Truth ineffective in battling rumours about NYC mosque, study finds

October 28th, 2010 - 3:15 pm ICT by ANI  

Washington, Oct 28 (ANI): A new study has revealed that the truth about the proposed Islamic cultural centre and mosque near Ground Zero in New York City was not effective at all in battling the rumours regarding its construction.

Researchers at Ohio State University found that fewer than one-third of people who had previously heard and believed one of the many rumours about the proposed centre changed their minds after reading overwhelming evidence rejecting the rumour.

The researchers used a false rumour that Feisal Abdul Rauf, the Imam backing the proposed Islamic cultural centre and mosque, is a terrorist sympathizer who has refused to condemn Islamic attacks on civilians.

They found that it was easy to neutralize the positive effects of the rebuttal, simply through the use of certain photos or the addition of unrelated text.

“We didn’t have much success in shaking people’s beliefs in false rumours,” said R. Kelly Garrett at Ohio State.

This study was designed to see if the researchers could change the minds of rumour believers by presenting the facts, as reported by FactCheck and PolitiFact.

Overall, only 35 percent of the participants who previously encountered and believed the rumour held more accurate beliefs after reading a rebuttal, and even fewer - about 28 percent - were moved to reject the rumour.

After exposure to the two types of effective rebuttals, about 1 in 4 (25 percent) of the subjects who had either previously been unsure about the truth of the rumour, or who believed the rumour was true, updated their beliefs to report they considered the rumour false. (ANI)

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