Ideas, regardless of whether they’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 can’t quickly come to a rational answer without prior background knowledge.
- The problem takes place over time. There isn’t an immediate cause-and-effect relationship between a root cause and the result observed. In essence, a person isn’t practicing delayed gratification.
- The problem evokes an emotional response. It’s something the person cares about.
- The rise of placebos, Seth Godin