Lie and repeat
One of the oldest tricks in the book that advertisers use to sell a product is repetition. It's called "effective frequency" in marketing, but in psychology it's known as the "illusory truth effect", meaning the more you hear something, the easier it is for your brain to process, which makes it feel true, regardless of its basis in fact. It's no wonder that many of us fall for false claims on social media, especially when we see them tweeted and retweeted, maybe even by a person in authority. The cumulative effect of constantly repeated falsehoods is, as Timothy Egan writes in the New York Times , "to make truth meaningless." But there are ways to lessen the influence of repeated false claims. Lisa Fazio, a psychology professor at Vanderbilt University suggests reading stories from multiple news outlets and listen to a variety of opinions. "Commit to staying open-minded, and consult with friends and colleagues whose perspectives differ," she says. "On social media: before you share something, take that second and pause. Otherwise, you risk becoming part of the echo chamber that keeps falsehoods circulating." (Via Houston Chronicle).
Vanity plates coincidences
Stephen Clarke came out of a meeting at the Remuera Club to see the twin of his car parked alongside. My car is DKW812 and it's twin is DKW813." Meanwhile, Dorine Meertens of Te Aroha recalls this: "About 15 years ago, in a small village in the top of the South Island we had booked a motel for the night. My husband went for a short stroll before bed time. He came back pretty quickly, all excited, and said "You are not going to believe this! In a house two doors down is a car parked with the number plate COWDOK!" When vanity plates first came in the market I had purchased COWDOC for my husband who is a vet. Next day we found the owner …at her vet clinic in an adjoining town
1. "So I wore a mask for the first time in the streets of Wellington yesterday and of course immediately silently judged everyone not wearing a mask. Managed to lose said mask by this morning, so as I walked maskless through town I judged the judgmental mask wearers" — Caitlin Cherry @ICaitlinCherry.
2. "I'm wearing headphones, glasses and a face mask. My ears have never been so busy." — Richard Osman @richardosman.
3. "My phone keeps changing 'Pandemic' to 'Panasonic'. Not sure if it's just autocorrect being dickish as usual, or a sinister attempt by Samsung to subliminally link a rival tech firm to a major global problem. The latter would be more impressive, in fairness." — Dean Burnett @garwboy.