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Spreading Ideas

Ideas, regardless of whether theyโ€™re correct or not, can spread over time. We see this with misinformation having become prevalent in the age of the Internet. Seth Godin refers to these incorrect statements as a placebo.

A few factors can help play into a placebo spreading:

  • The problem is complicated. By thinking about it, someone canโ€™t quickly come to a rational answer without prior background knowledge.
  • The problem takes place over time. There isnโ€™t an immediate cause-and-effect relationship between a root cause and the result observed. In essence, a person isnโ€™t practicing delayed gratification.
  • The problem evokes an emotional response. Itโ€™s something the person cares about.