General Question

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

What is the name for this phenomenon?

Asked by ANef_is_Enuf (26765points) 1 month ago

If sharing/consuming information that validates what we believe to be true is confirmation bias – what is it called when being exposed to negating information still reinforces our beliefs?

I’m pretty sure it’s a common phenomenon that has to do with how our memories work, but I can’t remember what it’s called.

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11 Answers

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

Reinforcement? Negative reinforcement? Stasis? Delusion?

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

I found it, it’s the backfire effect.

LuckyGuy's avatar

@ANef_is_Enuf Thank you for teaching us that! I’ve seen it in action but did not know there was a phrase for it!
I think we’ve all seen evidence of this effect recently.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

@LuckyGuy definitely agree, which is why I try so hard to be mindful of what I’m sharing/posting. Got me to thinking about what the mechanism behind it is.

JLeslie's avatar

Great Q and great answer!

Strauss's avatar

Would this be an example of herd mentality?

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

I don’t think so. Seems more like a type of confirmation bias (even though it’s kind of the opposite), but I could be wrong. I seem to recall reading at some point that it has something to do with the way our memories work, but I didn’t find anything on that. I might be thinking of something else.

JLeslie's avatar

It seems like groupthink and herd mentality are at play, but what helps to make those things take place is this backfire affect. It’s like another piece of it.

Usually, I think of herd mentality as people wanting acceptance from peers and they are persuaded or manipulated by fear and greed. We definitely have some of that happening in America right now. Groupthink is more civilized I guess, but still a manipulation by peer pressure and wanting to fit in. The backfire effect and other confirmation biases help people rationalize staying with the group.

I always say people have a hard time changing their minds, because it can mean to them the sky is falling. Their whole world construct might get disrupted. Especially, if you tie religion in this can be very effective to keep people in place, but even without a formal religion, a set of beliefs about life, morality, good and bad, and right and wrong, most people need to keep that all in a perfect order or they get very uncomfortable or afraid.

I think people like ANef and I live in the grey thick line of life more than the black and white. The world seems plastic to me, meaning pliable. I’ve always moved between many groups of people not quite fitting in to one specific clique.

I’m not any sort of psychologist. This is my layman’s view of it.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@JLeslie The #saveourchildren movement is a great example. Political agenda’s twisted with emotional reactions rather than factual accuracy.

JLeslie's avatar

@KNOWITALL I don’t remember exactly what that was. Weren’t they Fundamentalist Christians against gay rights or something? Why was it called save our children? They thought the gay people were going to ruin children? Are they still in existence? They had a lot of political power if I remember correctly.

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