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Sun Aug 3, 2014, 03:40 PM

The psychology of changing political viewpoints

http://www.wired.co.uk/news/archive/2013-10/04/changing-political-beliefs

When Iain Duncan Smith visited Glasgow's Easterhouse Estate in 2002, it was easy to be cynical about motives. But the event has gone down in parliamentary folklore as the 'Easterhouse Epiphany' -- a day that completely changed the MP for Chingford and Woodford Green's outlook on welfare and social mobility. He subsequently founded the Centre for Social Justice, and according to the man who showed him round, was in regular touch long after he was deposed as Tory leader. Four years later, talking to The Guardian about his experience, he concluded by stating that some of his findings "may turn out to be unacceptable" to his political colleagues.

For anyone who has ever seen shows such as The Secret Millionaire, where wannabe rich philanthropists are brought out of their comfort zone, this might be unsurprising -- it becomes harder to maintain your worldview when you fully throw yourself into a foreign culture (as Mark Twain once wrote, "travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts".

"Politicians, like any other social group that is in a rarefied or tightly knit, small community will frequently suffer from psychological 'groupthink'"

So how hard is it to change people's fundamental political beliefs? Very difficult indeed, according to Dr Roger Kingerlee, a chartered psychologist: "Many interacting factors are involved, including biology and neurology, cultural conditioning, motivation, personality and temperament." In short, there's a lot at play in any given individual, and most are pretty resistant. "Or, as some put it, 'minds don't want to change'," states Kingerlee.

The research seems to back this up in quite depressing ways. Take, for example, the 2010 paper 'When Corrections Fail: The persistence of political misperceptions', which found that when challenged with facts debunking various points of view, the more partisan subjects would become even more sure of their original beliefs. A 2012 study from The University of Western Australia went a step further, suggesting that fully debunked myths (such as Obama being born outside the USA or the spurious link between MMR and autism) are maintained in the mind, because it's cognitively simpler not to challenge existing understandings. Frustratingly, the paper suggests that even mentioning the debunked information while correcting it with the truth is enough to reinforce the original lie, which calls into question exactly how worthwhile newspaper corrections are. Completing the ignorance hat-trick, another study suggests that the less people know about a policy, the more extreme their opinions on it tend to be.


more at link above

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Reply The psychology of changing political viewpoints (Original post)
steve2470 Aug 2014 OP
PATRICK Aug 2014 #1
1StrongBlackMan Aug 2014 #2
ZombieHorde Aug 2014 #3
steve2470 Aug 2014 #4
ZombieHorde Aug 2014 #5
Uncle Joe Aug 2014 #6

Response to steve2470 (Original post)

Mon Aug 4, 2014, 07:59 AM

1. Thought related to emotions

rather than factual data, objective standards. So if your emotional life obtained directly from your immediate physical experience creates you and your "universe" the smaller and more pathetic any form of judgment or "world view" or faith or certitude becomes. At least breaking these boundaries destroys this blanket illusion. The fearful mind could counter that with hate and even more arrogance. And so pass more judgment on themselves as they do to others.

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Response to steve2470 (Original post)

Mon Aug 4, 2014, 08:18 AM

2. Posted to for later reading. eom.

 

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Response to steve2470 (Original post)

Tue Aug 5, 2014, 01:30 PM

3. Kick. nt

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Response to ZombieHorde (Reply #3)

Tue Aug 5, 2014, 01:35 PM

4. thanks, I think this article is especially relevant to DU nt

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Response to steve2470 (Original post)

Thu Aug 7, 2014, 02:00 PM

5. Another kick. nt

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Response to steve2470 (Original post)

Thu Aug 7, 2014, 07:04 PM

6. Kicked and recommended.

Thanks for the thread, steve.

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