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Why do rumors always spread so quickly?

We can often see rumors on the Internet, although refuting rumors is followed by great efforts, but the effect seems not ideal. It reminds me of something from my school days. From primary school to high school, there are always some rumors about a certain girl in the class, nothing more than ignorant feelings. Many years later, these rumors become fodder for viewers to reminisce about their youth, and all the while, no one cares whether the stories are true or false, who started them, or whether the protagonists in the vortex were injured.
Why do rumors always win people’s trust so easily, spread so quickly and lastingly?
One reason is that rumors are often fabricated with realistic details, dramatic plots and expectations, which satisfy people’s need to eat melons. It’s like when we see bizarre social news or outrageous movie plots, we can’t help but feel a burning desire to share. Rumors cater to people’s sympathy, catharsis and conformity in the process of spreading. This conclusion is backed up by research by MIT professor Surush, who argues that people naturally have a tendency to spread news that is more sensational and embellished, and that is more in tune with a new mindset.
Another reason is that our brains have a preference for negative information, and we become more sensitive and emotional in the face of negative information as a self-protective mechanism. According to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, people’s safety needs come first.
The “2012 doomsday” rumor is a classic example. At that time, in order to survive the arrival of the “doomsday”, American Robert Vicino built a doomsday castle in the desert area near California, known as the Earth’s “Noah’s Ark”. Each room requires a minimum rent of $50,000 to stay, which is not cheap, but many people scramble to give money away to save their lives. In life, elders often forward health rumors in the circle of friends for similar reasons.
Every time a breaking news item hits the trending search, a large number of rumors are spawned and spread quickly on the Internet. Although the authorities are quick to dispel rumors, rumors can spread like wildfire. A study by a team of scientists at MIT’s Social Machines Lab, published in the journal Science, confirms that fake news stories are about 70% more likely to be forwarded than true ones. This statistic corresponds to Mark Twain’s statement that “a lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is still putting on its shoes.”
But did it ever occur to you that we might be the ones who started the rumor? As Allport said, “Every rumor has an audience.” If we could think more independently, listen less and believe less, would rumors be fewer and spread more slowly?

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