RE: Allport & Postman's "The Psychology of Rumor" (1947)

From: derek gatherer (
Date: Tue 17 Feb 2004 - 20:29:28 GMT

  • Next message: derek gatherer: "Re: Allport & Postman's "The Psychology of Rumor" (1947)"

     --- Richard Brodie <> wrote: >
    > Wow! Do they cover evolutionary psychology?

    Allport and Postman posit a “Law of Rumor” which states that the likelihood of spread is proportional to the importance of the subject and the degree of ambiguity surrounding it. I suppose what EP has subsequently focussed on, is why we regard some things as important. In the language of the late 40s, Allport and Postman suggest “relief”, “justification” and “explanation”. Rumours “relieve primary emotional urges” or “assuage immediate emotional tension”, they
    “justify” gut instincts, they explain where meaning is lacking, they “provide a broader interpretation of various puzzling features of the environment”. They also talk a lot about “projection”. “Rumor is akin to the daydream at second hand”. Also “anticipation”, in the “home-stretch rumors”.

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