The Science of Rumours
In 1902, German social scientist William Stern conducted a series of experiments to understand how people spread rumours. In these studies, he included a “chain” of subjects who repeated and explained a rumor. He found that rumours were shorter at the end of the chain. Other pioneers in the field include Gordon Allport, a former student of Stern. This article summarizes some of the key insights in the science of rumors.
A rumor is a report that circulates among people. A rumor is not usually admissible as evidence, according to State v. Culler (82 Mo. 626), Smith v. Moore (74 Vt. 81), and Asimov, a reporter. Allport and Postman use three different terms to describe the movement of a rumor. In this case, “levelling” refers to the loss of details during transmission. The term “sharpening” refers to the selection of details for transmission. Similarly, “assimilation” refers to the distortion of information in the rumour by its source.
The word rumor derives from Latin rumorem, which means “a general noise or discussion.” In the Middle Ages, rumours were used to discuss gossip and the spread of gossip. The English word ‘rumour’ is similar to its modern counterpart ‘disinformation.’ While it focuses on the spread of negative information, it is still important to note that it has a distinct meaning.
The meaning of rumor differs from context to context. It is a popular report that spreads from person to person. It is not admissible in court because it is not verified. In some cases, a rumour may be true or false, but it is not considered credible by the judge or jury. For instance, a rumor about a celebrity’s death can be a rumour.
The ‘rumor’ definition emphasizes the transmission process. Its content, is what makes it distinctive from private or trivial information. In other words, a rumour is an unsubstantiated report that is transmitted widely in the public domain. Its content is determined by the emotional needs of a community. Hence, a rumour is not necessarily true. It is only a reflection of what is feared and desired by the public.
To understand rumours better, we must understand how they are transmitted. It is not simply an unsupported fact, it is a speculation derived from an incomplete or inaccurate information. It is not necessarily true, but it can be unsubstantiated. A rumour is a public report that circulates among people in a particular community. It is the public’s way of expressing its beliefs or expectations. This information is then conveyed to the public through various channels, including the media.
A rumor is a story or statement that has not been verified. It is often difficult to trace its source. It’s worth remembering that 89% of rumors are false. While they may sound harmless, they can lead to a ruined reputation and lead to lawsuits. Moreover, a rumor can be damaging to an organization’s reputation. That’s why, a rumor’s origin is always an unverified story.