Monday, October 15, 2007

New Study Shows People Prefer Comfort of Ignorance

Here is an interesting study about gossip just released. The Study can be found here. If you can’t deal with all of the thick science and the description of methodology then you can read the more English by "LiveScience Summation of the study here. The study basically says that we are more likely to believe “gossip” and especially negative gossip about somebody’s reputation even though we can see proof to the opposite.

"If people would act rationally, they would only base their decisions on what they really see because they know exactly the past behavior of these people,"

The study used a game to prove the effect. Basically the participants started with a partner then had to write negative or positive stuff about their past partners and what they had heard about people they may not have even known.

In the end even though proof would show that some people to be giving and fair partners, bad gossip trumped what was actually believed about them.

So juicy gossip like, “Iraq has weapons of mass destruction”, circulated through Washington like wild fire. Even though there the UN inspectors were there and saying differently. A reputation such as, “Saddam is an evil dictator killing millions of his own people every year”, has found deep roots in the American psyche even though proof presented to back up the claim. It is how some people believed that John Kerry would send people house to house to take away your guns if elected. But what proof do any of these cheerleaders and nay-sayers have? People, especially here in America, are way too busy to check their facts. Even though the resources are right there in front of most of us to do so.

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