“A little dab will do ya” — refrain from some song…or commercial? Commercial, I think. If you know, share. A search on Google reveals that Fact Checker reports the former president made 30,573 “false or misleading claims” during his presidency, averaging about twenty a day. LYING – Lying can become a habit and is contagious, with the believers repeating the lies, as a result of a number of cognitive biases, as discussed by Philip Fernbach and Steven Sloman explained in the 2017 New York Times article, “Why We Believe Obvious Untruths.”
Commenting on this neurological quirk, Aia Raden observed that almost everything we know someone else told us. We don’t need to understand or confirm every fact or idea because we have an honesty bias to believe what we are told as being true. This enables humans to have a collective intelligence, necessary for civilization. (The Truth About Lies, St. Martin’s Press, 2021)
Another factor contributing to the tenacity of false beliefs is called confirmation bias, involving unconscious selective perception in which once we decide something is true, we begin to see support for our belief everywhere.
Authority bias is another factor in our tendency to believe and trust our “betters”.
“A lie that makes you feel something intensely…is simply more addictive and compelling than any other kind of lie. The intensity of feeling it induces in the listener creates a strong need to hear more–and to tell someone else.” (ibid)
And of course, lies that feed into our beliefs are especially welcome.
All of which causes me to reflect on my earlier openness to the 9-11 conspiracy theories as well as the JFK murder theories, and I have to admit I’m not one hundred percent sure there’s no “truth” in some of the rumors, as well as who was behind JFK’s murder. (The latest I heard was that it was Fidel Castro.) And the source of flying saucers? When I read that Trump believed in their extraterrestrial source I almost quit believing in them.