The More You Hear a Lie, The More It Becomes Truth
If there is one thing Donald Trump has proven he’s a master of, it’s using thought manipulation. While this skill is neither good nor evil (it’s just a tool, after all), the allure of persuading and eventually controlling the majority is too tempting a fruit not to pluck. However, what some may ask is,“How can so many people believe such flat-out fabrications?” We can take a lesson from President Trump’s own psychological playbook and learn just how he does it and why so many people believe his bullshit.
It starts with something called Cognitive Load. Our brains are powerful organisms.It is said they process more than 400 billion bits of data per second, and, to simulate brain’s full capacity out in the external world, it would take a New York City block, thousands of super computers, a nuclear power plant to run them, and a river diverted through them to keep them cool. All for a 3-lb. mass in your skull.
However, this remarkable organism is nevertheless fragile, inasmuch as the brain can take only so much cognitive load at once. Being limited in our cognitive functions, if we are bombarded by fabrications over time, we simply lose the will to even attempt to filter them and give up, accepting them as truth rather than stress out trying to separate fact from fiction. Thisiswhy domestic manipulators are so successful when they tell their wife, for example, how fat and ugly she is, over and over, and how nobody else would ever want her, over and over. No matter how beautiful she is, eventually she begins to believe her abuser, as her cognitive load reaches its capacity.
Where cognitive load is the garden bed, the seeds are what is called Source Amnesia. When we learn a new piece of information, like a science fact for example, this data is stored in our hippocampus, where, each time we recall it, our brain will rewrite that information, making it more permanent over time. Moving from the hippocampal storage to long-term storage, located in the cerebral cortex, where it finds a deep-seated home. However, our brains do not rewrite the source of this data. Think about it:You know that Saturn has rings around it, but can you say who first told you this information or how you came to learn that 2+2=4? These are common bits of data; however, most would be hard pressed to recall just who or where they first learned them. How about who first told you about Santa Claus or that the Pilgrims ate turkey for the first Thanksgiving?
While we know those two “facts” are essentially untrue, that’s problematically source amnesia. If a dishonest account — or a “fact” of unreliable source, is recalled enough, the misinformation gets stored without the associated qualifications. Then, the more it’s repeated, the more deep-seated it becomes, and then it becomes “fact.” With time, it becomes worse. A false statement from a noncredible basis that at first is not believed can gain integrity during the months it takes to reprocess memories from short-term hippocampal storage to longer-term cortical storage. As the source is forgotten, the message and its insinuations gain force.
This is why researching all points of an argument and making an educated decision is so important. It’s detrimental to your brain health to take everything at face value from so-called “experts” who, in actuality, are just people, too. Do your own research, verify sources, back it up with empirical evidence, and draw your own conclusion.
Try it now: Research this article, and see if I am telling the truth. Hurry — before you forget where you read this.