lfnetwork.com mark read register faq members calendar

Thread: Consequences of rumours and gossip
Thread Tools Display Modes
Post a new thread. Add a reply to this thread. Indicate all threads in this forum as read. Subscribe to this forum. RSS feed: this forum RSS feed: all forums
Old 07-03-2003, 06:50 PM   #1
Jubatus
 
Jubatus's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: In your head
Posts: 406
Consequences of rumours and gossip

Recently saw a program about rumours, specifically how the true story is distorted through each link of the gossip chain, and rather radically too.

One experiment was of a person describing a picture to a next person, who'd then describe it on to the next in line and so forth, the first person being the only to actually see the picture (going to refer to each person in the gossip link by letters; A, B, C and so on). Now, this experiment was conducted in Denmark, where prejudice towards immigrants of a darker complexion are much like the prejudice against black people in parts of USA. Just pointing this out for easy reference all over the geographical board:

Person A was a given a picture of a trainstation platform. A train was occupying the background, there was an advertising poster for an icecream and several people on the platform. The center of attention in this picture was on 2 persons: A young, blond white man with a knife in his hand appearing to threaten another young man, this one an immigrant of darker complexion holding his hands up in a defensive manner.

A, looking at the picture without showing it to B described it to B, and then A left with the picture and C entered the room. B related to the best of her ability the description of the picture to C, and it was pretty accurate. B left and D entered and in describing to D, C made a radical twist in the story, for now it was suddenly the immigrant holding the knife and he was running around threatening everyone on the platform.

So already at the 3rd link in the chain of description (or 2nd link if not counting A, as she actually saw the picture) the story was radically changed. I will assume the change came from C's prejudice against immigrants and that is part of the point I wish to make; how prejudice can quite seriously change facts through links in a chain relating a rumour.

Another point made by the maker of the program is how exaggerations with each link in the chain can, given enough links, blow a relatively innocent story way out of proportions with regards to what actually happened. The thesis of the program maker as to why this occurs is people's need to embellish stories they've heard when telling them to their friends to make them (the people) more interesting by making the story more interesting. It's a need for acceptance, to put it simple.

I've noticed this with some individuals of my friends and family. When they describe a story, which I also witnessed firsthand, they exaggerate quite a deal to make it more interesting. Sometimes I intervene and put them straight, other times I just sit back and shake my head.

Now, this might seem all innocent on a small everyday level, but I'm convinced, that through history, distortion of rumours might have had dramatic and even fatal large scale consequences, ie leading to wars. I tried finding some actual proof of this before writing this but didn't actually find any, but I have this vague ghost of a voice in my head that there are documented stories of such events in history. If anyone can remember such a story please let me know.

Conclusively, I feel that distortion of facts through rumours is a very serious matter, that can have serious consequences such as reputations ruined, people getting hurt (both emotionally and physically) and chances/risks never taken that could have had fortunate outcomes.

Any comments and additional material on this is greatly welcome.

EDIT: P.S.: Bear in mind that all I've written here is not even touching the matter of rumours that are deliberately false from the start.


-]H-P[-Jubatus - All bow down to TROGDOR the BURNINATOR!

Ode to a

Hey, you there! What we count in numbers we lack in wit.
Hey, you there! I take orders from an imperial git.
Hey, you there! I can't shot for sh*t.
Hey, you there!....Is there a bottom to this pit?
Jubatus is offline   you may: quote & reply,
Old 07-03-2003, 10:08 PM   #2
Dagobahn Eagle
First Strike Tester
 
Dagobahn Eagle's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: Bergen, Norway
Posts: 3,513
Current Game: First Strike
I have been gone for a while, so I have some stuff to catch up on. From what I can see of the

Personally, I HATE cruel gossip and backtalking. Innocent backtalking (and you have to realize, there is a difference) does not bother me, but cruel gossip certainly does. For example, there are these two people I know, one of them my brother, who actually say stuff like "Martin **** his pants in the party Amund threw" and "Amund and his brother leave their underpants in their bedrooms, and there is **** in them". Horrible. Horrible. And if someone said that about my brother, Hell would break loose...

Innocent gossip, just to mention that, would be something like "I hate Karens new pants". Well, that is just an opinion, right? You can go "heck, I will see for myself".

You said:
"The thesis of the program maker as to why this occurs is people's need to embellish stories they've heard when telling them to their friends to make them (the people) more interesting by making the story more interesting. It's a need for acceptance, to put it simple."

Too true. I told my brother and my mother about the situation Norway got himself into with Russia in.. I am pretty sure it was 1995. A larger-than-usual research rocket was launched from the civilian rocket range at Andøya. Now, although the Russians had been informed in advance, they interpreted the launch as a hostile attack and put all of their missiles on highest readyness (or is that spelled with an "i"?). Only after a few minutes, which were as you can imagine, pretty hectic, we got things sorted out with our Russian friends. Now, my brother added, "yes, and the Russians were only four minutes away from firing back at us". I questioned him, and he answered "yes, they started the 10 minutes launch sequence and were only 4 minutes from launch. I saw it on the History Channel." I said that did not happen, but instead of admitting that he made a mistake or something, he adds "oh, but this happened a LONG time ago, in 1970".

