You'll Remember Which is Which: True or False?

For Chapter 4: "Talk is Cheap."

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In the last post, I discussed the persistent spurious rumors connecting Procter & Gamble with the Church of Satan -- rumors P&G has systematically tried to quell.

Which may have made the problem worse. A 2007 study by University of Michigan social psychologist Norbert Schwarz demonstrated that attempts to correct misinformation not only tend to reinforce people's false beliefs, but to attribute the baloney to the very authoritative source trying to clear things up.

The particular case researchers focused on was a Centers for Disease Control flier that aimed to debunk myths about flu vaccines. The Michigan study revealed, however, that the very myth-busting process had the opposite effect. People came away believing that they'd been warned by the CDC to avoid flu vaccines.

That cognitive quirk is no doubt very reassuring if you're trying to tell the world, say, that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction and was behind 9/11, but if you're not yourself in the Big Lie business, the persistence of myth is reason for pause. You do not want word of mouth working against you.

So perhaps this would be a good time to focus on how to make it work for you.
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