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In the social sciences, a rumor involves some kind of a statement whose veracity is not quickly or ever confirmed. In addition, some scholars have identified rumor as a subset of propaganda. Rumors thus have often been viewed as particular forms of other communication concepts. French and German social science research on rumor locates the modern scholarly definition of it to the pioneering work of the German William Stern in 1902. Stern experimented on rumor involving a “chain of subjects” who passed a story from “mouth to ear” without the right to repeat or explain it. The experiment is similar to the children’s game Chinese whispers. A Psychology of Rumor” was published by Robert H.

1944, in which he reports on his analysis of over one thousand rumors during World War II that were printed in the Boston Herald’s “Rumor Clinic” Column. So formidably defined, rumor is but a special case of informal social communications, including myth, legend, and current humor. From myth and legend it is distinguished by its emphasis on the topical. Where humor is designed to provoke laughter, rumor begs for belief.

Pipe dream rumors: reflect public desires and wished-for outcomes. Japan’s oil reserves were low and thus World War II would soon end. Bogie or fear rumors reflect feared outcomes. Knapp also found that negative rumors were more likely to be disseminated than positive rumors. In the experiment, a test subject was shown an illustration and given time to look it over. They were then asked to describe the scene from memory to a second test subject. This second test subject was then asked to describe the scene to a third, and so forth and so on.