🚨 very excited for this new paper accepted on Mind & Language

Title: "The Signaling Function of Sharing Fake Stories"

Why do people share or publicly engage with fake stories? (thread below)
Two possible answers come to mind: (1) people are deeply irrational and believe these absurd stories to be true; or (2) they want to deceive/bullshit their audience. Both answers presuppose the idea that people put the stories forward as true.
In contrast, I argue that in some cases, these outlandish (yet also very popular) stories function as signals of one’s group membership. This signaling function can make better sense of why, despite their unusual nature or lack of a factual basis, these stories are so widespread
In effect, this signal functions as a badge of loyalty while also allowing group-members to better coordinate, cooperate or develop their group narratives. Because they are signals of group membership, such stories can proliferate despite their obvious falsity.

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