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Friday, Nov 20, 2009
by PopMatters Staff
by Taylor Clark
Psychology Today (16 September 2009)

“Some rumors grind to a halt, while others circle the world. Why some ideas spread and others die… At its core, a rumor is just an unverified scrap of information we pass among ourselves to make sense of the world. In one case study conducted at Ohio University by psychologist Mark Pezzo, students had heard that someone on campus had died of meningitis. The story spread because the anxious students were trying to find out what was going on: “Is the rumor true?” “How do you get meningitis?” “I heard that everyone on campus will need to have a painful spinal tap, did you hear that?” In the marketplace of misinformation, fit rumors survive and spread like epidemics, while unfit rumors die quick deaths. So what separates the fit from the unfit? What, in short, are the laws of effective rumors?”


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