They could say or do things that may be offensive without even realizing it to be so. Thanks. Critical thinking may be acceptable in some contexts, say, building a better spear. Not really. Your brain reads that data as if the entire tribe were under attack. And try to remember something like that about yourself. 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. If your skinny friend advised you to go with the lower calorie, cold-pressed juices instead, and you stood up for the smoothie, you’ve publicly declared your position. Changing your mind in life is a must, but do it for the right reasons. Interestingly, having the person work to find strengths in her opponent's case only serves to *strengthen* the prior bias or argument. February 10, 2020. 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. This Is How To Change Someone’s Mind: 6 Secrets From Research *** Before we commence with the festivities, I wanted to thank everyone for helping my first book become a Wall Street Journal bestseller.To check it out, click here.. One group was asked to do a self-affirmation activity (they were asked to remember a time when they felt good about themselves by living up to a moral value they held). So better it is, to either change your mind or change yourself. This is where the power of story can be useful. Small wonder then that we fight so hard to keep those walls strong and tall. It’s a question people have puzzled over for millennia, though the past year’s political events have brought it to the fore. And, perhaps, changing their minds. One study, in press, was done back in 2008 and asked people about withdrawing troops from Iraq. But are there exceptions? It still may not happen. “Your brain would have this automatic fight-or-flight [response]…and your body prepares to protect itself.” Its rather bizarre, the only western country to circumcise boys, finds it normal and cosmetically pleasing. Judging from discussions on the Web, many people wrongly think that you can change other people's minds is by insulting them, preferably in ALL CAPS.Needless to say, this never works. Wouldn’t seeing things clearly help people survive? Instead of pushing them hard, share with them what prompted you to make the switch. Why Our Fears Don't Match the Facts. I saw interesting movies crafted well . Instead of pushing them hard, share with them what it was that prompted you to make the switch. (That's far more simplistic than any academic would ever put it!) Ask them to tell you about some wonderful thing they did, or success they had, or positive feedback they got for something. They don't seem to WANT it to move. To your subconscious, ostracization isn’t just about missing prom. Lot's of brain wash is done by our government on a huge scale: subliminal messages, emotional pictures of coughing babies, variety of laid back moms conversation that show their thoughtfulness. Instead of focusing on an overwhelming canon of information, find stories from real people who are exploring healthy lifestyles and who share your tastes (and maybe fears of green juices), and struggle—just like you—with finding healthy meal replacements that actually taste delicious, too. The fact that there are so many names indicates a lack of agreement which allows for confusion and distortion (especially by those using it covertly for their own benefit!! In Costa Rica, this is seen as rude, and makes people defensive and irritable. If you’ve publicly stated your support for a belief—and who hasn’t, in these halcyon days of oversharing on social media—changing your mind becomes even more difficult. our party is in power). There actually is weak to basically no medical evidence a foreskin kills anyone. Get the best, logical and valid information. Most of us like to think that a person who is sensitive to racial issues—who believes firmly that all races should be treated equally—is a person who is not under the sway of racism. Your brain wants to protect you from changing your mind, and has dozens of different strategies for doing so. Don’t be confrontational, even with yourself. Changing someone's mind is difficult, and one argument alone won't usually do the trick. 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. A lot. Pioneering psychological research points to a better way of inciting change. Sometimes (say, during a political discussion on Facebook), you might feel like you’re screaming into the endless void of space. Interesting clues come from two areas of study...self-affirmation, and Cultural Cognition. Okay, but why do we cling to our views so tenaciously after they are formed? Originally Answered: Why is it so hard to change our minds when given information that contradicts our beliefs? So what does the tribe value? Last month, The New Yorker published an article called ‘Why facts don’t change our minds’, in which the author, Elizabeth Kolbert, reviews some research showing that even ‘reasonable-seeming people are often totally irrational’. 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. At some point, you have to decide. Shares . Because our beliefs are foundational to reality itself. 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. The group that had not done the self-affirmation remained adamant that the troops should stay. So the Cultural Cognition motivation to conform our opinions to those of the groups/tribes with which we identify is powerful. 