Psychologists explain what Trump’s constant lying does to our brains – Zach Cartwright 

Note: I have never seen anyone in history who was so unavoidable, no matter how reprehensible I considered him to be.  I don’t like his face or or anything to do with him on my wall, but these issues are far too important to turn and look the other way. You know, I prefer to focus on the Love, the Light, the Hope, the Vision, the Channelers, the Astrologers, the Seers, The Seekers and the same Visionaries who look Within to find the world we want to co-create. -PB

Psychologists explain what Trump’s constant lying does to our brains

 

The human mind suffers when faced with a constant barrage of lying, as leading psychologists have discovered, and lies are eventually accepted as truth.

Harvard psychologist Daniel Gilbert, while writing for the American Psychologist magazine, studied how the human brain behaves when being confronted with factually inaccurate information. Through his research, Gilbert discovered that regardless of when the brain decides whether or not information it discovers is true or not, the lie is accepted as truth, however briefly, in order to discern whether or not to reject the information. Gilbert cited the research of William James, who, in studying the work of Dutch philosopher Baruch Spinoza, wrote, “All propositions, whether attributive or existential, are believed through the very fact of being conceived.”

While the mind can eventually dismiss inaccurate information it initially perceives as true through the process of comprehension, the mind can eventually be worn down, as a human being only has a certain capacity to evaluate the veracity of every statement it hears. This means that when exposed to enough lying for a long period of time, the human brain will be slowly incapable of discerning fact from fiction.

The brain, Gilbert wrote, “[W]hen faced with shortages of time, energy, or conclusive evidence, may fail to unaccept the ideas that they involuntarily accept during comprehension.”

In the 1970s, a team of psychologists from Temple University and Villanova University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, coined the term “illusory truth” when defining the process the mind goes through when confronted with the same lie, over and over again, until it finally accepts it as truth. Lynn Hasher, David Goldstein, and Thomas Toppino discovered illusory truth when presenting a group of people with a set of statements two evaluate as true or false over a period of two weeks. The psychologists found that when presenting the group with the same false statements, they were more likely to be rated as true when confronted with the lie the second and third times.

As Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels famously stated, “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.” The Hasher/Goldstein/Toppino study appears to provide the empirical evidence to support that claim.

With Donald Trump in office for the next four years — who, according to Politico, lied once every three minutes and 15 seconds over five hours of speeches and press conferences — this can only spell trouble for the American brain as it struggles to comprehend what’s true and what’s false. As Politifact confirmed, 69 percent of Trump’s statements fact-checked during the campaign season were either rated “mostly false,” “false,” or “pants on fire.” Only 16 percent of his statements were rated “true” or “mostly true.”

It will be increasingly important for the media to call out Trump every time he lies over the next four years in order to ease the strain on the minds of American news consumers, which will likely be often. Media outlets like the Wall Street Journal and NPR, whose chief editors have outwardly stated they won’t call President Trump’s lies “lies,” are only enabling him to tell more lies.

Zach Cartwright is an activist and author from Richmond, Virginia. He enjoys writing about politics, government, and the media. Send him an email at [email protected]

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