文章来源:未知 文章作者:enread 发布时间:2017-01-04 06:59 字体: [ ]  进入论坛
Have you ever noticed that when you present people with facts that are contrary to their deepest held beliefs they always change their minds? Me neither. In fact, people seem to double down on their beliefs in the teeth of overwhelming evidence against them. The reason is related to the worldview perceived to be under threat by the conflicting data.
Creationists, for example, dispute the evidence for evolution in fossils and DNA1 because they are concerned about secular2 forces encroaching on religious faith. Anti-vaxxers distrust big pharma and think that money corrupts3 medicine, which leads them to believe that vaccines4 cause autism despite the inconvenient5 truth that the one and only study claiming such a link was retracted6 and its lead author accused of fraud. The 9/11 truthers focus on minutiae7 like the melting point of steel in the World Trade Center buildings that caused their collapse8 because they think the government lies and conducts "false flag" operations to create a New World Order. Climate deniers study tree rings, ice cores and the ppm of greenhouse gases because they are passionate9 about freedom, especially that of markets and industries to operate unencumbered by restrictive government regulations. Obama birthers desperately10 dissected11 the president's long-form birth certificate in search of fraud because they believe that the nation's first African-American president is a socialist12 bent13 on destroying the country.
In these examples, proponents14' deepest held worldviews were perceived to be threatened by skeptics, making facts the enemy to be slayed. This power of belief over evidence is the result of two factors: cognitive15 dissonance and the backfire effect. In the classic 1956 book When Prophecy Fails, psychologist Leon Festinger and his co-authors described what happened to a UFO cult16 when the mother ship failed to arrive at the appointed time. Instead of admitting error, "members of the group sought frantically17 to convince the world of their beliefs," and they made "a series of desperate attempts to erase18 their rankling19 dissonance by making prediction after prediction in the hope that one would come true." Festinger called this cognitive dissonance, or the uncomfortable tension that comes from holding two conflicting thoughts simultaneously20.
Two social psychologists, Carol Tavris and Elliot Aronson (a former student of Festinger), in their 2007 book Mistakes Were Made (But Not by Me) document thousands of experiments demonstrating how people spin-doctor facts to fit preconceived beliefs to reduce dissonance. Their metaphor21 of the "pyramid of choice" places two individuals side by side at the apex22 of the pyramid and shows how quickly they diverge23 and end up at the bottom opposite corners of the base as they each stake out a position to defend.
In a series of experiments by Dartmouth College professor Brendan Nyhan and University of Exeter professor Jason Reifler, the researchers identify a related factor they call the backfire effect "in which corrections actually increase misperceptions among the group in question." Why? "Because it threatens their worldview or self-concept." For example, subjects were given fake newspaper articles that confirmed widespread misconceptions, such as that there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. When subjects were then given a corrective article that WMD were never found, liberals who opposed the war accepted the new article and rejected the old, whereas conservatives who supported the war did the opposite ... and more: they reported being even more convinced there were WMD after the correction, arguing that this only proved that Saddam Hussein hid or destroyed them. In fact, Nyhan and Reifler note, among many conservatives "the belief that Iraq possessed24 WMD immediately before the U.S. invasion persisted long after the Bush administration itself concluded otherwise."
If corrective facts only make matters worse, what can we do to convince people of the error of their beliefs? From my experience, 1. keep emotions out of the exchange, 2. discuss, don't attack (no ad hominem and no ad Hitlerum), 3. listen carefully and try to articulate the other position accurately25, 4. show respect, 5. acknowledge that you understand why someone might hold that opinion, and 6. try to show how changing facts does not necessarily mean changing worldviews. These strategies may not always work to change people's minds, but now that the nation has just been put through a political fact-check wringer, they may help reduce unnecessary divisiveness.


1 DNA 4u3z1l     
(缩)deoxyribonucleic acid 脱氧核糖核酸
  • DNA is stored in the nucleus of a cell.脱氧核糖核酸储存于细胞的细胞核里。
  • Gene mutations are alterations in the DNA code.基因突变是指DNA密码的改变。
2 secular GZmxM     
  • We live in an increasingly secular society.我们生活在一个日益非宗教的社会。
  • Britain is a plural society in which the secular predominates.英国是个世俗主导的多元社会。
3 corrupts 6c2cc2001c0bd7b768f5a17121359b96     
(使)败坏( corrupt的第三人称单数 ); (使)腐化; 引起(计算机文件等的)错误; 破坏
  • The unrighteous penny corrupts the righteous pound. 不正当得来的便士使正当得来的英镑也受到玷污。
  • Blue cinema corrupts the souls of people. 黄色电影腐蚀人们的灵魂。
4 vaccines c9bb57973a82c1e95c7cd0f4988a1ded     
疫苗,痘苗( vaccine的名词复数 )
  • His team are at the forefront of scientific research into vaccines. 他的小组处于疫苗科研的最前沿。
  • The vaccines were kept cool in refrigerators. 疫苗放在冰箱中冷藏。
5 inconvenient m4hy5     
  • You have come at a very inconvenient time.你来得最不适时。
  • Will it be inconvenient for him to attend that meeting?他参加那次会议会不方便吗?
