I think I remember there being a specific name for the experience when you realize that you've been taking the credentials of a source of information (news network, online personality, etc.) for granted after they go into inaccurate detail on a subject in which you are knowledgeable. Or the name may refer to being irritated by the inaccuracies, but not having the realization that it likely means there are inaccuracies in the content related to subjects you don't have knowledge in. Can anyone help me find this term?

  • 1
    Interestingly, EL&U previously had a question about the exact opposite effect, here: After seeing how misinformed an article is in a newspaper, you flip the page and continue reading as if the rest can be trusted. What is this called?
    – Sven Yargs
    Commented Feb 26, 2016 at 7:05
  • Why is this question the "exact" opposite of the older question cited by Sven Yargs? Here the reader awakens from their self-induced naivety, in the older question the reader returns to their default mindset, which the OP also mentions.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Feb 26, 2016 at 21:42
  • Sven, thank you! The answer I was looking for was in the reply to that post. It was 'Murray Gell-Mann Amnesia effect'. Thanks again :) Commented Feb 26, 2016 at 22:43
  • @MariLou A: I thought that the poster here was seeking a phrase to describe disillusionment as to the reliability of a source of information, leading to cynicism, a jaded perspective, or enduring skepticism about that information source. The question I linked to, in contrast, is specifically about quickly forgetting any such cautionary lesson about a source's demonstrated unreliability. This may not be exact opposition, but it certainly constitutes a very different effect. (But then again, the poster was actually interested that other term, so I obviously misread what he was looking for.)
    – Sven Yargs
    Commented Feb 27, 2016 at 2:05

3 Answers 3


I recall one particularly disconcerting episode of this sort which occurred to me about 50 years ago. I was attending a political rally of sorts where a candidate for US Congress was speaking. (He wasn't a congressman at the time but went on to be one a few years later, IIRC.)

In what might have seemed to many to be just an offhand remark he criticized as "wasteful" some scientific research which I had read about in Scientific American only a few days earlier and which I was quite confident was useful and important (and which since has become recognized as seminal work in the field of child psychology). I was rather shocked at his apparent ignorance (more at the willingness of the ignorance, because it matched his political agenda, than the ignorance itself). It was a major factor in my reformulating my entire political outlook, as it caused me to question not just him but a whole range of characters in the same political "movement".

I too struggle to find a term for the "dis-illusionment" that occurred in this case. Disconcert -- (v) to disturb the self-possession of; perturb; ruffle;to throw into disorder or confusion; disarrange -- sort of works. Discountenance and discompose are also pretty good, but I'm not finding anything that really captures the situation and feeling.


The overarching generic idiom for what you refer to is losing one's faith or losing faith, but there is also another word I think applies in your case which has a more emotional emphasis: embitterment.

Example: His blind ignorance made me lose faith in him; I was embittered and disgusted.

  • In the incident I described I was not "embittered" by the revelation but rather much the opposite. (You think I'm bitter now you should have seen me then!)
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Feb 25, 2016 at 23:19
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    Oh, so your revelation was liberating then? In that case let me offer the alternate phrases clue in and wise up. Commented Feb 25, 2016 at 23:27


ex. This news has left me totally flabbergasted.


baffle and disturb mentally

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