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  • TITLE: People with Easier to Pronounce Names Promote Truthiness of Claims
  • AUTHORS: Eryn J. Newman, Mevagh Sanson, Emily K. Miller, Adele Quigley-McBride, Jeffrey L. Foster, Daniel M. Bernstein, Maryanne Garry
  • JOURNAL NAME: PLOS ONE DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0088671 Sep 06, 2014
  • ABSTRACT: When people make judgments about the truth of a claim, related but nonprobative information rapidly leads them to believe the claim–an effect called “truthiness” [1]. Would the pronounceability of others’ names also influence the truthiness of claims attributed to them? We replicated previous work by asking subjects to evaluate people’s names on a positive dimension, and extended that work by asking subjects to rate those names on negative dimensions. Then we addressed a novel theoretical issue by asking subjects to read that same list of names, and judge the truth of claims attributed to them. Across all experiments, easily pronounced names trumped difficult names. Moreover, the effect of pronounceability produced truthiness for claims attributed to those names. Our findings are a new instantiation of truthiness, and extend research on the truth effect as well as persuasion by showing that subjective, tangential properties such as ease of processing can matter when people evaluate information attributed to a source.