Denial of a rumor has the opposite effect


20/09/2010

False views are ubiquitous. The survey showed that eighteen percent of Americans believe that the sun revolves around the earth. Against this background, is not surprised that eighteen percent of the Americans believe that Barack Obama - the Muslim, when in fact, he is a Christian. The Obama team has set up a website to expose rumors and speculation. But in order to achieve the desired result, it may not be enough, and more than that, it is likely that it will only strengthen the speculation. This is due to the bizarre mechanism for storing information in the brain.

The brain does not collect or adds information like a hard drive. Facts are stored first in the hippocampus, which is located deep within the brain. The size and shape it resembles a bent little finger chubby man. But the information is not stored here. Every time we recall it, our brain writes it down again by recycling it. Over time, the evidence is gradually transferred to the cerebral cortex, as a result, the link between itself and the context of the fact that accompanied his knowledge, interrupted. For example, you know that the capital of France is Paris, but most likely not be able to remember where you found out about it.

This phenomenon, known as the ’source amnesia’ can lead to the fact that the person forgets whether the statement true. Even in cases where expressly agreed that the information provided is false, people often remember it as true.

Over time, such an erroneous knowledge increasingly taking root in us. False claim of an untrusted source, you immediately shallows as a lie, can gain your trust over months, during which the memory of the place of Short-term storage in the hippocampus, moves to the long-term storage in the cerebral cortex. When the source is forgotten, the belief in its truth is gaining momentum.

Even without understanding the mechanisms behind source amnesia, unscrupulous politicians can use it to spread false information.

They know that if their information is easily memorability, it will be very difficult to expose. Repeating a lie, a person can say something like, "I read about it somewhere" or even refer to the source.

In one study, a group of students from Stanford, have repeatedly shown unfounded statement that Coca-Cola is a quality paint thinner. Students who read the statement five times, almost a third more often remembered as the information obtained from a reliable source, compared with those who read it twice.

Add to that our natural tendency to gloss over the truth during her recollection, when our brain puts the facts we have adopted a pattern of perceiving the world. We tend to remember the information that is in line with our outlook, and reject applications that are contrary to it.

In another Stanford study, 48 students, half of whom expressed support for the death penalty, and half were against it, we presented two arguments. According to the first, the death penalty has reduced the total number of crimes, and the second argument is directly contradicted the first. It was found that both groups were more likely to trust what the argument that supported their original point of view.

Psychologists have suggested that the rumors are spread, because of their emotional intensity. Similarly, the idea spread by emotional selectivity, rather than their actual qualities. This creates the wrong impression about a product, country or person.

Journalists and agitators can sincerely believe that they expose the misinformation when they write that it is not true. But repeating false information, they unknowingly strengthen it. Respectable journalists would be very useful to know. Instead of repeating a false statement, you can directly report the correct information.

The residents, while watching the news tend to selective adoption and memorization of speeches to support their established beliefs. Even when they were asked to be objective, Stanford students preferred to trust that statement, which was consistent with their opinion.


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