Taking Lessons From Illusion Of Truth And Applying It To Our Lives

Frederick Mockford: Originator of Mayday distress call

Frederick Mockford coined the word  “Mayday” in 1923 as an international distress call. Repeating the word three times was to gain attention and show the seriousness of the message that was about to be conveyed.

When a message repeatedly occurs, whether, from a source or different sources, it becomes an emphasis.

Ancient words said truth is established from the mouth of two or three witnesses.

In ancient times, people believed the world was flat because of its widespread existence until the Ancient Greeks disproved the theory thousands of years after. Jeffery Blevins, a professor at the University of Cincinnati, tied down the believability of this theory to the concept we’re about to discuss.

But what made these believable?

The Nazi saying goes, “Tell a lie many times, and it will eventually become the truth.”

The advent of media and its alternatives has helped amplify this concept today. The idea is called the illusion of truth.

What Is Illusion Of Truth?

The illusion of truth

The illusion of truth effect is the tendency to believe false information if repeated often enough.

The repetition of such information creates familiarity in people’s minds, making it effortless to think about and easier to believe. This process is called cognitive fluency.

Advertising Firms, politicians, and the media use this to convey their message.

You’ve Being Caught In This Web Too

In one way or the other, you’ve found yourself believing what’s not true. We’ve been victims of this illusion, and we’re caught in its web too.

The government takes control of every news channel to create propaganda.

We believe the news we see on social media, television news, and newspapers because of repetition and popularity.

But how can we apply these lessons to our daily life?

How To Apply This Effect In Your Daily Life

What makes the illusion of truth effective is the power of its repetition and not the lies. Meaning if we repeat the fact over and over again, we will achieve the same effect.

Lisa Fazio, a psychologist at Vanderbilt University, explained that after hearing information a second and third time, your brain misinterprets the repetition as a signal for it being true. The fluency and frequency of the information you hear translate into a gut-feeling of truth.

The focus here is on the power of repetition, but how can we channel it into other areas of our life?

In business

Repetition creates brand awareness and interest in products. The more ads are repeated, the likelier it is to get customers. Those that ignored and didn’t take notice would do when it kept staring into their face.

FanDuel quadrupled its revenue in nine months by repeating its ads.

Same brand same message but different results when it’s on repeat.

In parenting

Parents don’t have to tell lies to kids to pass their message. Humans are too concerned to listen, but constant repetition makes us pay attention.

We can instill habits into our kids when we expose them to similar information repeatedly. Let them see the benefit attached.

In leadership

To pass the vision of the team across, it has to be repeated till there’s clarity and every team member gets the message.

The Danger of Over-application

Repetition can be dangerous when it is overused. It’s pretty annoying.

University of Toronto psychology professor Daniel Berlyne, in the 1970s, confirmed that repetition should be done between 3-5 or 10 times; else, it’ll lead to over-familiarity and contempt.

We ignore and become blind-sighted when we’ve become too familiar.

When was the last time you read the inscriptions on the wall or board you’ve become too familiar with? We read it often when it was new but now unnoticeably ignore it.

Bottom Line

The illusion of truth has a powerful effect through repetition.

If we can use repetition in other areas of our lives, we’d see positive results. We do not have to lie, that’s dishonesty, we have to keep repeating and emphasizing till the message is passed across.

However, this has its thin line too. It must not be overused as it’ll bring contempt to the listeners.

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