Posted in Alienation, Pathological Lying

Metacognition and the illusion of truth

People sometimes think that previously presented information is more likely to be true than false simply because they have seen it before. The bias–the illusion of truth–has been produced using several variations of a basic experimental procedure. The effect occurs when people call originally false information “true” at a greater rate than they call new information “true” or true information “false.” Typically, people first study a list of information, half of which is true and half false. Later, these people see this list again mixed with new information and indicate whether each piece of information is true, false, or new. The effect is enhanced under conditions of cognitive load or divided attention when the information is initially studied. This dissertation expands on prior theorizing about the illusion of truth by proposing that the illusion of truth is not automatic or irrational. Rather, it reflects a learned belief about the meaning of familiarity. This belief is borne of the pragmatics of language use, which suggests that people view most information that they have encountered in their lives as true (e.g., the Gricean maxim of quality). People’s arrival at a laboratory to study a list of half false and half true information has been preceded by years of exposure to “lists” of information that are mostly true. Consequently when familiarity is the only information on which people can rely when making a truth judgment, the most rational guess is to call the information true. The illusion of truth phenomenon, then, results from people assigning a meaning to the cognitive sensations that accompany the processing of repeated information. The experiments herein show that the illusion effect can be reversed altogether, yielding the first demonstration of the “illusion of falseness,” in cases where people think that familiarity is a likely sign of falseness. This reversed effect persisted even under divided attention and when participants were told that the list on which they were tested was 50% true and 50% false, providing the same evidence for the automaticity of the reversed effect as has been shown for the standard effect. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)


Currently studying Psychotherapy , Cognitive psychology, Hypnotherapy. Qualified NLP practitioner and CBT therapist. REIKI Master. I believe in truth, honesty and integrity! ≧◔◡◔≦

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