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Excerpt, "... in a series of clever experiments, Schooler demonstrated that subjects shown a face and asked to describe it were much less likely to recognize the face when shown it later than those who had simply looked at it."

Illustration by Laurent Cilluffo for 'The Truth Wears Off', The New Yorker.
Illustration by Laurent Cilluffo for 'The Truth Wears Off', The New Yorker. your social media marketing partner


A note of caution regarding our comment sections:

For months a stream of media reports have warned of coordinated propaganda efforts targeting political websites based in the U.S., particularly in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election.

We too were alarmed at the patterns we were, and still are, seeing. It is clear that the provocateurs are far more savvy, disciplined, and purposeful than anything we have ever experienced before.

It is also clear that we still have elements of the same activity in our article discussion forums at this time.

We have hosted and encouraged reader expression since the turn of the century. The comments of our readers are the most vibrant, best-used interactive feature at Reader Supported News. Accordingly, we are strongly resistant to interrupting those services.

It is, however, important to note that in all likelihood hardened operatives are attempting to shape the dialog our community seeks to engage in.

Adapt and overcome.

Marc Ash
Founder, Reader Supported News

+3 # oakes721 2010-12-30 23:12
Every newborn idea is attended and nursed along in its infancy. We shower this new idea/child with our fascinations until it begins to mature. As it grows, more independent characteristics begin to emerge. The role of the idea's parent begins to diminish as the idea joins its peers, eventually leaving home...each new idea/child a microcosm of our life process.
What is the meaning of meaning?
+6 # AngryMan 2010-12-30 23:12
On the one hand this is fascinating. On the other, scary. I wonder how much of what we know, is really something we don't know. A 2.5% deviation between gravity predictions and actual measurement is a huge discrepancy! This sort of thing neuters the validity of equipment whose calibration can be traced to NIST. If NIST is off by 2.5%, that makes space travel very dicey indeed. I think I'll try to forget this article so I can sleep at night. The implications are very disturbing.

I wonder how many physical "constants" we take for granted, are actually in error. After all, who bothers measuring that which has known to be "accurate"? When did the SHC come on-line? And when did we succeed transferring data faster than the speed of light? Does E=MC^2 quantify energy that can derived from mass or is that equation the exchange rate of moving mass from familiar dimensions into one of the 7 other dimensions we cannot perceive, in exchange for raw energy? The possibilities are both exciting and disturbing. We know so much yet we know so little.
+6 # Dion Giles 2010-12-31 00:52
What does this say about repetitious sample polling to predict election results? Such as when Harry Truman won in a landslide the US presidential election the polling said he couldn't win?
-8 # George Baggett 2010-12-31 01:41
These studies appear to be performed by folks who have too much time on their hands and feel compelled to share observations rather than sitting on them.
+1 # Jimbo 2011-01-01 05:33
Worried huh?
+6 # Daniel Fletcher 2010-12-31 02:40
What an amazing conclusion! "Just because an idea is true doesn't mean it can be proved. And just because an idea can be proved doesn't mean it's true. When the experiments are done, we still have to choose what to believe."
The implications of this are tremendous!
This whole business of truth and belief is overwhelming to me. When I extend these ideas to politics, philosophy and so forth, I am humbled by the implications. Indeed, I will have to do some serious meditating on this.
+3 # Capn Canard 2010-12-31 11:46
I believe the problem lies with our inability to realized that a paradigm shift has occurred. The old objective based paradigm must give way to the new fluid and slippery subjective paradigm. i.e. your state of mind and belief is very important in any treatment. Our tired old genetic ideals are quickly outdated by the concept of control from EPIGENETIC, i.e the cell membrane, rather than the from nucleus of the cells. I suggest that Dr Bruce Lipton's work has shown that this is a real probability. People are seduced by DRUGS, which are like magic bullets, the placebo can often be as effective, and what does that say for the magic bullets of drugs? I see very little here that hasn't been confirmed by the failure of drugs. Big Pharma prefers you take drugs instead of using reason. For instance, if you are obese then exercise and eat less. Completely change you diet! Change EVERYTHING you eat, or you can take drugs...
+4 # Capn Canard 2010-12-31 12:16
I would like to add some comments about the concept of a Hydrogen based economy.(HHO) I refer all the curious to the work of Prof. Jerry Woodall, PhD of Purdue University. Woodall has discovered a way to extract H from H2O by using Alumina pellets dropped in plain old water, any water will work. The Alumina oxidizes and the Hydrogen is free! LOL... I argue that this method will not be used because the economic benefits flow downward to the user instead of making more profit for the wealthy, hence the Economy's infrastructure will do NOTHING to implement such a method of energy production. If methods like this were used then many of the rampant lies would become obvious.
+5 # David Arnold 2010-12-31 12:35
Great article! A related consideration not mentioned is the economic incentive involved in experimentation and reported results. I was amused in the late 80's to see many med school health newsletters severely denigrating vitamins, supplements and other alternative health possibilities as useless (citing medical research) until the medical profession discovered how much money patients were spending on these alternatives. After that information was available there was an unsuccessful attempt made to require medical prescriptions for vitamins and supplements because they were now becoming known as so powerful in their effects and should only be used with a physicians permission. It seems we tend to believe what serves our purposes and then try our best to prove our beliefs as true.
+3 # Activista 2010-12-31 14:06
"to require medical prescriptions for vitamins and supplements" so the DOCTORS can charge $200 for visit to get vitamin C prescription.
It is medical profession greed - there are so many basic medicines that you have to pay big $$ for what should be available over the counter. One has to travel to Canada ...
+2 # Activista 2010-12-31 14:00
Great article - and providing much plausible explanation why we live lie. One would have to spend a year to go deep - and end being depressed.
In information age most of it is garbage - we know very little and most of what we know is wrong.
The initial samples were small - not statistically significant. People "confirm their preferred hypothesis, disregarding what they don’t want to see" etc.
Any living system is complex - anybody who did any computer modeling knows that missing data are substituted by hypothesis = prejudice.
And worst is our money society values with one goal - maximizing the PROFIT - quick buck.
And $profit rules - we are using pesticides/herb icides 40 years after we know how harmful they are to environment and humans. Homo Destructor can go to store and buy dozens of poisons against mammals (ourselves) - because there are moles living in our suburban toxic lawn.
+2 # Tucker 2010-12-31 15:28
What does this tell us about the statistical modeling presented as evidence of global warming?!
0 # Activista 2010-12-31 19:30
For global warming/climate change - look at NASA photos - in space and time.

It is not uniform - but as evident as the Earth is round.

And how we are treating Earth - look at aerial photos on
+1 # Jimbo 2011-01-01 05:34
Thanks, I'll ck. it out
+1 # William Shannonhouse 2011-01-02 16:31
"The only things we know is that we are here and it is now. Everything else is hearsay."
On top of this we must question who is "we? Where is "here"? And what is the nature of being if time is an illusion of perspective?
Welcome to our ambiguous universe, where you have always been. If you feel anxious by not knowing anything, be comforted that that doesn't mean everyone's delusions may be equally (in)valid. Is point of view an interpretation or a determinant?
0 # davidg 2011-01-10 08:04
A serious problem with most published studies is that their statistical methodology is essentially bogus. Without getting too technical here, roughly one out of every twenty completely random experiments will produce a "significant" result, from which we might conclude that at least one out of every twenty "significant" correlations in the literature is nonsense. But it's actually much worse than that, because authors are usually not required to state how many unreported experiments they performed and discarded, due to "faulty experimental setups" or other similar excuses.

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