“If it seems too good to be true, it probably isn’t.”
This axiom—the truth of which I must remind myself of repeatedly—when on social media or listening or political ads, means: Be suspicious of people or situations that offer a large benefit for very little in return.
But why do I really, really want to believe it?
Part of the reason is because of the way our brains process information, it uses a fluency shortcut: Information that’s easier to process is viewed positively in almost every way.
We hear it, can pronounce, hear it again and again, and this makes it easier to recall. It also makes it easier to remember and repeat as “fact.”
These factual teasers can be read in full (a 4-minute read) on a post entitled “How Your Brain Keeps You Believing Crap That Isn’t True,” by Bob Nesse.
We trust in assumptions about the way the world operates that seem so obviously true that we fail to test them. ~Bob Nesse
My advice: If it’s a flight or fight situation, run away now and evaluate later. Otherwise double-check the information that’s coming in to you brain. Ask questions. The truth will prevail.