Telling a cracking story that does not belong to you

Posted on May 8, 2015

Photo: flickr

Ever told your friends a joke or a cracking story, but you did not include that these amusing events happened to someone else.

Hundreds of US undergrads were sampled and half of them admitted that they have told someone’s else personal anecdote entirely as their own. This might have occurred more than once. Most of them also had the experience of someone else stealing their stories.

It was found that the common reason was due to the individual wanting the story to be part of their identity or past. They want to make the story impactful as if you were to explained that the story belongs to someone else, it is distracting. In addition, it is convenient and perhaps enhances one’s status.

We tend to forget the original source of the story after retelling it. Over time, the story becomes personalised and we tend to believe that it’s our own. The results find that most people had arguments over the ownership of the story, thus showing confusion of story origins is rather “normal”.

In addition, men showed a higher rate of borrowing stories and one of the main reasons was status enhancement.
This could be associated with how we inadvertently change our life stories.

Source material from British Psychological Society