The effect of reverse action: why do we persist in their errors

The effect of reverse action: why do we persist in their errors

We are accustomed to consider themselves not biased and I think that is ready to accept new information regardless of whether they contradict our worldview. But the paradox is that when new facts contradict our most cherished beliefs, the belief in them is only strengthened. In psychology this phenomenon is called reverse effect of the action. Journalist David Makran examines the phenomenon on the example of the research and explains why we selectively perceive the truth and persist in their errors.

Wired, The New York Times, Backyard Poultry Magazine — it happens to everyone. Sometimes they make mistakes and check facts. And then, be it known printed newspaper or online news resource, the editors plead guilty. If a news publication, you must maintain a good reputation, the editorial Board publishes corrections. In most cases this technique works, but what news agencies do not consider — is that the fix could further alienate readers from the truth, false if the message matches their beliefs. In fact, these concise notes on the last page of every paper draw our attention to one of the most powerful forces affecting the way we think, feel and make decisions — a mechanism that does not allow us to believe in the truth.

In 2006, Brendan, Nyhan and Jason Reifler from the University of Michigan and State University of Georgia has written several articles on key political events. The content of these articles confirmed widespread misconceptions about some controversial issues of American politics. For a start the subject is offered a forged article, and then another, which denied the message of the previous one. For example, in one of the articles said that the United States found in Iraq weapons of mass destruction. Next it was said that the United States never thought that was true. Pacifists or proponents of liberalism are mostly denied the first article and agreed with the second. The militarists and the conservatives agreed with the first article and categorically did not take the second. Such a reaction is not surprising. What is really surprising is the reaction of conservatives, when they learned the truth. They admitted that after reading the article that in fact no weapons were found, they are even more convinced that in fact the weapons in Iraq are and what their original beliefs are correct.

"Confused you even more entrenched in your beliefs, instead of criticize them. When someone tries to correct you, to dispel your misconceptions, it has the opposite result and strengthens your confidence" the Experiment was repeated, this time the controversial issue was stem cell research and tax reform, and again, it was discovered that the fix on the contrary reinforce the misconceptions of study participants, if these corrections are contrary to their beliefs. People on different sides of the political divide have read the same article and the same fixes and if new information was at odds with their beliefs, they started with twice the tenacity to defend their point of view. Hotfix unexpectedly led to opposite results.

When a thought becomes part of your worldview, you are trying to protect it from external influences. This happens instinctively and unconsciously, as soon as the brain is confronted with information inconsistent with his attitudes. As well as the mechanisms of acquittal of thinking to protect you when you are actively seeking information, the effect is the opposite of the result protects you when the facts are going to you, attacking the most vulnerable places. At a loss, you are stronger in your beliefs, instead of criticize them. When someone tries to correct you, to dispel your misconceptions, it has the opposite result and strengthens your confidence. Over time, due to the effect of the opposite result you are starting to look less critically at the facts that let you continue to believe your beliefs are true and legitimate.

In 1976, when Ronald Reagan was involved in the presidential campaign, he often told voters about a con artist from Chicago who earned his living doing fraud with insurance companies. Reagan said the woman had 80 names, 30 addresses and 12 social security card, which she used to get food stamps and medical benefits from insurance companies. The future President was told that the woman rode in a Cadillac was not working and not paying taxes. He talked about this woman whose name he never called, in every small town, and this story infuriated his listeners. Thanks to her the concept of "Queen of the social security" entered the American political lexicon and has had an impact not only on the political discourse of America the next 30 years, but in the social policy of the government. But this story was just a duck.

Of course, there were always people who were stealing from the state, but anyone who would fit the description of Ronald Reagan, in reality, did not exist. The woman who I suspect to many historians, could serve as a prototype for the presidential heroine was an actress, a swindler, who used four false names and moved from place to place, each time changing the appearance, not some kind of mother-a housewife, surrounded by a pack of Caucasia children.

Despite the fact that the story has been publicly denied and much time has passed, she is still alive. Fictional lady who bathes in luxury and wasting away over the hills dining coupons, while working in the sweat of the Americans organize strikes, and constantly flashed on the pages of online Newspapers. Mimetic resistance of the word impressive. One or the other version of the story appears weekly in blogs and journal articles about legal violations, but rather a few clicks of the mouse to find out what is a lie.

