Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The Backfire Effect

Lots to say about this...sample far, far, far...far too small to draw anything but the most tentative conclusions...but interesting. And consistent with what we already have reason to think.

As is so often the case with such psych testing, the experiment doesn't seem especially well-designed. But the suggestion is:

Republicans who believe false things believe them more strongly after they are presented with evidence against them.

At least liberals are merely immune to evidence...whereas it has a kind of reverse effect on conservatives.


Anonymous Anonymous said...


At the risk of falling prey to the No True Scotsman fallacy, I would say that real *liberals* are the exact opposite of "immune to evidence". I mean, doesn't being part of the "reality-based community" kind of imply that I'm inclined to think and act on the basis of observable reality?

Perhaps this is just working out the language, but maybe operating on kind of a scientific method basis is what distinguishes a *liberal* from say, an extreme leftist? I don't really know how else to distinguish it. Based on the current political spectrum, I certainly consider myself a liberal as to the issues, but I still operate on the basis of this quote from Bertrand Russell which I posted on another thread:

"The essence of the liberal outlook lies not in what opinions are held, but in how they are held. Instead of being held dogmatically, they are held tentatively, and with a consciousness that new evidence may at any moment lead to their abandonment."

Or as another great liberal, John Maynard Keynes responded when upbraided by someone for changing his position on a certain issue:

"When the facts change, I change my opinion. What do you do, sir?"

9:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Then again, maybe that's a true *conservative*'s thinking??:

10:27 PM  

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