We don’t treat all of our beliefs the same. Some, we give up readily, replacing them when better information comes along to correct our misconceptions. For others, what we consider our cherished beliefs and protected values, when faced with challenging evidence or compelling counterarguments, we resist changing our minds. Sometimes, we not only defend our preconceived notions, we enhance them.
This episode is the first of three shows about something called The Backfire Effect - a well-documented and much-studied psychological phenomenon that you’ve likely encountered quite a bit lately. Simply put, when your deepest convictions are challenged by contradictory evidence, your beliefs tend to get stronger, not weaker.
The research shows that when your strongest beliefs are challenged, yes, you might experience some temporary weakening of your convictions, some softening of your certainty, but most people rebound from that and not only reassert their original belief at its original strength but go beyond that and dig in their heels, deepening their resolve over the long run.
Listen as two neuroscientists at USC’s Brain and Creativity Institute explain how their research sheds new light on how the brain reacts when its deepest beliefs are challenged.
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