In the course of my random trollings of the interweb, I came across an interesting Op-Ed piece from the New York Times from back in June. It concerns a psychological phenomenon referred to as “Source Amnesia”, which causes us to misremember whether or not a given statement is true.
Let me give you an example: Let’s say Stephen Harper is the subject of a story in the Globe and Mail in which it is reported that a man carrying a sign at a rally insisted that he was an extraterrestrial kitten-eating pedophile (EKEP). In no way is the text of the article suggesting it is true, merely reporting that this was said. The human brain, wondrous mechanism that it is, causes us to remember the EKEP reference, while forgetting completely the context in which the asserted fact was offered. It works even better if the headline reads: “Harper an Alien Kitten Eating Pedophile, Man Asserts”. All we remember six months down the road at the water cooler is, “Harper? You mean the kitten eatin’ diddler alien guy?” Truly a wonder of psychology, and a potent political weapon.
This is among the many wonders also described in that pinnacle of psychological fact:
Yes, it’s the same Cracked we used to read as kids, but with more boobies and surprising amounts of insight. Although couched in humorous bits, there is a lot of interesting information to be gained along with the laughs. I consider it a well-spent lunch at my desk, most days.
Did I mention the boobies?
They’re… I mean… It’s a Flash Fact.