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. Remember, your brain is hiding plenty of truths from you, too. Why is it so hard to convince others to change their minds? Only later, when things are calm, are most people comfortable confronting their cognitive dissonance. If we want to understand why it’s so hard to change people’s minds we need to recognize what’s happening in ourselves as well as in them. 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. Cultural Cognition is the theory that we shape our opinions to conform to the views of the groups with which we most strongly identify. It can be done, and we’ll cover that in a future blog. When presented with new information, the brain immediately ramps up its defenses and gets ready to argue. Shouldn't a cognitive mind be open to evidence...to the facts...to reason? “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. You’re less likely to change your mind if you have a low sense of self-worth. It creates solidarity in the group, which increases the chances that our group's views will prevail in society (e.g. Get the help you need from a therapist near you–a FREE service from Psychology Today. It really helped to increase my understanding, and the advice was so useful and easily implemented. It ought to be easy to change a mind. Myths and misperceptions surrounding veganism make changing someone’s mind about eating meat tougher than a well-done steak. Share. In this column, we will look at how values, beliefs, and opinions are formed and how difficult for them to be changed. And I admit, I am in one of those polarized camps. In a small, rural community, social rejection could seriously undermine your options for work, recreation, and romantic options in the long term. 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’s an existential threat, and one that causes profound suffering. What's going on there? The short version, however, is this: Give yourself—or the object of your attention—all the relevant information. Later, however, when new information comes in, you would quite logically re-evaluate that opinion, and change it accordingly. Common sense is another tool your brain uses to keep you in line. In a city of several million, you’ll be able to find another tribe—eventually. The other group was just shown the violence statistics, with no self-affirmation. Even when those folks were absolutely correct, they were often the ones voted off the island. That is, we are more likely to seek people and information that appear to agree with our own beliefs. In the wake of so many recent tragedies involving racial discrimination, Americans are taking a hard look at this systemic and divisive issue in our culture, and asking what can be done to change it. Well, that's hopeful but naïve, and ignores a vast amount of social science evidence that has shown that facts, by themselves, are meaningless. But you don't need academic semantics to know that trying to get somebody to see things your way is tough if they go into the argument with another point of view. Any mind. Then you might actually have a conversation, instead of the argument you're headed for instead. 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. There’s no need to repeatedly point out the calorie count. This is why the brain reads ostracization, or social rejection, as physical pain. We Have Neanderthals to Thank for These Genetic Traits, Why the Internet Broke for Bernie Sanders' Mittens, When White Privilege Becomes White Silence, Psychology Today © 2021 Sussex Publishers, LLC, An Attitude of Gratitude: Why Saying "I Am Grateful" Matters, AI Gains Social Intelligence; Infers Goals and Failed Plans, How Visualizing "Hoped-for Future Selves" May Affect Destiny. ReddIt. And those are just the beginning. Why Is It So Hard to Change Minds? Dismissing your own criticism isn't as easy. Your brain wants to protect you from changing your mind, and has dozens of different strategies for doing so. 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. Why First Impressions Are Difficult to Change: Study. As you suggest, I suspect a (the?) The good news is, when you minimize motivated reasoning, you develop a better critical thinking skillset, and you will … Facebook. The tribe wants loyalty, predictability, and consistency. So the next time you want to have a truly open-minded conversation on a contentious topic with someone who disagrees with you, don't launch right into the facts. Hint: It’s not thinking outside the box. An Atheist Neuroscientist Finds Faith in Bipolar Mania, 10 Tips for Turning Procrastination into Precrastination, Why Some People Don’t Seek Mental Health Services. 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? But your brain loves common sense, and will interpret the reaction to your brash behavior incorrectly. Tumblr. So, if you want to change someone’s mind, paying attention to language, both your own and that of the person you’re communicating with, could also help you shift things in your direction. Reading about it makes you feel bad. Do it when you are learning, do it when it does not feel right and do it when what you are doing is not working. This post is the first in a series of three. Challenging traditions, religions, or leaders has always carried with it an enormous risk of ostracization. But why? Strengthening the group, helping it win dominance, and having the group accept us, matters. But really, the sky is black, because you are staring out into the endless void of space. 