Illusory Truth/Availability Cascade


If I’ve heard it once… I’ve heard it a thousand times… It’s exhausting… I’m starting to believe phony stuff.  You’re experiencing the illusory truth effect. The phenomenon, also called availability cascade,  equates  repetition  with  truth.  And  when  we’re  tired  or distracted evaluating information’s accuracy is tough.

Illusory truth effect brings unproven credibility to an idea, gossip, or fake news by repeatedly rationalizing an untruth in a simplistic way that positions us to rapidly adopt it as fact.  When mass and social media reinforce an unproven idea its popularity meteorically rises triggering a reality chain reaction that stays intact.

I get it. A simple lie or a fake news story told once may not be well received. But tell them a thousand times and they will be believed. Yes ma’am! Buying into bogus info fuels our need to stay current with pitched beliefs and ideas and simply overwhelms our critical thinking and due diligence… regardless of whether we truly believe the veracity of the idea in any instance.

Mass media and social networks stuff us daily with hyped phony beliefs  without  supporting  explanations  and  proofs.  This  onslaught creates a cascading effect that satisfies our desire to find shortcut solutions to life’s challenges despite the shortcut’s tendency to stray us from definitive truths. We harbor a nasty habit in believing that if we repeatedly hear something… than at least a kernel of truth must be buried someplace.

This illusory truth effect blurs our discretionary view of healthcare, business, environment, law, religion, relationships and politics in every case. Repetition is reinforced with “fluency…” our ease, or NOT, of grasping information. Fluent reports are easier to understand… this comfort bolsters our conclusion that ease equals a truth foundation. Illusory truth effect from fluency and repetition embraces us all even when we reason we’re totally on the ball.

When it comes to the illusory truth effect explaining why we’re often unconsciously misguided… it’s a Funny Feeling to know… when we’re repeatedly given easy inaccurate messages to SWALLOW… Without vigilance and due diligence… bad choices and decisions in public and private policy will most likely FOLLOW…

Copyright 2017 Alan P. Xenakis, MD, Doc X MD Funny Feelings  

Illusory Truth Effect/Availability Cascade Doc X MD and Audra RN Funny Feelings©

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