Rumor trumps Rationality
Some research has shown that people believe gossip, rumor and innuendo even if they are confronted with hard evidence refuting it. Research conducted at the Max Planck Institute described in The New York Times and later mentioned in The Week (great to read) told about researchers who set up a situation where players who were playing a philantrophy game gave other players money based on a recipient’s rumored reputation. When the players were told that a recipient was generous and friendly to other players, they were much more likely to give money to that person. In contrast, when they were told that the recipient was greedy and unfriendly, players were less likely to give that person money. BUT this pattern remained the same even when people were shown written documents saying that the greedy person was actually quite generous and the generous person was actually Scrooge-like. Gossip and reputation-ruining information is obviously very sticky and trumps rational data. A lesson to be learned. Watch your reputation since bad news is hard to erase, regardless of how much support you have saying you are being unfairly treated.