I am a Professor in the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy and a Faculty Associate in the Center for Political Studies at the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan. My research, which focuses on misperceptions about politics and health care, has been published in journals including the American Journal of Political Science, Journal of Politics, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Pediatrics, and Vaccine. (My publications and working papers are listed below; see my curriculum vitae or Google Scholar profile for more.) In 2018, I was named an Andrew Carnegie Fellow. I previously won the Emerging Scholar Award for the top scholar in the field who is within 10 years of their Ph.D. from the American Political Science Association's section on Elections, Public Opinion, and Voting Behavior.

I received my Ph.D. from the Department of Political Science at Duke University and served as a RWJ Scholar in Health Policy Research at the University of Michigan and a member of the faculty in the Department of Government at Dartmouth College before joining the Ford School faculty.

I am a contributor to The Upshot blog at The New York Times and a co-founder of Bright Line Watch, a watchdog group that monitors the status of American democracy. I previously served as a media critic for Columbia Journalism Review. I also blog at and tweet at @BrendanNyhan.

From 2001-2004, Ben Fritz, Bryan Keefer, and I edited Spinsanity, a non-partisan watchdog of political spin that was syndicated in Salon (2002) and the Philadelphia Inquirer (2004). In 2004, we published All the President's Spin, a New York Times bestseller that named one of the ten best political books of the year.

Previously, I was a marketing and fundraising consultant for Benetech, a Silicon Valley technology nonprofit, and Deputy Communications Director of the Bernstein for US Senate campaign in Nevada. I grew up in Mountain View, CA and attended Swarthmore College.

Peer-reviewed publications

Conspiracy and Misperception Belief in the Middle East and North Africa (pre-publication version). Forthcoming, Journal of Politics. (with Thomas Zeitzoff)
-Replication data and code (Stata)
-EGAP preregistration

The Role of Information Deficits and Identity Threat in the Prevalence of Misperceptions (pre-publication version). Forthcoming, Journal of Elections, Public Opinion & Parties. (with Jason Reifler; finalist, 2015 Prize in Public Interest Communications Research, University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications)
-Replication data and code (Stata)

How Conditioning on Posttreatment Variables Can Ruin Your Experiment and What to Do About It (pre-publication version). 2018. American Journal of Political Science 62(3): 760-775. (with Jacob Montgomery and Michelle Torres)
-Replication data and code (R)

Fighting the Past: Perceptions of Control, Historical Misperceptions, and Corrective Information in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict (pre-publication version). 2018. Political Psychology 39(3): 611-631. (with Thomas Zeitzoff)
-Replication data and code (Stata)
-EGAP preregistration

The Science of Fake News. 2018. Science 359(6380): 1094-1096. (with David M. J. Lazer, Matthew A. Baum, Yochai Benkler, Adam J. Berinsky, Kelly M. Greenhill, Filippo Menczer, Miriam J. Metzger, Gordon Pennycook, David Rothschild, Michael Schudson, Steven A. Sloman, Cass R. Sunstein, Emily A. Thorson, Duncan J. Watts, and Jonathan L. Zittrain)

Revisiting White Backlash: Does Race Affect Death Penalty Opinion? (open access). 2018. Research & Politics. (with Ryden Butler, Jacob Montgomery, and Michelle Torres)
-Online appendix
-Replication data and code (R)

Redefine Statistical Significance (pre-publication version). 2018. Nature Human Behavior 2(1): 6-10. (with 71 co-authors)

Critical Dynamics in Population Vaccinating Behavior (pre-publication version). 2017. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 114(52): 13762-13767. (with A. Demetri Pananos, Thomas M. Bury, Clara Wang, Justin Schonfeld, Sharada P. Mohanty, Marcel Salathé, and Chris T. Bauch)

The Effects of Congressional Staff Networks in the U.S. House of Representatives (pre-publication version). 2017. Journal of Politics 79(3): 745-761. (with Jacob Montgomery)
-Replication data and code (R/Matlab/Stata)

