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Table 6 Myths and their corresponding non-narrative and narrative corrections

From: You don’t have to tell a story! A registered report testing the effectiveness of narrative versus non-narrative misinformation corrections

Item number Items Non-narrative correction Narrative correction
Myth-1 Gastritis and stomach ulcers are caused by excessive stress There is now strong evidence that gastritis and stomach ulcers are caused by the bacterium Helicobacter pylori. Scientists Barry Marshall and Robin Warren are credited with the discovery of this association, which was viewed by the broader scientific community as novel. A Nobel Prize was awarded to Marshall and Warren because of this discovery. A consequence of this discovery is that antibiotics can be used to treat these conditions
(WC = 69; FRE = 37.2; FKGL = 12.3)
Scientist Barry Marshall discovered that gastritis and stomach ulcers are caused by the bacterium Helicobacter pylori. At first, he was ridiculed by colleagues for his proposal. Frustrated, he intentionally drank a broth contaminated with the bacterium to prove that it caused disease. Soon after, Marshall developed gastritis as a result, and then successfully used antibiotics to treat himself. There is now strong evidence for the link, and the discovery earned Marshall and his colleague Robin Warren a Nobel Prize
(WC = 79, ratio 1.14; FRE = 39.8; FKGL = 11.6)
Myth-2 Women talk more than men Numerous studies have converged on the conclusion that females do not talk more than males. Based on studies recording regular speech fragments from volunteers, it has been estimated that both men and women say around 16,000 words a day. This type of research is often done by using a digital device that records 30 s of sound every 12.5 min over long periods of time. From this, the total number of words spoken per day can be extrapolated with satisfactory accuracy. Results indicate that there are outliers of both genders, meaning there are some people who speak much more and others who speak much less than the average
(WC = 108; FRE = 47.0; FKGL = 12.0)
Females do not talk more than males. Professor James Pennebaker of the University of Texas was leisurely reading a magazine, when he encountered a claim that jolted his mind to action: that women are “chatterboxes” who speak three times as much as men. Dubious of the claim, he decided to test its validity. To do so, Pennebaker recorded the speech of hundreds of volunteers, who wore digital devices that recorded 30 s of sound every 12.5 min. After painstaking analysis, he found that both men and women say around 16,000 words a day, a finding that has been replicated in numerous other studies. Amusingly, the most talkative person in the study was a man, racking up 47,000 words a day!
(WC = 120, ratio 1.11; FRE = 41.3; FKGL = 12.4)
Myth-3 Cracking your knuckles leads to arthritis There is no correlation between cracking one’s knuckles and the development of arthritis, despite prevalent belief about the relationship. For example, one study demonstrated that frequent knuckle cracking did not lead to the development of arthritis in the hand, even in knuckles cracked up to 36,500 times over a time span of 50 years. The study, titled “Does knuckle cracking lead to arthritis of the fingers?”, was published in the scientific journal Arthritis and Rheumatism. Dr. Donald Unger, the sole author of the article, received the 2009 Ig Nobel Prize for the work. This is a prize which is awarded for research that makes you laugh, then think.
(WC = 107; FRE = 43.5; FKGL = 12.4)
There is no correlation between cracking one’s knuckles and the development of arthritis—as was most convincingly shown by Dr. Donald Unger. When Unger was a child, his parents scolded him every time he cracked his knuckles, warning him, “you’re going to develop arthritis!” Curious about whether this was true, he began cracking his left-hand knuckles daily, while never cracking his right hand. After 50 years—cracking his left-hand knuckles about 36,500 times in the process—Unger had not developed arthritis in either hand. He published the finding in the scientific journal Arthritis and Rheumatism. For his work, Unger received the 2009 Ig Nobel Prize, awarded for research that makes you laugh, then think.
(WC = 113, ratio 1.06; FRE = 45.4; FKGL = 11.5)
Myth-4 Delayed-onset muscle soreness is caused by buildup of lactic acid. Lactic acid produced in muscles during strenuous exercise does not cause muscle soreness a day or two after exercise. Scientific evidence shows that strenuous exercise that a person is used to partaking in does not produce delayed-onset muscle soreness. Relatively easy exercise that a person is not used to, on the other hand, does produce muscle soreness. This occurs despite the fact that the relatively easier exercise often results in a lower level of lactic acid production, compared to the more strenuous but familiar exercise. Thus, delayed-onset muscle soreness is not the result of lactic acid buildup. Rather, the soreness is caused by micro-tears to muscle fibers, which are more likely to occur when engaging in new types of exercise.
(WC = 120; FRE = 35.6; FKGL = 13.2)
Lactic acid produced in muscles during strenuous exercise does not cause muscle soreness. Sport scientist James Schwane, an avid runner, questioned the often-cited relationship between lactic acid and delayed-onset muscle soreness based on his own experience, and decided to test it. Schwane got participants to either run on a flat surface (which was strenuous, but involved movements the runners were used to), or downhill (which was easier, but less similar to runners’ usual movements). He discovered that running downhill produced less lactic acid but caused more soreness than running on a flat surface. This led him to conclude that delayed-onset muscle soreness is not linked to lactic acid. Rather, he concluded that the soreness is caused by micro-tears to muscle fibers, which are more likely to occur when engaging in new types of exercise
(WC = 134, ratio 1.12; FRE = 42.1; FKGL = 12.9)
  1. WC, Word Count; FRE, Flesch Reading Ease; FKGL, Flesch–Kincaid Grade Level