GV Graduate and Dr. Woods Publish Groundbreaking Research

September 6, 2023

Dr. Paul Riesthuis, a 2016 graduate of Grand View University, and Dr. Josh Woods recently published a scientific article in a prestigious international journal, Psychological Research, challenging 30 years of established research. The illusory truth effect is the idea that people are more likely to perceive a statement as true when it is repeated. This explains why teachers review important information, corporations advertise their slogans, and politicians repeat the same phrases. However, the illusory truth effect can also occur with misinformation, inaccurate news headlines, rumors, non-credible sources, and even highly implausible statements. For the last three decades, it was believed that the illusory truth effect was also observed in general and political opinion statements. However, Riesthuis and Woods (2023) were able to show that, in some cases, opinions are not susceptible to the illusory truth effect.

As a cheeky illustration of their findings, they titled their paper after a popular quote from a 1990s film, The Big Lebowski, where the main character says, "That's just like your opinion man." In other words, their research shows that if someone hears a statement repeatedly but encodes it as an opinion they will not perceive the statement as more truthful simply because it's repeated. However, they found that if a person is simply exposed to opinions repeatedly, they could still fall victim to the illusory truth effect. A remaining question is whether the illusory truth effect for political statements is also observed when people agree or disagree with them. And that's exactly what Dr. Woods and Dr. Riesthuis are working on next.

Read their full paper here.