Truth by repetition - explanations and implications


People believe repeated information more than novel information; they show a repetition-induced truth effect. In a world of “alternative facts,” “fake news,” and strategic information management, understanding this effect is highly important. We first review explanations of the effect based on frequency, recognition, familiarity, and coherent references. On the basis of the latter explanation, we discuss the relations of these explanations. We then discuss implications of truth by repetition for the maintenance of false beliefs and ways to change potentially harmful false beliefs (e.g., “Vaccination causes autism”), illustrating that the truth-by-repetition phenomenon not only is of theoretical interest but also has immediate practical relevance.

Current Directions in Psychological Science