Persistence of Myths Could Alter Public Policy Approach

The experiments also highlight the difference between asking people whether they still believe a falsehood immediately after giving them the correct information, and asking them a few days later. Long-term memories matter most in public health campaigns or political ones, and they are the most susceptible to the bias of thinking that well-recalled false information is true.

The experiments do not show that denials are completely useless; if that were true, everyone would believe the myths. But the mind’s bias does affect many people, especially those who want to believe the myth for their own reasons, or those who are only peripherally interested and are less likely to invest the time and effort needed to firmly grasp the facts.

full article: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/09/03/AR2007090300933_2.html?hpid=moreheadlines

One thought on “Persistence of Myths Could Alter Public Policy Approach”

  1. Hi Temi,
    This area of research demonstrates how useful it can be to understand psychological processes when making claims and counter-claims (e.g. about how good your product/service is just after getting bad press). It also reminds us clearly how misunderstood our memory processes are. Research done for many years particularly by Elizabeth Loftus and colleagues, has shown that we can be very easily misled. Her studies have concentrated on areas such as eye-witness memory, and shows how easy it is to distort our ‘remembering’ of events.
    I also think that discursive psychology can add a different dimension to this type of study – but more on that another time!
    Thanks for sharing this with us.

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