Rumors are unfounded stories about someone or something, usually without any proof. They are also a type of propaganda. Properly understood, propaganda is a form of social communication that uses stories, pictures, and other symbols to control a person’s opinion.
Rumors have been around for centuries. The word originated in Middle English and is related to the Latin word rumorem. The modern scholarly definition of rumor was first developed in 1902 by German social scientist William Stern. His student Gordon Allport used a chain of subjects to study rumor. He found that rumors were shorter than the actual events, and that rumors were accompanied by a rumor.
There are four basic types of rumors: true, false, semi-true, and ambiguous. Depending on the context, a rumor can be either informative or injurious. For instance, a bogie or wedge-driving rumor might indicate that the candidate for the office is dropping out of the election, while a pipe dream rumor suggests that the person is wishing for some particular outcome.
Rumors are usually disseminated by word of mouth. However, a new form of rumor, known as rumor mongering, has emerged to influence and manipulate other people. This practice, in which individuals manipulate others through rumors, is illegal in the U.S. and is forbidden in most other countries.
It is important to understand that a rumor can never be confirmed, and that it has the potential to harm the reputations of its perpetrators. But it is also possible to disprove a rumor and stop it from spreading. If you hear a rumor about an employee or a group of employees, providing accurate information about the subject is often the best way to thwart its spread.
Some scholars have suggested that a rumor is a subset of propaganda. Others believe that the two are different. Still, it is useful to separate them. Despite this difference, rumor and propaganda are similar. Generally, the primary goal of a rumor is to make sense of a situation that is ambiguous.
Rumors are important in social life. Whether true or false, they affect actions and attitudes. In fact, they can have a financial effect, too. An example of this is when a rumor of a radiology department’s closure leads to lost revenue. Moreover, a rumor about the possibility of an impending earthquake can lead to riots.
Rumors can be spread by word of mouth, reports, and by disinformation. While rumor is the term most commonly used, it is also a synonym for gossip, nonsense, and hearsay. These terms are also used interchangeably.
Although the word rumor comes from the Latin rumorem, it is sometimes referred to as an unverified account of a real event. Rumor is a common phenomenon across cultures and ethnicities. In many cases, the rumor is spread by someone who is not trustworthy, but it can be spread by people who have access to the original source.
Rumors are important in society, and many have studied them. Some social scientists have identified four basic types, while others have suggested a more comprehensive approach. A study of rumor accuracy is a high priority for international intelligence agencies.