Now, this story is most likely untrue, judging from several assumptions (such as the fact that if a launch sequence started, the whole world would know. The Cuban Crisis is world-famous, and they did not even start a launch sequence). I think the story, and your story, prove your point nicely.

You said:
"Now, this might seem all innocent on a small everyday level, but I'm convinced, that through history, distortion of rumours might have had dramatic and even fatal large scale consequences, ie leading to wars. I tried finding some actual proof of this before writing this but didn't actually find any, but I have this vague ghost of a voice in my head that there are documented stories of such events in history. If anyone can remember such a story please let me know."

I suppose I could use WW II as an example. The stories about the Jews were not exactly true, were they?

I believe this shows the importance of writing down history.

You said:
"Conclusively, I feel that distortion of facts through rumours is a very serious matter, that can have serious consequences such as reputations ruined, people getting hurt (both emotionally and physically) and chances/risks never taken that could have had fortunate outcomes."
And I bow to your wisdom. Nice idea for a thread.

Dagobahn Eagle is offline   you may: quote & reply,
Old 07-03-2003, 11:44 PM   #3
Jubatus
 
Jubatus's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: In your head
Posts: 406
Quote:
Originally posted by Dagobahn Eagle
I suppose I could use WW II as an example. The stories about the Jews were not exactly true, were they?
Indeed, but that is a matter of rumours deliberately being false from the start. As I stated, the danger I'm writing of is the subconscious distortion of histories that start out as fact and end up being blown out of proportion or having the essential part reversed (as with the threatened immigrant becoming the threat).

Other than that, thanks for the feedback.


-]H-P[-Jubatus - All bow down to TROGDOR the BURNINATOR!

Ode to a

Hey, you there! What we count in numbers we lack in wit.
Hey, you there! I take orders from an imperial git.
Hey, you there! I can't shot for sh*t.
Hey, you there!....Is there a bottom to this pit?
Jubatus is offline   you may: quote & reply,
Old 07-04-2003, 12:19 PM   #4
Homuncul
 
Homuncul's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Russia
Posts: 383
I'm amazed of how rumours sometimes grow on an empty place. I had a seminar once with a master of aikido and after that we had a conversationand he was jut jokingly about Steven Seagal. And sensei said that didn't like his technique and mentioned a bit of Seagal's character. He wasn't offending him, just explained why he didn't agree with his approach to practice. After a month I heard a talk of some younger student who had not been at the seminar talking about Seagal. One of them said: "I no longer like Seagal. He's doing all wrong, he's technique is something horrible, when he entered tatami once he slipped and everybody laughed cauze he nearly fell, after that he loves to kill everyone on tatami just to go drink bear.". And this was a converstaion between 3 people not seen Seagal on tatami at all. No doubt that the rest 2 of them would go and declare the same story eevn more perverted.

Sometimes I entertain myself with such things, But sometimes it just crosses the line wher it should be stopped. What if everything would just become a rumour. What to rely on?
Homuncul is offline   you may: quote & reply,
Old 07-04-2003, 12:41 PM   #5
Jubatus
 
Jubatus's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: In your head
Posts: 406
Quote:
Originally posted by Homuncul
What if everything would just become a rumour. What to rely on?
Intuition, experience and common sense are defences (though not by far flawless) against rumour, though better yet is to seek out the source and hear it from the horse's mouth whenever possible and needed.

Awareness of the possible consequences of rumours should almost be a mandatory topic in elementary school. And one lesson above all: Never judge on a rumour.


-]H-P[-Jubatus - All bow down to TROGDOR the BURNINATOR!

Ode to a

Hey, you there! What we count in numbers we lack in wit.
Hey, you there! I take orders from an imperial git.
Hey, you there! I can't shot for sh*t.
Hey, you there!....Is there a bottom to this pit?
Jubatus is offline   you may: quote & reply,
Old 07-04-2003, 01:15 PM   #6
El Sitherino
The Original.
 
El Sitherino's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Planet Funkālnite.
Posts: 14,509
Hot Topic Starter LFN Staff Member Forum Veteran LF Jester 

best visual example of how things can be blown out of proportion

PS- pardon the pun.


“This body is not me. I am not caught in this body.
I am life without limit.”

Last edited by InsaneSith; 07-04-2003 at 01:26 PM.
El Sitherino is offline   you may: quote & reply,
Old 07-04-2003, 01:49 PM   #7
Jubatus
 
Jubatus's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: In your head
Posts: 406
Quote:
Originally posted by InsaneSith

best visual example of how things can be blown out of proportion

PS- pardon the pun.
Not sure I would pick that illustration for kids in elementary school, but hey, if it taught them something


-]H-P[-Jubatus - All bow down to TROGDOR the BURNINATOR!

Ode to a

Hey, you there! What we count in numbers we lack in wit.
Hey, you there! I take orders from an imperial git.
Hey, you there! I can't shot for sh*t.
Hey, you there!....Is there a bottom to this pit?
Jubatus is offline   you may: quote & reply,
Post a new thread. Add a reply to this thread. Indicate all threads in this forum as read. Subscribe to this forum. RSS feed: this forum RSS feed: all forums
Go Back   LucasForums > Network > JediKnight Series > Community > Senate Chambers > Consequences of rumours and gossip

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -4. The time now is 11:21 AM.

LFNetwork, LLC ©2002-2011 - All rights reserved.
Powered by vBulletin®
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.