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Professor Studies How Urban Legends Arise

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LARAMIE, Wyo. - A University of Wyoming associate professor is teaming up with other researchers to study how urban legends and rumors in general spread within groups and what contributes to their longevity.

Martin J. Bourgeois, associate professor of psychology, said much is known how rumors are spread by individuals.

"We know if somebody is anxious or uncertain they're more prone to spread a rumor. We also know negative rumors get passed more easily than positive ones. But at the group level, rumors are more difficult to predict because more complex variables are involved," he said.

"If we can find out how these rumors form and proliferate, maybe we can determine ways to counteract them, especially the false ones with negative consequences," he said.

Such information would be especially beneficial to large corporations and government groups, according to Bourgeois.

Also participating in the study are researchers at New York's Rochester Institute of Technology and the University of Southern Australia.

The project is backed by a $749,000 grant from the National Science Foundation.

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I wish them the best because there are some really dumb urban legends out there.

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Urban Legends are what I live for. There is nothing more demented than a story passed around so much that every piece of it becomes an art of fiction so hideous it keeps little children afraid of the dark and college kids freaked out every time the phone rings. Bring it on!

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They can have negative consequences, however. Not to mention the spread of misinformation. I've seen the stupid effects of them time and time again. People don't do certain things or may go certain places because of a silly urban legend.

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I am trying to start one in my neighborhood to keep the

kids away from my car. Any ideas?

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Er...Put in a Kenny G CD. That'll teach em. As for an urban legend...I'll get back to you.

Edited by Yelekiah

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wow Kenny G, you really are good.

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The thing that I find annoying is when I hear or read a urban legend that I have read a couple of times before. And the other thing is when they put veraitions to the legend which is also annoying.

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