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. (But consider the historical resistance to new technologies and techniques, such as washing your hands before surgery.). Groupthink, not critical thinking, was the key to evolutionary success. all kinds of questions that I would love to learn here. Probably not. As it is constantly doing, one mind at a time. A new theory aims to make sense of it all. Let people save face. It’s based on available knowledge. Whether or not we like to admit it, each and every one of us is liable to exhibit confirmation bias. I learn that both sides standing their ground, without any change to change their opinion. Finally, most importantly, give yourself time and space to change your mind. If you are outlining to change someone’s perception, belief or opinion about a specific matter, then better garner every possible information about it. The question takes on even more urgency when you believe someone else’s views betray something inherently rotten about their character—or when someone else believes the same about yours. How and in what ways, the mindsets can be altered? Then both groups were asked whether the dramatic reduction in violence in Iraq was a reason to withdraw U.S. troops. The problem is that they only work in familiar environments. Yes, social change and changing a mind more emotional and defensive than based on evidence. Here is what I am coming to… 1. Why do arguments change people’s minds in some cases and backfire in others? Happily, most of the incorrect beliefs we cling to are fairly benign, otherwise the tribe would have already corrected itself. Part of your discomfort may be the sunk-cost bias, the fact that you’ve been enjoying something that was branded as healthy and made you feel virtuous. Self-affirmation conditioning studies find that if, before you start to try to change somebody's mind, you … In the real world, new information doesn’t change many minds. Instead, "give the mind an out," suggests Varol. Two separate groups of Republicans were shown statistics about the dramatic reduction of violence in Iraq following the "surge" in American troops. Your brain will do almost anything to avoid it. Why the heck is it so hard to admit we’re wrong? Hugo Mercier explains how arguments are more convincing when they rest on a good knowledge of the audience, taking into account what the audience believes, who they trust, and what they value. For example, you may think that a clear sky is blue. Most Republicans at the time thought the troops should stay. Not coincidentally, those are the beliefs we are most resistant to changing. Copyright Chainsaw Communications 2016-2020, If You Want a More Attentive Audience, Flip the Focus, An Oratorical Masterpiece: The Gettysburg Address, A Very British Lesson in Organizational Change, Cambridge Analytica: Ninjas of Neuromarketing (Part II), Cambridge Analytica: Ninjas of Neuromarketing (Part I). How Risky Is It, Really? Of course, convincing someone to look for flaws in their own case may not be so easy. This subject is utterly fascinating, so I'd love to see more on this from you. For this blog, the camp I am in is not the point, how to reach across the divide is. Opening your mind is necessary to explore opinions. If your friend is consuming a day and half worth of calories in a smoothie, focus on the fact that they are trying to cut out the fried foods and focus on a healthier lifestyle. 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. And no matter where you live, your brain evolved to work with relatively small groups of 150 people or less. 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 … By Rick Nauert Ph.D. 19 January 2011. There are a lot of psychological terms for the fact that people don't like to change their minds; "motivated reasoning", "confirmation bias", "cognitive dissonance". Then along come to pro spin people including AAP and CDC. Maybe even foolish. 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. Denise Cummins, a cognitive scientist with a PhD, told me that there are certain types of opinions that are very hard to change, and with good reason–they’re central to our identities and the way we morally order the world. Dreams have been described as dress rehearsals for real life, opportunities to gratify wishes, and a form of nocturnal therapy. At least your own mind, right? It is imperative that we open our … So be patient. Why is it so Hard to Change Someone’s Mind? This more subtle approach is more likely to actually change the person’s mind." The sky looks blue, because air molecules scatter light in a way that our eyes process as blue. “We didn’t set out to understand partisan stubbornness per se,” Kaplan said. (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.). You have an opinion, which you like to think of as a fact. For example, there’s cognitive dissonance . Upending one of … main reason lies within ones values. For most of the past six million years, being ostracized was a death sentence. Pinterest. We depend on our groups, our tribes, literally for our survival. 