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‘Truth Effect’ explains why misinformation is easily spread

The research helps explain why misinformation is so easily perpetuated on social media sites, despite users’ media-savvy or intelligence. “People come to believe certain things are true, even when they don’t remember where they read them, even when they read it from an unreliable source, even when they don’t remember reading it at all,” says Linda Henkel, a professor of psychology at Fairfield University in Connecticut. “Being exposed to things repeatedly makes them become more familiar, which makes them come to mind easily – and that makes us think they’re true.”

Published in National Post on 11/01/11

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