"When the facts support beliefs, people tend to see what they expect to see, and draw conclusions that match their expectations," Psychologists call such stories, narrative scenarios are stories about what we want to hear, confirming our beliefs and gives us the right to stick to already made us of the same opinions. If faith in Korolyov social insurance protects your worldview, you accept this myth and live in peace on. Perhaps a bike Reagan seem disgusting or ridiculous, but you without question believe such stories about medical companies who interfere with the conduct of the study, or unauthorized searches, or about the benefits of chocolate. You watched a documentary about the dangers of... something that you don't like, and you, most likely, it was about the soul. For every "absolutely truthful" documentaries of Michael Moore have the same transmission exactly the opposite of content, in which proponents of the idea argue that their version of truth better.

An excellent example of selective mistrust is the website Its creators are publishing the comments of Facebook users who believe articles from the satirical magazine The Onion. Article about the fact that Oprah Winfrey offers the chosen few to be buried with her in a luxurious grave news about the construction of a centre for abortion services for hundreds of millions of dollars or a statement of the organization NASCAR to award prizes to drivers for homophobic statements — such news people leave angry comments in all seriousness. Psychologist Thomas] wrote: "When the facts support beliefs, people tend to see what they expect to see, and draw conclusions that match their expectations. If the conclusion is consistent with our installations, we ask the question: "Can I believe it?" if output disappoints us, we ask ourselves "Must I believe it?".

That's why particularly ardent critics who believe that Barack Obama was not born in USA, never believe in hundreds of facts clearly proves the opposite. When in April 2011 the President's administration posted on the public access the full text of his birth certificate, the reaction of the opponents of Obama was exactly like of which involves the effect the opposite result. They carefully studied the issue date of the document, its appearance, shape — and eventually gathered at the forum and made fun of it. Their confidence has increased even more. So it was and always will be, when it comes to conspiracy theories or any of the other incredible facts. The refutation will always be only to strengthen man's faith in reverse. It is always considered a part of the conspiracy, and the lack of facts is attributed to concealment of the truth.

This explains how the strange, outdated and completely insane beliefs survive in the struggle with science, common sense and facts. However, the truth of the phenomenon lies deeper, because none of us considers himself crazy. We do not believe that lightning sends out a deity, who wanted to run into the ground a couple of charges. You don't wear special underwear to protect your libido from the light of the moon. Your beliefs are rational, logical and based on facts, right?

Well. Let's talk, for example, about corporal punishment. Good or bad? Harmless or harmful? Can it be considered corporal punishment lack of love or, conversely, a manifestation of parental care? Science has your answer, but we will fix that later. And now try to understand how you feel about this, and you will understand that they want to fall under foreign influence, are eager to enlighten you about the great variety of questions, but some topics you avoid.

The last time you got involved or was a witness to the online dispute with someone who was convinced that he knows everything about health care reform, the control of the proliferation of weapons, gay marriage, sexual education, drug war, Jesse Ouidane or about whether or not the number of 0,9999, repeated to infinity, is zero — remember how it was? If you have taught the enemy a valuable lesson? Thanked you for what you have helped to understand all the intricacies of the disputed issue after the cursed opponent for his past ignorance? Shot is a virtual hat for what you have made man better?

"To win an argument on the Internet is impossible. When you start throwing facts and names, hyperlinks and quotes, your opponent actually gets even more conviction than before you started the argument" most Likely, no. A large part of online battle unfolding on one and the same scenario: each side rushes to the attack and fishes from the depths of new evidence to bolster its position until, until one of the parties, disappointed, decides to go for broke and goes to the person. If you are lucky, comments removed and you will have time to save their honor and dignity, or some third-party commentator will help to incite your opponent a bunch of angry.

The study of the effect of the inverse result shows that to win an argument on the Internet is impossible. When you start throwing facts and names, hyperlinks and quotes, your opponent actually gets even more conviction than before you started the argument. When he starts to disagree with you, the same thing happens in your mind. The effect is the opposite of the result that makes both of you stronger to lock in the certainty of his innocence.

Did you ever have a strange feature: we almost do not pay attention to the praise, but any criticism is just killing us outright? Thousands of positive reviews can go unnoticed by us, but one single remark like "sucks" might sit in my head for a few days. One of the hypotheses explaining why this is so and why the effect is triggered or the opposite, is that we actually have a lot more time is spent on thinking about the information with which we disagree, than that which is dearest to us. Information that confirms our beliefs, disappears from our consciousness, however, when we are faced with something that casts doubt on the truth of our beliefs, something that contradicts previously acquired knowledge about how the world is, we stop and take note. Some psychologists claim that the explanation for this is the theory of evolution. Our ancestors have paid more attention to negative stimuli, not positive, because negative events need to react. Those who are not able to adequately respond to negative stimulus, not be able to survive.

