My previous blog post included me brainstorming three possible topics to use for my final fact check, the Truth-o-meter post.

I decided to use my third option, which was: “Children at risk of psychopathy respond differently to laughter” and I found this claim on an article that was posted on Medical News Today.  

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The reference for this claim came from an academic article published by Current Biology, which ranked at 8.851 on the impact factor scale.

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So I picked this option because after doing my preliminary research, I immediately noticed that the language used in the Medical News Today title is contradicting to the title used in the original study. If you look at the first two images above, the title from the Medical News Today article states “Psychopathy: Children at risk respond differently to laughter.” While the original study’s title published by Current Biology clearly states: “Reduced Laughter Contagion in Boys at Risk for Psychopathy.”

So what’s up with the serious shift in language use?

According to Michael A. Caulfield’s chapter “Finding a Journal’s Impact Factor” in his book Web Literacy for Student Fact-Checkers, “Impact factors can go into the 30s, but we’re using this as a quick elimination test, not a ranking, so we’re happy with anything over 1” (21).  

Going off Current Biology’s impact factor, we know that this journal has been cited in other scholarly research quite a bit. And definitely a lot more than the journal in my previous post.

So it appears that Medical News Today may have been twisting the information a bit.