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Being wrong is an unavoidable aspect of the human condition. Defining what constitutes “wrong,” however, can get messy. People can be wrong about any multitude of things, from misremembering the name of a ’90s pop song to incorrectly casting blame onto a friend during a heated argument. Mistakes happen on scales big and small, topics tangible and moral or ethical.
Being wrong can be defined as a deviation from external reality, or an internal upheaval in what we believe, with the caveat that wrongness is too vast to fit neatly into either category.
Cognitive dissonance: When two beliefs or behaviours conflict or when a person’s actions contradict their beliefs. This conflict usually results in anxiety or feelings of uncertainty.
The motivation to reduce the dissonance leads us to double down on our beliefs and come back to those beliefs stronger.
When we err, we risk social ostracism or embarrassment.
Admitting that you’re wrong actually improves our reputation.
By owning up to our errors, others see us as friendlier and more agreeable.
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