First We Form Beliefs, Then We Look For Evidence - Deepstash

First We Form Beliefs, Then We Look For Evidence

It has long been known among those familiar with social cognitive science that people are more rationalizing than rational. For example, it has been argued that people initially believe their own subjective experiences as an accurate reflection of reality, and will only discount or question these beliefs through effortful cognitive processing.

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“An idea is something that won’t work unless you do.” - Thomas A. Edison

As a 'belief engine', the brain is always seeking to find meaning in the information that pours into it. Once it has constructed a belief, it rationalizes it with explanations, almost always after the event. The brain thus becomes invested in the beliefs, and reinforces them by looking for supporting evidence while blinding itself to anything contrary. Michael Shermer describes this process as “belief-dependent realism” — what we believe determines our reality, not the other way around.

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