Illusory Truth Effect

The illusory truth effect (also known as the truth illusion effect, the certainty effect, the truth effect, or the repetition effect) is the tendency to believe that false information is correct after repeated exposure. The illusory effect of truth is a well-studied and reproduced psychological phenomenon that describes the fact that if a lie is repeated often enough, people will begin to believe it. Psychologists have called this the “illusory truth effect” and it seems to be related to the fact that we can more easily process information that we have encountered many times before. This creates a sense of fluidity, which we then (erroneously) interpret as a signal that the content is true. [Sources: 0, 4, 16]

In other words, you say something many times and people start to believe it. If you tell people that a statement is false right after you hear or read it for the first time, the effect will diminish. And if you repeat a false statement too often, people may view that repetition as an attempt to convince them and, therefore, are less likely to believe the statement you are selling. [Sources: 7, 15]

In other words, you cannot repeat a weak argument to people who are listening carefully – then the illusion of truth does not work. Several studies on the illusion of truth have shown that people are more influenced when they hear opinions and persuasive messages more than once. Incredibly, when truth is evaluated, people rely on whether the information is consistent with their understanding or whether it is familiar to them. Because of the way our mind works, what we know is also true, hence the illusion of truth. [Sources: 11, 12]

Familiar things take less effort to process, and this feeling of lightness subconsciously signals the truth, this is called cognitive fluency. In other words, statements are easier for people to believe if they are easy to process. With repetition, it’s easier for the human mind to come up with a statement about other competing ideas that doesn’t repeat itself over and over again. [Sources: 7, 11]

Repetition is easier to deal with statements than new, non-repetitive statements, leading people to believe that repeated reasoning is more true. Although some previous studies included true and false statements, studies have shown that repetition can lead to an increase in the perceived truth of previously unknown truth and previously unknown false statements by an equal amount (for example, Hasher et al. Do not change based on objective facts since then Psychologists use the truth effect—or, more accurately, the illusory truth effect—to describe a phenomenon in which reiteration is considered more likely to occur, albeit only because of its repetition. [Sources: 2, 6, 10]

When a “fact” is delicious and repeated enough times, we tend to believe it, no matter how false it is. We can effectively persuade ourselves through repetition, which takes the real illusion to a new level. In other words, repetition magically makes any statement more true, regardless of whether it is really true or not. [Sources: 5, 8, 11]

But one of the most striking features of the illusory truth effect is that it can occur even though the claim is known to be false, 7 or if there are actual “fake news” headlines that are “wholly invented … stories. that on some thought people probably know they are not true. The illusory truth effect tends to be stronger when statements relate to a subject that we believe we know 5, and when statements are ambiguous in such a way that they are obviously not true or false at first glance. units) 4, although the supposed reliability of the source of the statements increases the perception of truth, as would be expected, the effect of truth persists even here. Ando’s sources are considered unreliable, especially if the source of the claim is unclear. [Sources: 9]

Therefore, psychological research has shown that any process of increasing familiarity with false information through repeated exposure or other means can enhance our correct view of information. A recent study by the British Psychological Association reported on the so-called “fantasy truth effect” (Brashier, Eliiseev, and Marsh, 2020), which is the tendency to treat statements as true based on repetition. These findings indicate that, regardless of our specific cognitive status, we tend to believe in repetitive information. The aforementioned 2015 study also showed that for many people, repeated statements are easier to deal with than new information, even if people know it better. [Sources: 0, 3, 9, 15]

For example, a frequently repeated statement may be approved by several people, which can be a useful clue to its truth. For example, someone who relies more on intuition and wants accurate answers may be more likely to use the fact that information has been repeated as a key to its truthfulness. Published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology; Research has shown that the effect of truth can affect participants who did know the correct answer at first, but who were led to believe otherwise by repeating a lie. [Sources: 0, 16]

After reproducing these results in another experiment, Fazio and his team attributed this strange phenomenon to the fluidity of processing, that is, how easy it is for people to understand the statement. Therefore, the researchers concluded that recall is a powerful technique for enhancing the validity of so-called statements, and that the illusion of truth is an effect that can be observed without questioning the statement of fact. This effect was first named and identified in a study by Villanova University and Temple University in 1977. The study required participants to judge a series of trivial statements to determine whether they were correct. [Sources: 16]

A week later, participants saw these same trivial statements along with new statements and were asked to rate the veracity of each statement. As in a typical illusory study of truth, half of the statements were repeated from an earlier stage of the experiment, and half were new. After pre-registration, we quickly identified each perceived truth as the proportion of “true” responses mediated between new and recurring elements. [Sources: 1, 6]

As described above, given the underlying psychometric properties of the task, we would expect there to be an inverted U-shaped relationship between the size of the illusory truth effect, the measure of accuracy for the least repetition, and perceived truth, the measure of accuracy. averaged over repeated and new (eg Chapman & Chapman, 1988). [Sources: 1]

Some studies have even tested how many times a message must be repeated for maximum effect of the illusion of truth. If repeated enough times, the information can be perceived as reliable, even if the sources are not credible. In experimental settings, people also mistakenly attribute their previous exposure to stories, believing they are reading news from another source, when in fact they saw it as part of an earlier piece of research. [Sources: 5, 11, 15]

So if you hear something repeatedly, you are more likely to believe it. And even if you cannot believe it, you will rate the likelihood that it is true higher. [Sources: 7]


— Slimane Zouggari


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