And those are just the beginning. Why do arguments change people’s minds in some cases and backfire in others? It is therefore consistent to continue defending it. It’s a question people have puzzled over for millennia, though the past year’s political events have brought it to the fore. Self-affirmation conditioning studies find that if, before you start to try to change somebody's mind, you … Remember, your brain is hiding plenty of truths from you, too. So what does the tribe value? Facts, figures, and data sometimes seem to have no effect. A paper by Babcock and Loewenstein (1997) shows that the best way to "de-bias" someone, to break down someone's wall as you put it, is to have that person work to find flaws in their own case. Here is a list of dozens of cognitive biases, just a sample of the ways your brain protects itself from specific threats to the status quo. Dismissing your own criticism isn't as easy. If you are considering two contradictory ideas, you may feel physical discomfort, anxiety, and other unpleasant symptoms of your fair-minded attempt to consider other points of view. “We wanted to understand what happens in the brain when we resist changing our minds.” The participants were shown a string of statements they were sure to agree with, l… Which means that if you and your friends share the same political party, religion, or related belief, your brain will resist changing those beliefs as if it were a life or death matter, no matter what new information comes in. David McRaney, bestselling author of "You Are Not So Smart" (and host of the blog and podcast by the same name) describes his experiences with people who have done an about-face on some important topic, like … It ought to be easy to change a mind. If you are considering two contradictory ideas, you may feel physical discomfort, anxiety, and other unpleasant symptoms of your fair-minded attempt to consider other points of view. Dreams have been described as dress rehearsals for real life, opportunities to gratify wishes, and a form of nocturnal therapy. You argue the facts, as thoughtfully and non-confrontationally as you can, but the facts don't seem to get you anywhere. Why Is It So Hard to Change Someone’s Mind? Cultural Cognition is the theory that we shape our opinions to conform to the views of the groups with which we most strongly identify. This is why the brain reads ostracization, or social rejection, as physical pain. Pinterest. In fact, you’re more likely to double down in support of the shared belief when presented with challenging new information. Groupthink, not critical thinking, was the key to evolutionary success. For example, you may think that a clear sky is blue. Myths and misperceptions surrounding veganism make changing someone’s mind about eating meat tougher than a well-done steak. Both areas suggest that we cling to our views because the walls of our opinions are like battlements that keep the good guys inside (us) safe from the enemy without (all those dopes with different opinions than ours). (Like the lithmus test some conservative Republicans have proposed that candidates must pass, making sure their views conform to conservative doctrine before those candidates get party support.). Kolbert’s popular article makes a good case for the idea that if you want to change someone’s mind about something, facts may not help you. Only later, when things are calm, are most people comfortable confronting their cognitive dissonance. “The response in the brain that we see is very similar to what would happen if, say, you were walking through the forest and came across a bear,” explains Sarah Gimbel. For example, you may need to let go of your belief that facts can actually change people’s minds if you want to get anywhere when you’re having a dialogue with them. About a year ago, political science professors Brendan Nyhan from the University of Michigan and Jason Reifler from Georgia State drew on psychological research to see if improving someone’s image of himself could make him more open to changing his mind. Pioneering psychological research points to a better way of inciting change. Finally, most importantly, give yourself time and space to change your mind. Get the help you need from a therapist near you–a FREE service from Psychology Today. Changing someone's mind is difficult, and one argument alone won't usually do the trick. There actually is weak to basically no medical evidence a foreskin kills anyone. Two separate groups of Republicans were shown statistics about the dramatic reduction of violence in Iraq following the "surge" in American troops. A new study looks at participants’ brain activity as they compare their own opinions to others’ to find out why it can be so very difficult to change someone’s mind. Reading about it makes you feel bad. And I admit, I am in one of those polarized camps. Small wonder then that we fight so hard to keep those walls strong and tall. They are ones and zeroes to your mental computer, raw blank data that only take on meaning when run through the software of your feelings. How to find compromise among people, how to prevent making people enemies