Differential Registration Bias in Voter File Data: A Sensitivity Analysis Approach (pre-publication version). 2017. American Journal of Political Science 61(3): 744-760 (with Chris Skovron and Rocío Titiunik)
-Replication data and code (R)

Media Scandals Are Political Events: How contextual factors affect public controversies over alleged misconduct by U.S. governors (pre-publication version). 2017. Political Research Quarterly 70(1): 223-236.
-Online appendix
-Replication data and code (Stata)

The Nature and Origins of Misperceptions: Understanding False and Unsupported Beliefs about Politics (pre-publication version). 2017. Advances in Political Psychology 38(S1): 127-150. (with D.J. Flynn and Jason Reifler)

Classified or Coverup? The Effect of Redactions on Conspiracy Theory Beliefs (pre-publication version). 2016. Journal of Experimental Political Science 3: 109--123. (with the students in my 2014 Experiments in Politics seminar at Dartmouth)
-Replication data and code (Stata)
-EGAP preregistrations: Study 1, Study 2

An Inflated View of the Facts? How Preferences and Predispositions Shape Conspiracy Beliefs about the Deflategate Scandal (open access). 2016. Research & Politics. (with John Carey, Benjamin Valentino, and Mingnan Liu)
-Online appendix
-Replication data and code (Stata)

Does Public Financing Affect Judicial Behavior? Evidence From the North Carolina Supreme Court (pre-publication version). 2016. American Politics Research 44(4): 587-617. (with Morgan Hazelton and Jacob Montgomery)
-Replication data and code (Stata)

Understanding Innovations in Journalistic Practice: A Field Experiment Examining Motivations for Fact-Checking (pre-publication version). 2016. Journal of Communication 66(1): 102-138. (with Lucas Graves and Jason Reifler)
-Replication data and code (Stata)

Displacing Misinformation about Events: An Experimental Test of Causal Corrections (pre-publication version). 2015. Journal of Experimental Political Science 2(1): 81-93. (with Jason Reifler)
-Replication data and code (Stata)

The Effect of Fact-checking on Elites: A Field Experiment on U.S. State Legislators (pre-publication version). 2015. American Journal of Political Science 59(3): 628-640. (with Jason Reifler)
-Replication data and code (Stata)

Connecting the Candidates: Consultant Networks and the Diffusion of Campaign Strategy in American Congressional Elections (pre-publication version). 2015. American Journal of Political Science 59(2): 292-308. (with Jacob Montgomery)
-Replication data and code (R/Stata)

  • Media coverage

Scandal Potential: How Political Context and News Congestion Affect the President's Vulnerability to Media Scandal (local copy; pre-publication version). 2015. British Journal of Political Science 45(2): 435-466.
-Online appendix
-Replication data and code (Stata)

Does Correcting Myths about the Flu Vaccine Work? An Experimental Evaluation of the Effects of Corrective Information (pre-publication version). 2015. Vaccine 33(3): 459-464. (with Jason Reifler)
-Online appendix
-Replication data and code (Stata)

Effective Messages in Vaccine Promotion: A Randomized Trial (pre-publication version). 2014. Pediatrics. Published online March 3, 2014 (doi: 10.1542/peds.2013-2365). (with Jason Reifler, Sean Richey, and Gary Freed)
-Commentary by Shelley Springer, AAP Grand Rounds
-Online appendix
-Replication data and code (Stata)

Beliefs Don't Always Persevere: How Political Figures Are Punished When Positive Information about Them Is Discredited (pre-publication version). 2013. Political Psychology 34(3): 307-326. (with Michael Cobb and Jason Reifler)
-Replication data and code (Stata)

The Hazards of Correcting Myths about Health Care Reform. 2013. Medical Care 51(2): 127-132. (with Jason Reifler and Peter Ubel; lead article with accompanying editorial by Aaron E. Carroll)
-Replication data and code (Stata)

