Be(a)ware of Headlines Bearing Misinformation

“A reliable way to make people believe in falsehoods is frequent repetition, because familiarity is not easily  distinguished from truth. Authoritarian institutions and marketers have always known this fact.” ( Hello Rupert!)

from ‘Thinking, Fast and Slow’, Daniel Kahneman.

We Like What We’re Used To, and what is familiar seems to be true. Even when it isn’t. If you need to write a message you want people to believe, make it easy to read – clear and  bold and large will do it, and use simple language -witness newspaper banner headlines. Especially in the lead-up to an election.Notebooks 2

An easily read and understood message, pleasingly presented, can give a strong illusion of truth – an illusion that can be overcome by strong motivation. But we like what we’re used to. and what is easy…

“…repetition induces cognitive ease and a comforting feeling of familiarity”.(ibid)

The more we are exposed to an image or idea, the more we like it – and this “mere exposure effect” doesn’t depend on us being conscious of the familiarity; the effect is stronger for stimuli that the “observer” never consciously sees…colonade

Kurt Cobain said something along the lines that the masses only liked “Smells Like Teen Spirit” so much (reacting far more strongly to it than any other song at concerts) because it had been “ground into their brains” by constant repetition on radio and MTV.

Apparently he was right about that.

Aberdeen lane (print)

 

As the election looms (and any time, come to that) be(a)ware of headlines bearing misinformation. Just because someone wants to grind it into your brain doesn’t make it true. (I am not in any way equating “Smells Like Teen Spirit” with anything written in any Murdoch “News”paper!) I’ll hop down off my soap box now. Peace and Love!

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