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. The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly. Yet for forty years the facts are there and only very recently has there been any change. The Republicans who did the self-affirmation activity, the folks who were primed to feel good about themselves, were more likely to change their minds and say that the reduction in violence in Iraq was a reason to begin pulling out of Iraq. )Let's agree that mind control comes under the umbrella of persuasion and influ… Why do people so tenaciously stick to the views they've already formed? BS Features News Science. (part 1 of 3) Posted by timothygoodwin May 14, 2020 June 16, 2020 Posted in Educator Tags: Capra, cognition, Education, Learning, learning theory, Luisi, systems, Systems theory, Systems view of life, teaching, theory. Cognitive biases often get in the way of assessing new beliefs. “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… The truth about lies... Why is it so hard to change someones mind, even when you have a flood of facts? Small wonder then that we fight so hard to keep those walls strong and tall. You're probably already aware that it's hard to change someone's mind with logical arguments and evidence, especially about emotionally charged topics. This is the third in a series of three. An entrenched idea is hard to change but not impossible. Wouldn’t it make sense, in the context of evolution, for humans to embrace change as new information comes in? Humans are social animals. Facts, figures, and data sometimes seem to have no effect. Humans are social animals, and we are hard-wired to survive by working together harmoniously with our tribe. 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. Here is a company that just figured out a better way to do tax season with their accountants … but can’t change their practice? If you're plant-based yourself, you can probably think about one or two loved ones who you would love to see give up meat for their health. 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. ! Why Is It So Hard to Change Someone’s Mind? The psychology of risk perception referred to above is described in detail in David Ropeik's new book, How Risky Is It, Really? As those values become internalized they become essentially "emotional" rather than "logical", automatic rather than reasoned. Alice Kitchel Insights January 7, 2019. Quite literally, our views and opinions may help protect us, keep us safe, literally help us survive. 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. You argue the facts, as thoughtfully and non-confrontationally as you can, but the facts don't seem to get you anywhere. Reality is a metaphysical concept and construct of mind which is also metaphysical in nature. People with contrary opinions were a danger to the system, the tribe, and the children. If you could only tie that special someone to a chair and force them to listen. 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. 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. In fact, you’re more likely to double down in support of the shared belief when presented with challenging new information. The question of the study was this: What happens in the brain in the moment when we’re confronted with an argument that runs counter to our partisan identities? 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). For example, there’s cognitive dissonance. "The key is to trick the mind by giving it an excuse. Outstanding post. Myths and misperceptions surrounding veganism make changing someone’s mind about eating meat tougher than a well-done steak. 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. But, the evidence from Europe dismisses their arguments. Why Our Fears Don't Match the Facts. People who feel good about themselves are more likely to be open-minded! It would be hard to change someone’s perspective because people also have a strong drive to hold on to pre-existing beliefs. Twitter. Are you going to change your mind about the smoothie, or not? The self-affirmation research seems to support this. That does two things. In the modern world, if you become an atheist, openly homosexual, or support a political candidate unpopular with your crew, you may still find yourself ostracized. In New York City, for example, you’re expected to stand up for yourself and speak your mind—that’s how things get done. When our group's views prevail, and our group accepts us, our survival chances go up. And it would be consistent with that interpretation that the more threatened we feel, by economic uncertainty, or threats of terrorism, or environmental doom and gloom, the more we circle the wagons of our opinions to keep the tribe together and keep ourselves safe...and the more fierce grow the inflexible "Culture War" polarities that impede compromise and progress. To answer it, Kaplan and colleagues — including neuroscientist and author Sam Harris — set up an experiment. I wish to know how to go about it, as even making the other party understand the danger of their decision for children and for themselves, bounce back with identical arguments.
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