In 1992, Peter ditto and David Lopez conducted an experiment in which subjects had to immerse a small strip of paper in a Cup with saliva. The paper was quite ordinary, but psychology has reported one half of the participants that it will turn green, if the person has serious problems with the pancreas, and the other half that this will happen, if they are completely healthy. Both groups said that the reaction will take about 20 seconds. As a rule, people who were told that the paper will turn green, if they are healthy, 've been waiting much longer than the 20 seconds that they had been warned. If the color has not changed, 52 percent tried again. In another group, where green had to mean bad news the people were mostly content to 20 seconds, and only 18 percent have tried to drop in the bowl again.

When you read a negative comment when someone posts in pieces that you love, and your beliefs are questioned you meticulously and carefully study information in search of weaknesses. Cognitive dissonance inhibits the mechanisms of your thinking for as long as you do not deal with the situation. In the process you form more neutral relationships, design new memory and produce some force and when you end to think about the subject, your original beliefs become as strong as ever.

Psychologist, New York Times columnist Dan Gilbert is watching the reverse effect results in the fight against obesity: "it Happens that the number on the scales in the bathroom rolls. Then we peel off and are again back to make sure that we correctly saw the result and not too much leaned on one leg. If the result suits us, we smile and we go into the shower. We without question accept the figure that we like, and try again and again if we don't like, thus, as if gently sloping scale on our side."

The effect is the opposite result constantly tidy your beliefs and memory, enticing you in one direction or another by a process that psychologists call biased assimilation. Decades of studies of different types of cognitive biases have shown that people usually perceive the world through a thick lens of faith, clouded attitudes and Outlook. In 1996 the researchers showed a test group debates Bob Dole and bill Clinton and found that before the debate, each believed that his candidate won. In 2000, when scientists began to examine the supporters and opponents of Clinton through their reaction to the Monica Lewinsky scandal, they found that supporters of Clinton, generally considered unreliable Lewinsky destroyer of hearth and could hardly believe that Clinton lied under oath. Of course, opponents of the President experienced the opposite feelings. Fast forward to 2011, when the channels are Fox News and MSNBC have challenged each other's territory of cable television: each promised a presentation of information, which in any case will not question the beliefs of a particular population. Here you biased assimilation in action.

Biased assimilation works not only in relation to the events of today. A group of scientists conducted in 2004 a study in the course of which he asked liberals and conservatives to speak about the shooting at Kent state University in 1970 when National guard soldiers opened fire on demonstrators against the war in Vietnam, resulting in four people were killed and nine were wounded.

As is usually the case with any historical event, the details of the incident at the University of Kent began to distort within a few hours. Years later, books, articles, shows and songs have woven an impenetrable network of causes and motivations, conclusions and assumptions, in which every opinion was somehow justified. In the weeks that followed the shooting, psychologists interviewed students at the University of Kent who witnessed the events, and found that 6% of liberals and 45% of conservatives believe that the National guard was provoked. Twenty-five years later they re-interviewed the then students. In 1995, 62% of liberals said that the soldiers committed murder, but only 37% of conservatives agreed with this statement. Five years later, students were again offered the questionnaire, and the researchers found that the conservatives were still inclined to say that the protesters crossed the border in relation to the National guard, while liberals saw the soldiers rather the aggressors. It is striking that the better the respondents, according to them, were aware of the event, the stronger was the power of their beliefs. That is, the fiercer was supported by the National guard or the protesters, the more he knew about the incident. People who are only in General knew about what happened, to a lesser extent felt the impact of the opposite result in the assessment of events. The same effect was made more aware to deliberately not pay attention to controversial parts.