The Role of Social Networks in Influenza Vaccine Attitudes and Intentions Among College Students in the Southeastern United States (pre-publication version). 2012. Journal of Adolescent Health 51(3): 302-304. (with Jason Reifler and Sean Richey)
-Online appendix
-Replication data and code (Stata)

One Vote Out of Step? The Effects of Salient Roll Call Votes in the 2010 Election (pre-publication version). 2012. American Politics Research 40(5): 844-879. (with Eric McGhee, John Sides, Seth Masket, and Steven Greene)
-Replication data and code (R/Stata)

The Limited Effects of Testimony on Political Persuasion (pre-publication version). 2011. Public Choice 148(3-4): 283-312.
-Replication data and code (R/Stata)

The "Unfriending" Problem: The Consequences of Homophily in Friendship Retention for Causal Estimates of Social Influence (pre-publication version). 2011. Social Networks 33(3): 211-218. (with Hans Noel)
-Replication code (R)

When Corrections Fail: The Persistence of Political Misperceptions (pre-publication version). 2010. Political Behavior 32(2): 303-330. (with Jason Reifler)
-Replication data and code (Stata)

Bayesian Model Averaging: Theoretical Developments and Practical Applications (pre-publication version). 2010. Political Analysis 18(2): 245-270. (with Jacob Montgomery)
-Replication data and code (R/Stata) [7.3 MB]
-R package: readme.txt, Unix/Mac, Windows-32, Windows-64

  • Media coverage

Other publications

All Media Trust Is Local? Findings from the 2018 Poynter Media Trust Survey. The Poynter Institute. 2018. (with Andrew Guess and Jason Reifler)

Social Media, Political Polarization, and Political Disinformation: A Review of the Scientific Literature. Hewlett Foundation. 2018. (with Joshua Tucker, Andrew Guess, Pablo Barbera, Cristian Vaccari, Alexandra Siegel, Sergey Sanovich, and Denis Stukal)

Avoiding the Echo Chamber About Echo Chambers: Why Selective Exposure To Like-Minded Political News Is Less Prevalent Than You Think. The Knight Foundation. 2018. (with Andrew Guess, Benjamin Lyons, and Jason Reifler)

"You're Fake News!" The 2017 Poynter Media Trust Survey. The Poynter Institute. 2017. (with Andrew Guess and Jason Reifler)

A Checklist Manifesto for Peer Review. 2016. The Political Methodologist 23(1): 4-6.

Increasing the Credibility of Political Science Research: A Proposal for Journal Reforms (pre-publication version). 2015. PS: Political Science & Politics 48(S1): 78-83.

APSA as Amplifier: How to Encourage and Promote Public Voices within Political Science (pre-publication version). 2015. PS: Political Science & Politics 48(S1): 90-93. (with John Sides and Joshua A. Tucker)

Estimating Fact-checking's Effects: Evidence from a long-term experiment during campaign 2014. 2015. American Press Institute. (with Jason Reifler)

The Diffusion of Fact-checking: Understanding the growth of a journalistic innovation. 2015. American Press Institute. (with Lucas Graves and Jason Reifler)

Which Corrections Work? Research Results and Practice Recommendations. 2013. New America Foundation Media Policy Initiative Research Paper. (with Jason Reifler)

The Effects of Fact-checking Threat: Results From a Field Experiment in the States. 2013. New America Foundation Media Policy Initiative Research Paper. (with Jason Reifler)

Does the US Media Have a Liberal Bias? A Discussion of Tim Groseclose's Left Turn: How Liberal Media Bias Distorts the American Mind (local copy). 2012. Perspectives on Politics 10(3): 767-771.
-Replication code (Stata)

Misinformation and Fact-checking: Research Findings from Social Science. 2012. New America Foundation Media Policy Initiative Research Paper. (with Jason Reifler)

