That's what communications experts hammer. Storytelling has become the dominant tactic in everything from public relations to marketing.
The neuroscience backstory is that human beings are hard-wired for the need for a complete narrative. When a bunch of material doesn't come together as a coherent story we will tend to fill in the gaps to create a whole.
That accounts for why we so often fall for cons. The same hard-wiring predisposes us to superimpose a framework that makes sense of a situation with some pieces missing or which just don't fit.
Consequently, cons such as Bernie Madoff don't have to do a lot of heavy lifting to make us believe they are legit. We need to believe.
So, we wind up marrying a fraud, assuming a convicted murderer is innocent and/or loaning money to the lowlife who skips town. Members of the media are forever publishing articles about law firm partners, associates and IT managers who embezzle - or worse.
In most cases, however, we don't even realize that we have been conned. If we do, we are often too ashamed to reveal we have been taken for a ride.
The 2016 book which explains that phenomenon in detail is "The Confidence Game: Why We Fall For It ... Every Time." The author is psychologist Maria Konnikova. The book is ranked 5048 on Amazon. Here you can order it.
Konnikova, though, is not the first person to bring mainstream the dark side of our need for stories.
Financial guru, Nassim Taleb, warned that in our rush to have a complete narrative we tend to ignore reality. Therefore, we wind up making a lot of wrong decisions, especially in investing. His bestselling book had been "The Black Swan."
How to lessen our vulnerability to be conned?
One approach might be to be skeptical, from the get-go. We simply have to accept that navigating this thing called life is a complex undertaking. That's a trait which effective law enforcement officials have.
Another is to take our time in all decision-making. There are few real emergencies.
A third is to verify the validity of the narrative being presented to us. If the stakes are high, hire a private investigator.
And, fourth, study the MOs of cons. Those are available in books and films about that form of miscreant. Lawyers will find them among clients. In addition, I have run into myriad samples in various recovery groups. You can sit in on open meetings of 12-step programs.
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