Saturday, September 29, 2007

This may be more or less repeating the obvious, but the Harper Index has a very interesting article in its most recent post. This is part of their project to show how the Harper government manages the news, and the strategy behind it. The basics of the post are fairly simple. Repeat a lie often enough and it becomes the truth. Goebbels said it much better many years ago. What is unique and what should give pause to us all is the assertion that attempts to refute a lie are often rather fruitless because they merely repeat a meme(not the sort of thing that the authors would call it) and reinforce it in the audiences mind. The Harper Index calls upon a study by University of Michigan social psychologist Norbert Schwartz for their article. He has found that hearing an opinion multiple times from the same source is almost as influential as hearing it multiple times from multiple sources. In other words the attempts to debunk a falsehood often rebound on the debunkers and reinforce the original falsehood.
As I said, this may be something like stating the obvious, and it is hardly the "cutting edge" of present day psychology which is neurological and evolutionary. Still...the obvious often has to be restated over and over (as these findings make plain) for people to take them to heart. It certainly gives Molly pause for thought about how she often frames posts here on this blog. Only a little pause, by the way.

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