"The human mind does everything to support and consent with the fact that he once took — because this is a matter of faith, or because he likes it. Whatever the force and the number of facts testifying to the contrary, the mind or doesn't notice them, or ignore them, or reject them through distinctions with great prejudice to the validity of the previous conclusions remained unbroken" — Francis bacon In 1997 Jeffrey Munro and Peter ditto has released a series of fake articles. In one of the studies said that homosexuality is likely a mental disorder. In another it was argued that any sexual orientation is natural and normal. Then the subjects were divided into two groups: one considered homosexuality a disease and others do not. Each group was offered a forged article with false facts and testimonies, claiming that their point of view is wrong. After both groups read the materials that refuted their beliefs, no one said that suddenly saw the light, realizing that all these years were wrong. On the contrary, began to argue that the solution to such problems inaccessible to science. When later the subject was suggested other topics for discussion, such as flogging and astrology, the same people said that no longer trust science and believe in its ability to establish the truth. Instead to revise their beliefs and to face the facts, people chose the time to throw all the science at all.

Science and literature had once painted a future in which we now live. Books, movies and comics of yore portrayed cyberpunks, furrowing the endless expanses of information, and personal communications, enveloping the person in a cloud of beeps and calls. Stories and midnight chatter on the radio predicted a time when the entire sum of human knowledge and artistic production will be continuously available on demand and millions of lives will be connected and visible to anyone who wants to be seen. And now the future happened, where we are surrounded by computers that can tell us what he knows of humanity, to explain how to perform any task, to teach us anything and to reveal the essence of any phenomenon on earth. So once fictional life has become for us a daily occurrence.

And if this promised future has already arrived, why don't we live in the realm of science and reason? Where there is the socio-political and technical utopia, empirical Nirvana, the abode of the gods of analytical thinking (only without the overalls and neon bandages on his head) where everyone knows the truth?

Among the many prejudices and misconceptions that block our path into the realm of microprocessors and tight jeans, lives a huge monster of our psyche — the effect is the opposite result. He's always been there, has always influenced how we and our ancestors saw the world, but the Internet has released a beast into the wild, significantly strengthened its credibility, and over the years we have not become wiser.

As they develop their social networks and advertising, we will be more difficult to overcome the human desire to confirm the information that fits his beliefs, and the effect the opposite result. A person will have more opportunities to choose from the General flow exactly the information that fits into his vision of the world, and reliable, in his opinion, sources that will such information to deliver. On top the advertisers will continue to adapt, not only creating ads based on what they know about the person, but generating an advertising strategy based on what worked or not on the person. Advertising of the future will be available depending on your preferences, but also on who you voted for, where was your childhood, what are you in the mood, what day or year or any information about you that can be measured. In a world where there is everything you want, your beliefs will never be questioned.

Three thousand spoilers were recorded on Twitter a few hours before Barack Obama ascended to his presidential pulpit and told the world that Osama bin Laden is dead. Facebook page, sites where you can get rich quick, and millions of e-mails, SMS and instant messages, it was about the death of a terrorist, was preceded by the official statement may 1, 2011. Stories and comments have been pouring in, the search engine incandescent. Between 7.30 am and 8.30 am the first day, the number of queries about bin Laden in Google rose by 1 million percent compared to the previous day. Live performances from Toby Keith and Lee Greenwood on Youtube has taken a leading position in the ranking. Unprepared news sites on all cylinders scribbled the news, to supply the insatiable public of new information food.

"In a world where thriving is all new knowledge, where every day there are scientific discoveries, covering seemingly all aspects of human life, we, like most people continue to perceive information very selectively," It was a stunning evidence of how the world of information exchange has changed since September 2001, only one was predictable and probably inevitable. After a few minutes after the publication of the first materials of special forces of Seal Team Six, tweets about the shooting of bin Laden's hasty burial of his body at sea, conspiracy theories blossomed to full flower in the fertile soil of our prejudices. A few days later, when it became clear that photoproofs of the incident is not provided, a conspiracy theory took shape in the complete and irrefutable facts.

Although information technology is not standing still, behavioral schemas that man uses when talking about faith, facts, politics and ideology seem to remain the same. In a world where thriving is all new knowledge, where every day there are scientific discoveries, covering seemingly all aspects of human life, we, like most people continue to perceive information very selectively, even if that fact is supported by scientific data and is based on centuries of research.

So, what about corporal punishment? After you read all this, you think I'm ready to know what science has to say on this subject? Secret source reports that psychologists are still studying this phenomenon, however it is already known that regular spanking makes children up to seven years, more than flexible, if not done in public and only the hands. And now attention — a small bugfix: other ways of influencing behavior: positive reinforcement, symbolic, savings, free time, and so forth — may also be effective and don't require violence.

So you have read these lines and they most likely made you a strong emotional response. Have you changed your opinion now that you know the truth? published


P. S. And remember, only by changing their consumption — together we change the world! ©

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