How Political Science Can Help Journalism (and Still Let Journalists Be Journalists) (local copy). 2011. The Forum 9(1). (with John Sides)

Why the "Death Panel" Myth Wouldn't Die: Misinformation in the Health Care Reform Debate (local copy). 2010. The Forum 8(1).
-Replication code (Stata)

Party and Constituency in the U.S. Senate, 1933-2004. 2008. In Why Not Parties?, Nathan W. Monroe, Jason M. Roberts, and David Rohde, eds. University of Chicago Press. (with John Aldrich, Michael Brady, Scott de Marchi, Ian McDonald, David Rohde, and Michael Tofias)
-Replication data and code (Stata)

All the President's Spin: George W. Bush, the Media and the Truth. Touchstone, 2004. (with Ben Fritz and Bryan Keefer) Best Books of 2004 (11/10/04)
-New York Times bestseller (9/5/04)

Current research

Tipping the Scales? Testing for Political Influence on Public Corruption Prosecutions (with Marit Rehavi) [R&R at American Law and Economics Review]

Real Solutions for Fake News? Measuring the Effectiveness of General Warnings and Fact-Check Banners in Reducing Belief in False Stories on Social Media (with the students in my 2017 Experiments in Politics seminar at Dartmouth) [R&R at Political Behavior]
-EGAP preregistration

Taking Corrections Literally But Not Seriously? The Effects of Information on Factual Beliefs and Candidate Favorability (with Ethan Porter, Jason Reifler, and Thomas J. Wood) [R&R at Political Behavior]

Searching for a Bright Line: The First Year of the Trump Presidency (with John M. Carey, Gretchen Helmke, Mitchell Sanders, and Susan C. Stokes) [under review]

Selective Exposure to Misinformation: Evidence from the Consumption of Fake News During the 2016 U.S. Presidential Campaign (with Andrew Guess and Jason Reifler)

Counting the Pinocchios: The Effect of Summary Fact-Checking Data on Perceived Accuracy and Favorability of Politicians (with the students in my 2016 Experiments in Politics seminar at Dartmouth)
-EGAP preregistrations: Study 1, Study 2, Study 3

Do People Actually Learn From Fact-Checking? Evidence from a Longitudinal Study During the 2014 Campaign (with Jason Reifler)

Scholarly reviews

Review of Milton Lodge and Charles S. Taber, The Rationalizing Voter (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2013). 2014. Public Opinion Quarterly 78(S1): 365-367.

Review of Thráinn Eggertsson, Imperfect Institutions: Possibilities and Limits of Reform (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2005). 2006. Public Choice 129: 239-241.

Courses taught

Experiments in Politics (Dartmouth)

Political Misinformation and Conspiracy Theories (Dartmouth)

The Presidency (Dartmouth)

Quantitative Political Analysis (Dartmouth)

Political writing

Contributor, The Upshot, The New York Times (March 2014-)

-Media critic, Columbia Journalism Review (November 2011-February 2014)
-Featured blogger, HuffPost Pollster (formerly and Washington Monthly Ten Miles Square blog (2009-2011)
-Politico op-ed (10/8/13) [with Jason Reifler]
-Crystal Ball column (10/6/11)
-Crystal Ball column (5/26/11) commentary (4/28/11)
-Boston Review article (11/11/10) [with Eric McGhee and John Sides]
-New York Times op-ed (3/25/10) (personal blog; 2004-present)

Spinsanity (with Ben Fritz and Bryan Keefer; 2001-2004)
-Featured columnist, Philadelphia Inquirer (2004)
-Award of Distinction, 2003 Paul Mongerson Prize for Investigative Reporting on News Coverage
-Featured columnist, (2002)

Previous experience

Marketing and fundraising consultant (2001–2003)
The Benetech Initiative

Deputy Communications Director (2000)
Bernstein for US Senate, Nevada

Resources for new/aspiring academics

Robert Peters, Getting What You Came For: The Smart Student's Guide to Earning an M.A. or a Ph.D.

