Arguing hard to change others
In August 2001, the “China Collapse Theory” was “born out” with “China is about to collapse”. This theory predicted that China’s economy would collapse within 5 to 10 years due to various social system problems. However, China not only survived the 2008 financial crisis, but to this day, China’s economy has maintained steady growth. Even if the facts are so obvious, there are still some people in the world who firmly believe in the theory of China’s collapse.
Seeing this, some people might think of another argument that is completely opposite—the “China Threat Theory”: China will pose a serious threat to democracy, peace, military, and economy in the world. But in fact, as early as 1953, China had already put forward the “Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence.” In addition, since the founding of New China, it has never invaded any country, and China has often reiterated the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence in important public occasions. Similarly, even if evidence of China’s “harmless” is everywhere and readily available, some people still hold onto the China threat.
In the face of obvious evidence that proves that oneself is wrong, the phenomenon of still clinging to one’s own opinion is called “conviction fixation” in psychology. This phenomenon occurs when a person arrives at a certain belief or opinion, and then builds a theory for them based on certain information, and it can happen to anyone.
We are all diehards
Faith fixation makes people blind to the facts, so how do we change this fixation? It’s actually not that simple.
Professor Anderson from Iowa State University in the United States did such an experiment (only part of this large experiment is shown here). He first guided the volunteers to come to the wrong view: people who are willing to take risks are suitable for firefighters, while those who are cautious are not. Suitable for firefighters. Later, he provided volunteers with some anecdotes about a person willing to take risks and fit into the profession of firefighters (the anecdotes were fabricated by the professor) as evidence, and asked the volunteers to explain their previous views based on these evidences. is correct. Finally, the professor told the volunteers the truth: those anecdotes are false, and see if the volunteers will stick to their original views.
The results showed that only 25% of the volunteers seemed to give up their original wrong views, and the other 75% of the volunteers still insisted on their original views even when the evidence was overturned. This also explains why even though the facts no longer support the China collapse theory and China threat theory, some people still insist on these two theories.
Moreover, the more a person wants to prove that his theories and explanations may be correct, the more closed his mind will be. This is why some people become more stubborn and stubborn.
There are shadows of conviction everywhere
Perhaps someone has discovered that we can see a solid conviction in incidents such as discrimination, superstition, and war.
For example, in the Iraq War in 2004, one of the main reasons some people in the United States supported the launching of this war was “weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.” Until the end of the war, the US military was still looking for weapons of mass destruction in vain. Even though the facts are so obvious, most people still do not change their views, and still believe that those imaginary weapons of mass destruction may be hidden in some unknown corner.
In the Iraq War, American soldiers did not find “weapons of mass destruction” until they won.
Another example is the British sexual violation law: gay sex is illegal. Even though science has long proven that homosexuality is a normal phenomenon, this law that was promulgated in 1885 lasted until 2017 and was abolished. During this period, it caused large and small protests and resulted in the unjustified conviction of about 490,000 homosexuals. .
The only way to change
Since the influence of fixed beliefs is so bad, is there any way to increase the success rate of changing others’ perceptions in this situation?
Turing, known as the “Father of Computers”, is also a victim of British sexual law.
Unfortunately, the decision to change other people’s views lies in their own hands. It is the same for ourselves, unless we want to correct ourselves, otherwise others cannot change our stubborn ideas.
This also proves the wisdom of the old saying “Don’t argue with others”. If we try our best to change a person’s established concept, or even give strong factual evidence, the result is likely to be our return without success, and it will also take up our precious time.
Fortunately, we still have the only way to deal with fixation of belief: let ourselves or others think about or explain the opposite view, hypothesis or problem, etc., which can effectively reduce or even eliminate this fixation. For example, after a person has explained why the sun revolves around the earth, one more explanation is the opposite point: why the earth revolves around the sun. Imagine and explain other possible results immediately, which can also help us effectively reduce fixation.