The role of identity in denial - Deepstash
The role of identity in denial

The role of identity in denial

Some psychologists state that the denial of facts is frequently based on identity and belonging, not on ignorance and. If this is the case, changing minds would require more than proper reasoning.

The persons that denies scientific facts is most likely trying to confirm and defend their membership in something that they find meaningful. And once a group adopts an idea into its collective viewpoint, rejecting that idea becomes the equivalent to rejecting the entire community.

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This refers to the negative feelings that people experience when they feel their freedom is threatened in some way (for example, the government stating that they can’t shop, travel, or meet in large gathering as normal.)

If people find a belief or idea to be alarming, and even scary, that fear is a powerful motivator of denial.

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It states that people have 3 main psychological needs that support their motivation to engage in any behavior.

  1. The need for autonomy, or the belief that an action came from the self.
  2. The need for competence. Its important for someone to just believe that they and able to achieve their goals.
  3. The need for relatedness: a sense of belonging and the need of being useful, of people valuing your input.

The social groups that people identify with tend to satisfy all these basic psychological needs

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Denial refers to the rejection or diminution of a phenomenon that has a large and even overwhelming body of supporting evidence.

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Cognitive dissonance is a negative, tensed emotional state that is caused by holding beliefs or behaviors that are inconsistent with one another.

Because cognitive dissonance brings discomfort, we try to escape it. There are 2 options to get rid of it: to change a behavior or to change a belief. Most people choose the second option.

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  • Changing a behavior is in most cases hard because most behaviors are rewarding.
  • Changing a belief is often easierand that’s why some elements of denial appear: this could mean trivializing the source of the dissonance, adding a new belief or element that supports your choice.

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RELATED IDEAS

Living in the age o doubt

We live in a time when all scientific knowledge (the safety of fluoride, vaccines, climate change, moon landing, etc.) faces coordinated and vehement resistance.

The access to all sorts of information sources and their own interpretations of what they research made doubters to oppose consensus of experts.

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Some of the greatest achievements have relied on creativity, imagination, curiosity, and empathy, not just IQ. 

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Identity and our values

Identity is mainly concerned with the question: “Who am I?” What does it mean to be who I am?

Identity relates to the values that guide the choices we make (relationships, career, etc.). These choices reflect who we are and what we value.

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