Unable To Change Minds - Deepstash
Unable To Change Minds

Unable To Change Minds

Most of the people we encounter refuse to change their minds during a discussion or debate, even when provided with hard facts that contradict their stand. As most of us have learnt the hard way in the last few years, it is extremely difficult to persuade anyone with strong beliefs or ideologies.

It is human nature due to ‘motivated reasoning’, which leads to many kinds of biases, as the reasoning process of our mind is akin to a lawyer defending a client.

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As most of us have preexisting mental models, it is hard to change one’s mind and completely eliminate the various cognitive biases.

  1. Start with an open mind about people who disagree with you.
  2. Question your own assumptions and beliefs, aiming to understand the big picture and taking a holistic view.
  3. Be critical of sources that support your own belief.
  4. Come into the other person’s shoes and see things from their point of view, deeply and sincerely.
  5. Even if people understand your point of view, they may still stick with theirs due to their status, appearance or position.
  6. If you encounter new information, try to be curious and intrigued instead of defensive.

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  • Facts do not change minds is a hard concept for logical people like us to grasp, but it has been long known that human beings are emotional creatures and are not as logical as we assume.
  • We readily accept new information without scrutiny or critical analysis which is in agreement with our existing set of beliefs and assumptions.
  • Intelligence is mostly applied in a one-sided and biased manner, serving our own beliefs and preconceptions.
  • Most of us even prefer to believe in what we have already invested, as it is easier, more comfortable and strengthens our ego and identity.

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The backfire effect

Is a cognitive bias and it means that showing people evidence which proves that they are wrong is often ineffective, and can actually end up backfiring, by causing them to support their original stance more strongly than they previously did.

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Soldier Mindset vs Scout Mindset
  • "Soldier Mindset" or "motivated reasoning." It's this phenomenon in which our unconscious motivations, our desires, and fears, shape the way we interpret information. Some information, some ideas, feel like our allies. We want to wind and defend them. Other information or ideas are the enemies.
  • "Scout Mindset." It's the drive not to make one idea win or another lose, but just to see what's really there as honestly and accurately as you can, even if it's not convenient or pleasant. 

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Power of belief over evidence
It's the result of two factors: 
  • cognitive dissonance: the uncomfortable tension that comes from holding two conflicting thoughts simultaneously.
  •  the backfire effect: when corrections actually increase misperceptions among the group in question.

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