Close this search box.

Rinse and Repeat. Rinse and Repeat. Rinse and . . .

Did you think the word “Repeat?”

You did.

We’d like to think we’re good judges of the accuracy and value of the information we receive. The truth is, we’re not. Or not as good as we think.


Two reasons come to mind.

  1. We’re overwhelmed with stimulus.
  2. We use mental models and shortcuts to manage

A simple example: We hear a loud noise, and we jump. There’s a lot of survival advantage in reacting first and thinking later when we get that kind of signal.

Here’s another. If a person in a position of authority tells us something, we tend to believe or do it. A policeman in an intersection blows a whistle and holds up his hand, you’re going to stop.

Here’s another. You hear something once, and then again, and then again. It doesn’t matter if it’s objectively true or completely fabricated. Repetition drives belief and then conviction. It’s how our parents made sure we understood what would keep us safe, get us love, and keep us fed.

Once something gets repeated enough, introducing new “facts” has almost no chance of changing your views on what’s true. It’s called the “Illusory Truth Effect.”

If you’re trying to persuade someone, repetition is your friend.

Repetition is your friend.

In other words, repeat yourself.

If you fancy yourself an independent thinker, repetition is the first clue.

Repetition is the first clue.

If you keep hearing something, you might want to investigate the opposite.