人们更易听信流言蜚语
大耳朵英语  http://www.bigear.cn  2007-10-20 12:19:51  【打印
人们更易听信流言蜚语

Gossip more powerful than truth - researchers





Gossip is more powerful than truth, a study showed on Monday, suggesting people believe what they hear through the grapevine even if they have evidence to the contrary.

Gossip is more powerful than truth, a study showed on Monday, suggesting people believe what they hear through the grapevine even if they have evidence to the contrary.

Researchers, testing students using a computer game, also found gossip played an important role when people make decisions, said Ralf Sommerfeld, an evolutionary biologist at the Max Planck Institute in Germany, who led the study.

"We show that gossip has a strong influence ... even when participants have access to the original information as well as gossip about the same information," the researchers wrote in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

"Thus, it is evident that gossip has a strong manipulative potential."

In the study, the researchers gave the students money and allowed them to give it to others in a series of rounds. The students also wrote notes about how others played the game that everyone could review.





Students tended to give less money to people described as "nasty misers" or "scrooges" and more to those depicted as "generous players" or "social players," Sommerfeld said.

"People only saw the gossip, not the past decisions," he said in a telephone interview.

The researchers then took the game a step further and showed the students the actual decisions people had made. But they also supplied false gossip that contradicted that evidence.

In these cases, the students based their decisions to award money on the gossip, rather than the hard evidence, Sommerfeld said.

"Rationally if you know what the people did, you should care, but they still listened to what others said," he said.

Researchers have long used similar games to study how people cooperate and the impact of gossip in groups. Scientists define gossip as social information spread about a person who is not present, Sommerfeld said.

In evolutionary terms, gossip can be an important tool for people to acquire information about others' reputations or navigate through social networks at work and in their everyday lives, the study said.

本周一公布的一项研究表明,流言比事实更具“威力”。即使人们掌握了事实依据, 他们还是更易相信与事实不符的小道消息。



据德国迈克斯•普兰克研究所负责人、进化生物学家拉尔夫•索姆费尔德介绍,研究人员借助一个电脑游戏对学生们进行测试。结果发现,流言在人们做决定的过程中起了重要作用。

研究人员在《国家科学院院刊》的研究报告中提到:“研究发现,即便在研究对象知道了真相的情况下,流言仍有很强的影响力。”

“由此看来,流言显然具有很强的操纵力。”

在试验过程中,研究人员发给学生们一些钱并让他们分几轮把钱发给其他人。学生们还得记录其他同伴在游戏中的所作所为,以供大家参考。

索姆费尔德说,学生们倾向于发较少的钱给那些被描述为“令人讨厌的守财奴”或“吝啬鬼”的人,而发较多的钱给那些“慷慨的玩家”或“合群的玩家”。

他在接受电话采访时说:“人们只听流言,而不顾之前的决定。”

研究人员又进行了几轮游戏,并在这几轮中告诉大家每个人的真实决定。但研究人员同时还“散布”了一些与真实依据相矛盾的流言。

索姆费尔德说,在这几轮中,学生们仍然根据他们听到的流言来决定发钱的多少,而不是根据摆在面前的事实。

他说:“理性地讲,如果你了解了真实情况,那就应该有所考虑,可他们仍然听信流言。”

研究人员一直用类似的游戏来研究人们如何合作及流言对于团队的影响。索姆费尔德说,科学家将流言定义为人们散布的有关不在场的人的社会信息。



该研究还指出,从进化论角度来说,流言是人们获取其他人社会评价信息及游刃于工作和日常生活中各种社会关系网的重要工具。

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