People with easier to pronounce names promote truthiness of claims

Eryn J. Newman, Mevagh Sanson, Emily K. Miller, Adele Quigley-McBride, Jeffrey L. Foster, Daniel M. Bernstein, Maryanne Garry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Citations (Scopus)
10 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

When people make judgments about the truth of a claim, related but nonprobative information rapidly leads them to believe the claim—an effect called “truthiness”. Would the pronounceability of others’ names also influence the truthiness of claims attributed to them? We replicated previous work by asking subjects to evaluate people’s names on a positive dimension, and extended that work by asking subjects to rate those names on negative dimensions. Then we addressed a novel theoretical issue by asking subjects to read that same list of names, and judge the truth of claims attributed to them. Across all experiments, easily pronounced names trumped difficult names. Moreover, the effect of pronounceability produced truthiness for claims attributed to those names. Our findings are a new instantiation of truthiness, and extend research on the truth effect as well as persuasion by showing that subjective, tangential properties such as ease of processing can matter when people evaluate information attributed to a source.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere88671
Pages (from-to)1-5
Number of pages5
JournalPLoS ONE
Volume9
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2014. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.

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