Crossing the Unknown Sea

“A good work and a good, dedicated life, almost always in the end … after all the seemingly necessary cover ups … means visibility… it means coming out of hiding.

It is all very well having a dream, but the moment we put the dream to hazard, we have the possibility of failing. How many times have we kept a hope or dream in abeyance because the possibilities of failure were too much to contemplate? If we failed at that central, precious thing then who would we be? Could there be any one left at all? Far better to choose something smaller, something we don’t care about, or some logistical task we don’t mind getting wrong, something we could recover from, something where we are, in effect, really invisible, to ourselves and to the world. Better to choose a world where things don’t matter. Better not to appear fully on life’s radar screen. But making ourselves visible is to arrange for the possibilities of a different kind of disappearance – into the work, the task, the audience, the life that opens up, where the fearful one who first dreamt is burned away by anticipation and a living contact with a future we might want to call our own…making ourselves visible enables us to be found and then invited in by the world we desire.”

~ David Whyte

The Truth Effect

“Repeated information is often perceived as more truthful than new information. This finding is known as the illusory truth effect, and it is typically thought to occur because repetition increases processing fluency. Because fluency and truth are frequently correlated in the real world, people learn to use processing fluency as a marker for truthfulness. Although the illusory truth effect is a robust phenomenon, almost all studies examining it have used three or fewer repetitions. To address this limitation, we conducted two experiments using a larger number of repetitions. In Experiment 1, we showed participants trivia statements up to 9 times and in Experiment 2 statements were shown up to 27 times. Later, participants rated the truthfulness of the previously seen statements and of new statements. In both experiments, we found that perceived truthfulness increased as the number of repetitions increased. However, these truth rating increases were logarithmic in shape. The largest increase in perceived truth came from encountering a statement for the second time, and beyond this were incrementally smaller increases in perceived truth for each additional repetition. These findings add to our theoretical understanding of the illusory truth effect and have applications for advertising, politics, and the propagation of ‘fake news.'”

The effects of repetition frequency on the illusory truth effect via Cognitive Research: Principles and Implications.

Cues to Deception

The best lie is a half truth.

“Do people behave differently when they are lying compared with when they are telling the truth? The combined results of 1,338 estimates of 158 cues to deception are reported. Results show that in some ways, liars are less forthcoming than truth tellers, and they tell less compelling tales. They also make a more negative impression and are more tense. Their stories include fewer ordinary imperfections and unusual contents. However, many behaviors showed no discernible links, or only weak links, to deceit. Cues to deception were more pronounced when people were motivated to succeed, especially when the motivations were identity relevant rather than monetary or material. Cues to deception were also stronger when lies were about transgressions.”

More on Cues to Deception via Psychological Bulletin.
Art: Dark Krystal by Laureth Sulfate. Photographie et art numérique, 2020.