Business 1.0 November/December 2021

December 6th, 2021 by Nathan Hobbs

The Illusory Truth Effect

By Lyle R. Hill

I’m very confused and have been for some time now. I’m guessing that many of you are confused, too. We live in an ‘information age,’ and we can’t keep up with its pace. But it’s not a matter of processing or keeping up. I think the events of the past 15 months—this is being written in mid-June 2021—have brought things to light that are worth discussing.

Pandemic Perplexities

I had an appointment with one of my doctors a few weeks ago. Our conversation swiftly shifted to COVID. I asked him about the hot topics of the day: Is wearing masks effective? Are the vaccines safe? What is the appropriate spacing for social distancing? Did shutting down the economy and school system save lives, and should we still wear masks and practice social distancing? He quickly answered my questions, telling me not to believe everything the learned medical professionals and politicians said about the pandemic.

He then gave me about a 15-minute dissertation on his thoughts, ideas and conclusions about the matter. At the end of his speech, I looked him in the eye and said, “So should I believe you after you told me not to believe everything that was being said about the subject?” He laughed and said, “You should believe what makes sense to you.”

Psychologists use the term ‘Illusory Truth Effect’ to describe certain regular phenomena in our society. It is the foundation for the saying that, “If you hear a lie repeated enough, you will start to accept it as true whether it is or not.” It was stated that “we encounter many misleading claims in our daily lives, some of which have the potential to affect important decisions” in a study published in 2015 in the Journal of Experimental Psychology.

My Takeaways

I think what this is saying is that we are all capable of being ‘brainwashed’ over time. We tend to believe those who tell us what we want to hear. This is scary, at least it is to me. I would like not to accept this about myself, about all of us. Yet, I think history supports this concept. It means truth is more elusive than I want to believe.

I had my bout with COVID-19 this past November. It was not an easy time. A total of five family members have dealt with it to date, but none required hospitalization. I have known people who have died from it and others who have had it and reported only a sore throat and loss of taste as symptoms. I have now had both doses of the Moderna vaccine, and I am thankful for that. Maybe one day, we will have all of this figured out and know what happened. Right now, I think we are continuing to guess, hope and pray.

The New Normal

Now for some statistics that I believe are accurate and a few personal opinions that may interest you.

1.The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recorded 752,196 COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. as of Nov. 7, 2021.

2. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recorded 46,405,253 COVID-19 cases in the U.S. as of Nov. 7, 2021.

3. Suicides are not up during the pandemic. Surprised? I was.

4. Domestic abuse cases are up 8-10% (depending on which report you read).

5. In one survey, over 45% of businesses said they will reduce office space in the future.

6. Alcoholic consumption is up over 14% overall but up 41% in women.

7. 17% of adults report showering less often during COVID.

8. 25% of adults say they are washing their hair less during COVID.

9. 33% of adults say they are less likely to put clean clothes on every day during COVID.

10. 25% of employees say they will look for a new job before the end of the year.

The ‘new normal’ that we are moving into will bring several predictable changes (evictions, office downsizings, businesses not reopening). Still, I think the unknown will perhaps have the most significant impact.

My closing thoughts: Think for yourself. Always seek the truth, even knowing it might hurt and may not be what you want it to be. Get your vaccinations, and stay healthy.

Lyle R. Hill is the former owner of a window film company in the Midwest. He also serves as president of Glass.com®, an information portal and job generation company for the glass industry. Hill has over 50 years of experience in film and glass-related industries and can be reached at lhill@glass.com.

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