spreading fake news. This study is intended to shed light on how fake news spreads on social media with the effects of two moderators (i.e., partisanship and source credibility) from political attitude consistency to message credibility and the effect of mediation (i.e., cognitive appraisal to threat) from message credibility to intent to share fake news on social media and corrective action. As a theoretical lens, dual-process theories were adopted in this paper. For this, a 2 (news topic: Immigration vs. Gun control) X 2 (news topic stance: Positive vs. Negative) X 2 (source: major (i.e., Associated Press) vs. minor (i.e., blog news) between-subject online experiment with 507 participants was conducted for both immigration and gun control topics. As a result, in the moderation effects, although partisanship was significant for both topic immigration and gun control news, source credibility was significant only for immigration news. Plus, the mediation effect of the cognitive appraisal to threats was significant between message credibility and the intent to share fake news on social media for both news topics. Lastly, even though the relations between message credibility and corrective action had to be negatively associated, they were positively correlated.


Open Access



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.