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EMAC 2022 Annual

Visual illusion of truth effect: A process dissociation procedure framework

Published: May 24, 2022


Farhana Tabassum, BI Norwegian Business School; Klemens Knoeferle, BI Norwegian Business School; Luk Warlop, BI Norwegian Business School


This paper presents two experiments and their aggregate results concerning visual illusion of truth effect, i.e., the effect of repetition on rated truth/reality of images. Photographic images coming from a variety of sources, such as, advertisements, press, social media and other consumer fields, are usually edited to a very convincing extent. Repeated exposures to images can make consumers more likely susceptible to recall and construe those images as more truthful, compared to images that are not repeatedly seen. Based on the idea that familiarity and recollection are two independent bases for rating truth, we explore whether it is familiarity or recollection that drives the visual illusory truth effect. Pairing images with differentially credible sources, i.e., trustworthy and non-trustworthy, we find that images appearing from old but non-trustworthy sources were rated as more truthful than new, previously unseen images. Implications of repeated exposure to images are discussed.