“Photoshopped. I can tell by the pixels and having seen quite a few ‘shops.” We like to think we are pretty good at spotting hoax, a joke, fake news, or an altered image. Those images are the ones that are likely to trip up even the most discerning reader. A study published in the journal Cognitive Research: Principles and Implications says that people only manage to detect an altered image 60% of the time, and even when they know an image has been altered, they can only find the alteration 45% of the time.
The study authors aren’t entirely sure why humans seem to be so shoddy at sussing out fact from fiction. In the paper, they speculate that perhaps we have the visual shortcuts that make our brains so speedy to blame: most of us understand how a shadow should fall, for example, but our brains aren’t designed to latch onto the position of a shadow when we look at an image. We gloss over a lot of what we see so that our brains can more quickly process the information that seems most important. In the conclusion of the paper, the study authors don’t sound entirely optimistic about the prospect of training individuals to be more discerning, but they point out that making a more manual effort of taking the image in might help.
So it might help to approach any image, especially on the internet, with the mindset that it might be fake. Sometimes that’s important, but sometimes it just takes away the enjoyment of a picture that’s only supposed to be funny. Read more about the research at Popular Science. You can also take a test of your altered image detecting abilities here. -via Daily of the Day