Fake news is pretty common these days, and it got that way because, sadly, many believe what they read even if it’s not rooted at all in the truth. Now, researchers from England have shown that many people will also believe what they see. even if it’s fake.
Sophie J. Nightingale, the lead researcher on the study out of the University of Warwick, tested 700 men and women and found that they could only tell an image was faked 60 percent of the time. Worse, only 45 percent could point out what was changed. The changes ranged from subtle alterations such as airbrushing sweat and wrinkles, to wholesale additions, deletions or flipping around of parts of the image.
The methodology the researchers used, though, could lend itself to some confusion – participants in the study were shown the manipulated images, yes, but never side-by-side with the original, and so someone would not have necessarily known whether a subject had wrinkles or was sweating. Still, changes such as the direction of shadows in flipped parts of the images would be easier to spot even without having the original handy.
One would assume that being a photographer would help in distinguishing a fake photo but the researchers say that they “did not find any strong evidence to suggest that individual factors, such as having an interest in photography or beliefs about the extent of image manipulation in society, are associated with improved ability to detect or locate manipulations.”
As for the photo at the top of this post, sometimes, you have to look closely to spot the fake. One of these treasured family photos attached to the top of this post is a manipulation – can you tell which one is the real moment and which one is a Photoshop?
[via The Washington Post]