Fabio Rojas, Grad Skool Rulz: Everything You Need to Know about Academia from Admissions to Tenure

Michael Munger, IHS essays and videos Kosmos podcasts on academic success

Michael Munger, Scholars Talk Writing

Justin Grimmer, Barry Weingast, and Ken Schultz, Advice to PhD Students Going on the Academic Job Market

Arthur Spirling, Job Talks: A Talk

Emily Hanford, Don't Lecture Me: Rethinking the Way College Students Learn

Tom Carsey, What Makes for a Good Research Presentation

Phil Agre, Networking on the Network

Richard Hamming, You and Your Research

Phil Arena, Signaling Advice For Grad Students

Cal Newport, Some Thoughts on Grad School

Don Davis, Ph.D. Thesis Research: Where do I Start?

Ira Glass on the gap between your taste and your work and how to close it and Todd Henry on developing your creative voice

Journal editors on what makes a good review

Tyler Cowen on academic publishing

Chris Blattman, How to get a PhD *and* save the world

Paul Edwards, How to Give an Academic Talk

Ezra W. Zuckerman, Tips to Article-Writers

Philip J. Guo, The Ph.D. Grind: A Ph.D. Student Memoir

Karen Kelsky, Should I Do an Edited Collection?

Hugo Lindgren, Be Wrong as Fast as You Can

Eric Chown, Giving Computer Science Students Freedom

Eve Ewing, How to write a personal statement for graduate school

Kieran Healy on nuance traps in theories of social behavior

Tyler Cowen on the relative importance of incentives vs. where we are on the innovation curve

David Karpf, The Dissertation as Teacher

Robert J. Stenberg, Self-Sabotage in the Academic Career

Andrew Oswald, Things I would have found it useful to have been told when I was a young researcher

Kurt Gray and Daniel M. Wegner, Six Guidelines for Interesting Research

Cosma R. Shalizi, On Academic Talks: Memory and Fear

Radhika Nagpal, The-Awesomest-7-Year-Postdoc or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Tenure-track-faculty-life

Nathan M. Jensen, My paper's journey through the review process

Gabriel Rossman on how we broke peer review and how to fix it

Chris Blattman, Frequently asked questions on PhD applications

Mark Cuban, Don't Follow Your Passion, Follow Your Effort

Kaitlin Gallagher, Fixed vs Growth Mindsets

Chris Blattman, Advice for new Assistant Professors

Jesse Shapiro, How to Give an Applied Micro Talk

John Patty, The Math of Getting a Job in Political Science

Marc F. Bellemare, How to Publish in Academic Journals

Brian McGill, William Shockley on what makes a person who publishes a lot of papers

Scott Adams, Passion is overrated and goals are for losers

Jonathan Berk, Campbell R. Harvey, and David A. Hirshleifer, Preparing a Referee Report: Guidelines and Perspectives

Leonard Mlodinow on myths about where scientific discoveries come from

Ezra Klein's advice to young journalists (much applies to aspiring academics)

Avoiding gender bias in reference writing

Chris Jones, Nine Rules for Creative Work

Stephen M. Walt, How to Get Tenure

Scott Alexander, Nonfiction Writing Advice

Andrew Little, Three Templates for Introductions to Political Science Articles

Johannes Haushofer, CV of Failures

Daniel McCormack on why you shouldn't ask a professor whether you should pursue a Ph.D.

Paul N. Edwards, How to Give an Academic Talk

Jean Yang, The Genius Fallacy

Brett Mensh and Konrad Kording, Ten simple rules for structuring papers

Matt Might, 10 easy ways to fail a Ph.D.

David Evans, How to Publish Statistically Insignificant Results in Economics

Gary King, Dissertation Advice

Ford School of Public Policy
University of Michigan

4129 Weill Hall
4408 Institute for Social Research

Curriculum vitae

Google Scholar profile