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The Backfire Effect: The Psychology of Why We Have a Hard Time Changing Our Minds, by Brain Pickings

Stashed in: Influence!, Practice, Change, Awesome, Your argument is invalid., Echo Chambers!, Psychology, @brainpicker, Most Important Stash Ever, Benjamin Franklin, Science Studies, Cognitive Bias

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How the disconnect between information and insight explains our dangerous self-righteousness.

yay imperfection

If we know we are imperfect we are more willing to consider change. 

And then there are those of us who EMBRACE change as a way of life, who embrace a Growth Mindset and routinely apply the principles of Deliberate Practice.  I can post more about these later.

The key in life is knowing WHAT to change. Can't change everything. 

On the backfire effect:

On the internet, a giant filter bubble of our existing beliefs, this can run even more rampant — we see such horrible strains of misinformation as climate change denial and antivaccination activism gather momentum by selectively seeking out “evidence” while dismissing the fact that every reputable scientist in the world disagrees with such beliefs. (In fact, the epidemic of misinformation has reached such height that we’re now facing a resurgence of once-eradicated diseases.)

McRaney points out that, despite Daniel Dennett’s rules for criticizing intelligently and arguing with kindness, this makes it nearly impossible to win an argument online:

When you start to pull out facts and figures, hyperlinks and quotes, you are actually making the opponent feel even surer of his position than before you started the debate. As he matches your fervor, the same thing happens in your skull. The backfire effect pushes both of you deeper into your original beliefs.

This also explains why Benjamin Franklin’s strategy for handling haters, which McRaney also explores in the book, is particularly effective, and reminds us that this fantastic 1866 guide to the art of conversation still holds true in its counsel:“In disputes upon moral or scientific points, ever let your aim be to come at truth, not to conquer your opponent. So you never shall be at a loss in losing the argument, and gaining a new discovery.”

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