When times are uncertain, we are eager to find meaning. We find comfort in thinking we are in the know.
As a species, we are imaginative beings with a wide range of capacities to interpret information. But, repetition of falsities can compromise us—especially when we are in a place of fear and uncertainty. Like right now.
Social and mass media serves up a lot of hype. Conspiracy theories spread like wildfire, and the more we hear them, the more convinced we become. As Laura Byrum puts it, “repetition effectively leapfrogs the cognitive portions of the brain.” This leads to buy-in on claims presented by clever marketers who know how to tell a powerful digital story.