On message today?

Repeated exposure to an opinion makes us believe it is true. This seems to me to be the conclusion of this research <link>. Which is why politicians and advertisers stick to a message come hell or high water.

This fits my understanding of the brain as a pattern forming and recognising organ. The more the brain hears something, ie fits the pattern/is reinforced, the more likely it is we think it is a widespread opinion and therefore the truth.
Here’s a quick summary of the research. “Repeated exposure to one person’s viewpoint can have almost as much influence as exposure to shared opinions from multiple people. This finding shows that hearing an opinion multiple times increases the recipient’s sense of familiarity and in some cases gives a listener a false sense that an opinion is more widespread than it actually is.

“This is the finding of a series of six experiments that included 1044 students, from the University of Michigan, Princeton University, Rutgers University, University of Michigan — Dearborn, University of Toledo and Harvard University. The researchers sought to understand individuals’ accuracy in identifying group norms and opinions.”

Which is also how urban myths get created and persist. Here’s wikipedia on the topic <link>. And here’s snopes, the professional debunkers <link>.

My message is – the brain is a pattern recognising organ.


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