No. 24 The Illusory Truth Effect

The illusory truth effect is the tendency to believe false information to be correct after repeated exposure.

The illusory truth effect is the tendency to believe false information to be correct after repeated exposure. Or to put it another way, we are more likely to believe that something is true if it is repeated to us enough times.

Shoppers frequently encounter 'false' claims in the form of consumer advertisements and promises, and brand attributes. Repetition may be one way that misconceptions, such as the belief that vitamin C prevents the common cold, enter our knowledge base.

Research on the illusory truth effect demonstrates that repeated statements are easier to process, and subsequently perceived to be more truthful, than new statements.

When it comes to being in-store and online

  1. Say it, say it again and say it yet again – The more times you can expose shoppers to your brand benefits, the more they will buy into them
  2. Take home beliefs – Bear in mind that shoppers see you brand in-store say once a week, but if they take it how, they’ll see it much more. How can you use that to leverage the illusory truth effect?
  3. Don’t mix your truths – It’s easier to repeatedly make the same claim that to try and persuade shoppers using a series of different aspects.

With a little help from the illusory truth effect, you can improve in shoppers minds what your brand stands for; what it is famous for.

About Phillip Adcock

My name is Phillip Adcock: I have more than 30 years of human behavioural research and analysis, and have developed a unique ability to identify what it is that makes people psychologically and physiologically 'tick'.

Would you like to know more about how shoppers and consumers think? Download my FREE guide now. Alternatively, check out, where there are more FREE downloads available there. Or why not simply email me with what's on your mind?

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Phillip Adcock
Psychology & Behaviour
Change Consultant

Are you fascinated by how shoppers think?

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