The boomerang effect of rumour denials: An attributional analysis (2002–2004)
Rumours can have many harmful consequences. They may lead to damaged reputations, reduced morale, panic, stress and loss of interpersonal trust. Furthermore, they are very hard to manage. A simple denial of a rumour can often result in increased belief in the rumour. This boomerang effect makes it very difficult to combat harmful rumours. The proposed research applies causal attribution theory to explain the causes behind the boomerang effect. It uses a combination of laboratory and field experiments and aims to develop and test strategies to overcome this effect. ''