The foreign language effect on the credibility of fake news messages among Dutch news readers and the influence of emotional loading.

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News readers are more and more exposed to news messages in a second language due to today’s (social) media environment. Additionally, the amount of fake news available online is increasing. Therefore, it is valuable to study whether the foreign language effect is present in this context. This study investigated whether the foreign language effect was present in evaluating the credibility of fake news. Also, the influence of emotion within this effect was studied. An experimental survey was conducted with a mixed between within design for the present study. Language (NL Dutch vs. FL English) and news message type (factual vs. fake) were used as between-subject factors and emotional loading (emotional vs. non-emotional) was the within-subjects factor. The data of 111 survey respondents was used to draw conclusions. The results indicated that the foreign language effect was non-existent in the context of fake news. However, emotion showed to influence the credibility of news messages in general. Emotional news messages were evaluated more credible compared to non-emotional news messages. This study contributed to both fake news literature as well as foreign language effect literature. Limitations and suggestions for future research are elaborated on in the last chapter of the study.
Faculteit der Letteren