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Publication Abstract Display
Type: Published Manuscript
Title: Misattributions of the source of health-related information in HIV disease.
Authors: Morgan EE, Watson CW, Woods SP Gilbert PE, Villalobos J, Verduzco M
Year: 2021
Publication: Journal of Clinical And Experimental Neuropsychology
Volume: 43 Issue: 1 Pages: 1-14
Abstract:Introduction: Growing access to both legitimate and dubious sources of health information makes accurate source memory increasingly important, yet it may be negatively impacted by conditions that impair prefrontal functioning, including HIV. This study hypothesized that instructions supporting source encoding on a health-related memory task would disproportionately benefit source memory of people with HIV (PWH), and to examine the pattern of source memory errors that are observed. Method: 102 individuals (61 HIV+, 41 HIV-) completed comprehensive neurobehavioral (including health literacy) and neuromedical evaluations, and were randomly assigned to one of two conditions for a health-related memory task: Attend to Source Instructions explicitly participants to attend to the source of health statements presented to them, which were either health professionals or lay-persons, whereas no such instruction was provided in a Control Instructions condition. Results: There was no significant interaction of HIV status by condition or main effect of HIV (ps>.05). There was a main effect of condition whereby those who received Attend to Source Instructions performed better on item-corrected source memory than those in the Control Instructions condition (p =.04). Those who received Control Instructions were more likely to misattribute the source of the health information to a health professional when the correct source was a lay-person (Cohen's d = -0.53), which was correlated with poorer overall cognitive performance (p =.008) and performance-based measures of health literacy (ps<.05). Conclusions: Given that people are rarely reminded to attend to the source of new health information in the real world, the risk for misattributing health information to a qualified health professional in the absence of such instructions raises the concern that people may readily incorporate questionable health recommendations into their health regimen, particularly among persons with poorer cognitive functioning and lower levels of health literacy. This may have significant downstream health consequences such as drug interactions, side effects, and inefficacy.

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