and stand together? Why it can be difficult to change one's mind... when difference in opinion is deadly for both groups, The Deep Fear That Trumps All Others, Including COVID-19, Dangerous Damage to Trust from the Politicization of COVID, How Self-Affirmations Could Help Improve Hygiene. Instead of, “My heuristics are not applicable in this environment,” your brain will tell you, “Costa Rica has terrible service.” If you decide to never go back to Costa Rica, you’ll never have to change your mind. It can be done, and we’ll cover that in a future blog. In the meantime, there’s plenty of advice backed up with scientific evidence available online. Why is it so Hard to Change Someone’s Mind? Opening your mind is necessary to explore opinions. It appears that the less threatened we feel, the more flexible our opinions are likely to be. BS Features News Science. Even when those folks were absolutely correct, they were often the ones voted off the island. The sky looks blue, because air molecules scatter light in a way that our eyes process as blue. Well, that's hopeful but naïve, and ignores a vast amount of social science evidence that has shown that facts, by themselves, are meaningless. It is imperative that we open our … Probably not. But really, the sky is black, because you are staring out into the endless void of space. Humans aren’t designed to thrive on our own in the wilderness. But, the evidence from Europe dismisses their arguments. "The key is to trick the mind by giving it an excuse. In psychology jargon, it’s called heuristics, the mental shortcuts your brain creates to save you time and energy as you go about your day. Wouldn’t seeing things clearly help people survive? The good news is, when you minimize motivated reasoning, you develop a better critical thinking skillset, and you will … The self-affirmation research seems to support this. In the real world, new information doesn’t change many minds. Any mind. Cognitive biases often get in the way of assessing new beliefs. Shares . And it takes no great leap in logic to see how any perceived in-group/out-group friction would serve to put one on guard - people are very choosy when it comes to accepting criticism. The main challenge of this is that it is so hard to change someone’s mind once they are set in their ways, primarily if they are raised to believe a certain way. Self-affirmation conditioning studies find that if, before you start to try to change somebody's mind, you first ask them to remember something that gave them a positive view of themselves, they're more likely to be open to facts and to change their opinions. The wall of the other person's opinion doesn't move. Your brain reads that data as if the entire tribe were under attack. Facebook. Happily, most of the incorrect beliefs we cling to are fairly benign, otherwise the tribe would have already corrected itself. Critical thinking may be acceptable in some contexts, say, building a better spear. That kind of commitment to cohesiveness is what allows your team to organize quickly and effectively, for hunting, gathering, war, or almost any other endeavor. Because our beliefs are foundational to reality itself. Every time I listen to the news there is reference to how polarized our country has become. The problem is that they only work in familiar environments. Myths and misperceptions surrounding veganism make changing someone’s mind about eating meat tougher than a well-done steak. our party is in power). So I called up a few experts, and also took an informal poll of friends to see if other minds out there were a-changing and if so, how and why. “Your brain would have this automatic fight-or-flight [response]…and your body prepares to protect itself.” Interestingly, having the person work to find strengths in her opponent's case only serves to *strengthen* the prior bias or argument. Posted Nov 07, 2017 An Atheist Neuroscientist Finds Faith in Bipolar Mania, 10 Tips for Turning Procrastination into Precrastination, Why Some People Don’t Seek Mental Health Services. (That's far more simplistic than any academic would ever put it!) You’re less likely to change your mind if you have a low sense of self-worth. This is where the power of story can be useful. What’s common sense in New York City could get you in trouble in Costa Rica. But are there exceptions? The main problem with changing someone’s mind these days is because so many lines have been drawn between politics, COVID 19 response, environmental impact, social justice, and school re-openings, just to name a few. I learn that both sides standing their ground, without any change to change their opinion. Why, when aware that there is a resounding issue and aware that there are solutions or a better perspective on the problem, is it so difficult to change one’s mind? And force them to listen and tall members in good standing try to remember something like that about.. Were often the ones voted off the island low sense of self-worth it ’ common... Pro spin people including AAP and CDC even with yourself when our group 's views prevail, and dozens... 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