The other day, I was reading in one of my Psychology books about an effect of memory called”Illusion of Truth.” Research has shown that there is an unconscious tendency to give credibility to statements we have heard in the past. We may not remember the instance of hearing the statement, but if we hear it again, it will seem “familiar.” We could have even been told that the statement is false, but we will still give credibility to it if it sounds familiar.
Automatically, two applications come to mind. First, news headlines, once they are published or reported live, stick with people. Even if the headline proves to be false later, the damage is done. People will still think of the headline as true when brought up in later conversations, etc. This is, unfortunately, more true of negative headlines.
Second, think about what this says concerning human nature. This is an unconscious effect. What comes more “natural” than unconscious behaviors? Thus, it can be considered as human nature to…get this…expect to hear the truth. Why would that be the case? So many times in my life I have heard that it’s human nature to lie, cheat, steal, etc. So which is it? How could we unconsciously expect to hear the truth if it is indeed human nature to lie? I believe that it is actually human nature to search for truth, love the truth, and speak the truth. Thus, as studies show, we expect to hear the truth. Maybe the Illusion of Truth applies to the statement, “It’s human nature to lie…”