This past November, I presented a project entitled “More Than Fake News: How Article Sources Affects the Perceived Objectivity of Information.” I conducted the project for my second Psychological Statistics and Methods class, which I took in Fall 2016. I worked with Jessica Lopez, a fellow student, and we were overseen by Professor Paul Zarnoth. The goals of this project were to find whether the source of a news article and a participant’s cognitive style (intuitive vs. analytic) affected recall of the article and the perceived objectivity of the article. To test this, we wrote a fabricated news story and digitally manipulated it to appear to be from either The New York Times (NYT) or People Magazine. We administered personality assessments to obtain the participant’s cognitive style, then gave them the article which appeared to be from either NYT or People, and then provided questionnaires about the participant’s recall of the article’s details and perceived objectivity of the article. These questionnaires included reverse coded questions and used a 7-point Likert scale.
Jessica and I independently conducted this project for approximately 4.5 months during Fall Semester 2016. I collected one half of the participants through convenience sampling, wrote the article which we digitally manipulated, and took part in writing an APA style report about the project. This research contributed to the overall research mission of the methods class by creating a unique and relevant project that included a social justice element. The purpose of the class was to synthesize psychological research methods we had learned in class, such as statistical analysis using SPSS, academic journal research, writing and creating surveys, and the experimental method, so by executing a successful project, we contributed to the overall quality of the professor’s lab and class.