Rumor Psychology: Social and Organizational Approaches

Front Cover
American Psychological Association, 2007 - Business & Economics - 292 pages
"Each day, we struggle to distinguish rumor from fact. Did the U.S. government blow up levees in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina? Did American soldiers use night-vision goggles to spy on Iraqi women in Fallujah during the Iraqi War? These reports, taken from national and international media accounts, turned out to be false. In Rumor Psychology: Social and Organizational Approaches, expert rumor researchers Nicholas DiFonzo and Prashant Bordia investigate how rumors start and spread, how their accuracy can be determined, and how rumors can be controlled, particularly given their propagation across media outlets and within organizations. Exactly what is rumor, and how does it differ from gossip? Even though these terms are commonly used interchangeably, they differ greatly in function and content. Whereas gossip serves to evaluate and shape the social network, rumor functions to make sense of an ambiguous situation or to help people adapt to perceived or actual threats. Why do people spread and believe rumors? Rumors attract attention, evoke emotion, incite involvement, and affect attitudes and actions. Rumor transmission is motivated by three broad psychological motivations--fact-finding, relationship enhancement, and self-enhancement--all of which help individuals and groups make sense in the face of uncertainty. Rumor is also closely entwined with a host of social and organizational phenomena, including social cognition, prejudice and stereotyping, interpersonal and intergroup relations, social influence, and organizational trust and communication. This book comes at an interesting time given the sociopolitical Zeitgeist, making the study of rumor accuracy, transmission, and propagation a high priority for the international intelligence community. It will also be of interest to social psychologists, organizational psychologists, and researchers in organizational communication, organizational behavior, human resource administration, and public relations personnel who regularly encounter rumors."--Jacket.

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Forms Frequency and Fallout of Rumors
Psychological Factors in Rumor Spread
Factors Associated With Belief in Rumor

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About the author (2007)

Nicholas DiFonzo is currently professor of psychology at the Rochester Institute of Technology.

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