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But that would be wrong

Joe_isuzu_1How can a brand leverage its ad budget? By making false claims that will elicit widespread rebuttal. That’s the inference we draw, at any rate, from a new study by researchers at the University of Michigan and a couple other universities. As summarized on the U. of Michigan’s Web site, the study found that correcting a false claim tends to fix it in people’s minds as true. This tendency is especially pronounced among elderly consumers. The researchers discovered that “the more often older adults were told a given claim is false, the more likely they were to incorrectly remember it as true after several days had passed, especially when the warning pertained to a claim with which they were already familiar.” As one of the researchers explains, repeating the false claim—even in the process of exposing its falsity—“makes the claim seem more familiar when consumers hear it again.” And this familiarity, in turn, gives the claim more a ring of plausibility. “In general, familiar statements are more likely to be accepted as true than unfamiliar ones—if we hear it often, there may be something to it,” the researchers say. In light of these findings, it’s a pity ad agencies don’t have people who are adept at concocting false claims. [fact-checker, pls confirm that last bit]

—Posted by Mark Dolliver

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