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On Human Nature IV

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It can be very difficult to change a persons mind. In my last post I described an experiment where people in one experimental group were given an adage that was false but told it was true. Upon revealing that the adage was false, many participants had a hard time accepting that and would find ways to cognitively justify it as truth despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary. Belief-persistence is a strong phenomena fed by a self-confirmation bias where people look for information that supports what they believe, while discounting information that supports the opposition. Our brains are on the lookout for this belief confirming evidence all the time for most of the things we believe. One of our brains primary jobs is to look for patterns; if we have formed a belief, our brains augment with evidence we find be it real or imagined. One of the best ways to break the cycle is to have a participant place themselves into the oppositions shoes; to put themselves on the other side and consider why they might be wrong for themselves. Telling people they are wrong, and why, is frequently unsuccessful, they need to form those patterns on their own to more easily accept it. We could all do well to stand in the shoes of those who we disagree with on a topic, and convincing them to do likewise may yield understanding.
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    Alundil's Avatar
    An excellent post (and point). One that would be beneficial to all (and for some more than others).
    Alundil's Avatar
    I'm reminded about this video.
    Scott Fraser: Why eyewitnesses get it wrong | Video on TED.com

    Not that it was related to belief-persistence or self-confirmation bias but another interesting example of how our brain can "play tricks on our minds"