Why Beliefs Are Resistant to Change

Most of us regard our beliefs as rational. More often, though, moral reasoning is more like a politician than a scientist: it seeks justification and support, not the truth.

This bias means that we’re heavily inclined to assume that our beliefs are correct—even when presented with evidence that proves otherwise. Psychologists call this phenomenon confirmation bias, and it makes our beliefs very difficult to change.

Most moral judgments aren’t based in objective reality. Instead, they start as bodily feelings. If something makes us feel good, we assume that must mean it is good. And if something makes us feel unpleasant, we assume that means it’s bad.

Understanding where beliefs come from is the first step in bridging political divides. Start with our Instaread on The Righteous Mind.

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