6 retracted Xjdzyr     
v.撤回或撤消( retract的过去式和过去分词 );拒绝执行或遵守;缩回;拉回
  • He made a false confession which he later retracted. 他作了假供词,后来又翻供。
  • A caddy retracted his statement. 一个球童收回了他的话。 来自辞典例句
7 minutiae 1025667a35ae150aa85a3e8aa2e97c18     
n.微小的细节,细枝末节;(常复数)细节,小事( minutia的名词复数 )
  • the minutiae of the contract 合同细节
  • He had memorized the many minutiae of the legal code. 他们讨论旅行的所有细节。 来自《简明英汉词典》
8 collapse aWvyE     
  • The country's economy is on the verge of collapse.国家的经济已到了崩溃的边缘。
  • The engineer made a complete diagnosis of the bridge's collapse.工程师对桥的倒塌做了一次彻底的调查分析。
9 passionate rLDxd     
  • He is said to be the most passionate man.据说他是最有激情的人。
  • He is very passionate about the project.他对那个项目非常热心。
10 desperately cu7znp     
  • He was desperately seeking a way to see her again.他正拼命想办法再见她一面。
  • He longed desperately to be back at home.他非常渴望回家。
11 dissected 462374bfe2039b4cdd8e07c3ee2faa29     
adj.切开的,分割的,(叶子)多裂的v.解剖(动物等)( dissect的过去式和过去分词 );仔细分析或研究
  • Her latest novel was dissected by the critics. 评论家对她最近出版的一部小说作了详细剖析。
  • He dissected the plan afterward to learn why it had failed. 他事后仔细剖析那项计划以便搞清它失败的原因。 来自《简明英汉词典》
12 socialist jwcws     
  • China is a socialist country,and a developing country as well.中国是一个社会主义国家,也是一个发展中国家。
  • His father was an ardent socialist.他父亲是一个热情的社会主义者。
13 bent QQ8yD     
  • He was fully bent upon the project.他一心扑在这项计划上。
  • We bent over backward to help them.我们尽了最大努力帮助他们。
14 proponents 984ded1baa85fedd6467626f41d14aff     
n.(某事业、理论等的)支持者,拥护者( proponent的名词复数 )
  • Reviewing courts were among the most active proponents of hybrid rulemaking procedures. 复审法院是最积极的混合型规则制定程序的建议者。 来自英汉非文学 - 行政法
  • Proponents of such opinions were arrested as 'traitors. ' 提倡这种主张的人马上作为“卖国贼”逮捕起来。 来自辞典例句
15 cognitive Uqwz0     
  • As children grow older,their cognitive processes become sharper.孩子们越长越大,他们的认知过程变得更为敏锐。
  • The cognitive psychologist is like the tinker who wants to know how a clock works.认知心理学者倒很像一个需要通晓钟表如何运转的钟表修理匠。
16 cult 3nPzm     
  • Her books aren't bestsellers,but they have a certain cult following.她的书算不上畅销书,但有一定的崇拜者。
  • The cult of sun worship is probably the most primitive one.太阳崇拜仪式或许是最为原始的一种。
17 frantically ui9xL     
ad.发狂地, 发疯地
  • He dashed frantically across the road. 他疯狂地跑过马路。
  • She bid frantically for the old chair. 她发狂地喊出高价要买那把古老的椅子。
18 erase woMxN     
  • He tried to erase the idea from his mind.他试图从头脑中抹掉这个想法。
  • Please erase my name from the list.请把我的名字从名单上擦去。
19 rankling 8cbfa8b9f5516c093f42c116712f049b     
v.(使)痛苦不已,(使)怨恨不已( rankle的现在分词 )
  • Yet the knowledge imparted to him by the chambermaid was rankling in his mind. 可是女仆告诉他的消息刺痛着他的心。 来自英汉文学 - 嘉莉妹妹
20 simultaneously 4iBz1o     
  • The radar beam can track a number of targets almost simultaneously.雷达波几乎可以同时追着多个目标。
  • The Windows allow a computer user to execute multiple programs simultaneously.Windows允许计算机用户同时运行多个程序。
21 metaphor o78zD     
  • Using metaphor,we say that computers have senses and a memory.打个比方,我们可以说计算机有感觉和记忆力。
  • In poetry the rose is often a metaphor for love.玫瑰在诗中通常作为爱的象征。
22 apex mwrzX     
  • He reached the apex of power in the early 1930s.他在三十年代初达到了权力的顶峰。
  • His election to the presidency was the apex of his career.当选总统是他一生事业的顶峰。
23 diverge FlTzZ     
  • This is where our opinions diverge from each other.这就是我们意见产生分歧之处。
  • Don't diverge in your speech.发言不要离题。
24 possessed xuyyQ     
  • He flew out of the room like a man possessed.他像着了魔似地猛然冲出房门。
  • He behaved like someone possessed.他行为举止像是魔怔了。
25 accurately oJHyf     
  • It is hard to hit the ball accurately.准确地击中球很难。
  • Now scientists can forecast the weather accurately.现在科学家们能准确地预报天气。
TAG标签: People socialist minds