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Author Topic:   Facts are Overrated
Posts: 19581
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004
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Message 61 of 61 (826187)
12-24-2017 11:22 AM
Reply to: Message 60 by Phat
12-24-2017 3:19 AM

World-view, cognitive dissonance and belief
In reality, we often base our opinions on our beliefs, which can have an uneasy relationship with facts. And rather than facts driving beliefs, our beliefs can dictate the facts we chose to accept. They can cause us to twist facts so they fit better with our preconceived notions. Worst of all, they can lead us to uncritically accept bad information just because it reinforces our beliefs. This reinforcement makes us more confident we’re right, and even less likely to listen to any new information.

I would say that our opinions are based on our personal world-views:

wiki:A world view[1] or worldview is the fundamental cognitive orientation of an individual or society encompassing the whole of the individual's or society's knowledge and point of view. A world view can include natural philosophy; fundamental, existential, and normative postulates; or themes, values, emotions, and ethics. ...

Worldviews are often taken to operate at a conscious level, directly accessible to articulation and discussion, as opposed to existing at a deeper, pre-conscious level, such as the idea of "ground" in Gestalt psychology and media analysis. However, core worldview beliefs are often deeply rooted, and so are only rarely reflected on by individuals, and are brought to the surface only in moments of crises of faith.

As we grow and learn and experience things we add to and alter our personal worldviews. New aspects that are consistent with your then current worldview are easily incorporated, those that cause a mild revision are reviewed and then adjustments are made. Those that cause significant alteration, especially to unconscious core beliefs, are resisted and result in cognitive dissonance until they are resolved.

wiki:In A Theory of Cognitive Dissonance (1957), Leon Festinger proposed that human beings strive for internal psychological consistency in order to mentally function in the real world. A person who experiences internal inconsistency tends to become psychologically uncomfortable and is motivated to reduce the cognitive dissonance. This is done by changing parts of the cognition to justify the stressful behavior, by adding new parts to the cognition that causes the psychological dissonance, or by actively avoiding social situations and contradictory information that are likely to increase the magnitude of the cognitive dissonance.[1]

Cognitive dissonance theory proposes that people seek psychological consistency between their personal expectations of life and the existential reality of life. To function by that expectation of existential consistency, people practice the process of dissonance reduction in order to continually align their cognitions (perceptions of the world) with their actions in the real world.

The creation and establishment of psychological consistency allows the person afflicted with cognitive dissonance to lessen his or her mental stress by actions that reduce the magnitude of the dissonance, realised either by changing with, or by justifying against, or by being indifferent to the existential contradiction that is inducing the mental stress.[1] In practice, people reduce the magnitude of their cognitive dissonance in four ways:

  1. Change the behavior or the cognition ("I'll eat no more of this doughnut.")
  2. Justify the behavior or the cognition, by changing the conflicting cognition ("I'm allowed to cheat my diet every once in a while.")
  3. Justify the behavior or the cognition by adding new cognitions ("I'll spend thirty extra minutes at the gymnasium to work off the doughnut.")
  4. Ignore or deny information that conflicts with existing beliefs ("This doughnut is not a high-sugar food.")

That a consistent psychology is required for functioning in the real world also was indicated in the results of The Psychology of Prejudice (2006), wherein people facilitate their functioning in the real world by employing human categories (i.e. sex and gender, age and race, etc.) with which they manage their social interactions with other people. The employment of human categories is integral to a functional scheme of stereotypes (social attitudes) about each category of person, such as generalized prejudices, negative beliefs, ideals, and values about the category of person who is causing the cognitive dissonance.[4]

Now I tend to consider this combo to be like a cell, an egg or a bubble, with the safe world-view inside and the barrier to new information, with cognitive dissonance as the protective membrane or shell, allowing new information through that is beneficial or stimulating, but rejecting information that is perceived as toxic.

In this regard, facts may be accepted, tolerated, or rejected depending on how they relate to your world-view, which also includes how you value facts.

We can also consider shells within shells, so that the outermost shell is the most tolerant of new information and the innermost shell is the least tolerant of new information. Thus the degree of cognitive dissonance is related to how deep the new information needs to penetrate into the world-view.


Edited by RAZD, : .

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This message is a reply to:
 Message 60 by Phat, posted 12-24-2017 3:19 AM Phat has acknowledged this reply

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