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Papers of the Week

2022 Jul 24

Appl Neuropsychol Adult

Age and neurocognition are associated with credibility evaluations of health websites.


Babicz MA, Rahman S, Kordovski VM, Tierney SM, Woods S P
Appl Neuropsychol Adult. 2022 Jul 24:1-10.
PMID: 35872658.


The internet has become a common means by which many older adults seek out health information. The prevalence of misinformation on the internet makes the search for accurate online health information a more complex and evaluative process. This study examined the role of age and neurocognition in credibility evaluations of credible and non-credible health websites. Forty-one older adults and fifty younger adults completed a structured credibility rating task in which they evaluated a series of webpages displaying health information about migraine treatments. Participants also completed measures of neurocognition, internet use, and health literacy. Results suggested that older adults rated non-credible health websites as more credible than younger adults, but the age groups did not differ in their ratings of credible sites. Within the full sample, neurocognition was associated with credibility ratings for non-credible health websites, whereas health literacy was related to the ratings of credible sites. Findings indicate that older adults may be more likely to trust non-credible health websites than younger adults, which may be related to differences in higher-order neurocognitive functions. Future work might examine whether cognitive-based supports for credibility training in older adults can be used to improve the accuracy with which they evaluate online health information.