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How Warnings about False Claims Become Recommendations

Ian Skurnik, Carolyn Yoon, Denise C. Park and Norbert Schwarz
Journal of Consumer Research
Vol. 31, No. 4 (March 2005), pp. 713-724
Published by: Oxford University Press
DOI: 10.1086/426605
Stable URL:
Page Count: 12
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How Warnings about False Claims Become Recommendations
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Telling people that a consumer claim is false can make them misremember it as true. In two experiments, older adults were especially susceptible to this “illusion of truth” effect. Repeatedly identifying a claim as false helped older adults remember it as false in the short term but paradoxically made them more likely to remember it as true after a 3 day delay. This unintended effect of repetition comes from increased familiarity with the claim itself but decreased recollection of the claim’s original context. Findings provide insight into susceptibility over time to memory distortions and exploitation via repetition of claims in media and advertising.

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