Cognitive Dissonance & Dominionism Denial
Frederick Clarkson printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Wed Apr 26, 2017 at 07:05:54 PM EST
There is new research on why people are averse to hearing or learning about the views of ideological opponents. Based on evaluation of five separate studies, the research is not about dominionism denial per se. But the findings tend to support the experience many of us have had -- in which people do not want to know what the religious and political right thinks and is doing, even when they arguably have a strong self interest in better understanding the strengths and weaknesses of formidable opponents. The research also helps to explain that ever-strange and stirring stew of dominionism denial and the wider pooh poohery about the ongoing reality of the strengths and resilience of the Christian Right.

Science Daily reports that people anticipate that what they would hear from opposing views would "induce cognitive dissonance."  

This suggests that for some journalists, academics, think tankers, and political professionals -- that cognitive dissonance may also have to do with anticipating being confronted with the fact that that they have been wrong about a lot of things, and in some cases, for a long time.  

Here is Science Daily's summary of the research:

A new report from social psychologists at the University of Illinois at Chicago and the University of Winnipeg suggests people on both sides of the political aisle are similarly motivated to dismiss monetary enticements in order to distance themselves from hearing or reading opposing ideals and information.

The research, published online by the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, details the findings from five studies involving liberals and conservatives who were presented with statements on issues such as same-sex marriage, U.S. and Canada elections, marijuana, climate change, guns and abortion.

Approximately two-thirds of respondents declined a chance to win extra money in order to avoid reading statements that didn't support their position, say report co-authors Linda Skitka, UIC professor of psychology, and Matt Motyl, UIC assistant professor of psychology.

The UIC researchers and Jeremy A. Frimer, a corresponding author from the University of Winnipeg, indicate the divide goes beyond political topics.

Respondents also had a "greater desire to hear from like- versus unlike-minded others on questions such as preferred beverages (Coke vs. Pepsi), seasons (spring vs. autumn), airplane seats (aisle vs. window), and sports leagues (NFL vs. NBA)," they wrote.

The aversion to hearing or learning about the views of their ideological opponents is not a product of people already being or feeling knowledgeable, or attributable to election fatigue in the case of political issues, according to the researchers.

"Rather, people on both sides indicated that they anticipated that hearing from the other side would induce cognitive dissonance," such that would require effort or cause frustration, and "undermine a sense of shared reality with the person expressing disparate views" that would harm relationships, they reported.

The researchers note the drawback of liberals and conservatives retreating to ideological information bubbles.

"What could ultimately be a contest of ideas is being replaced by two, non-interacting monopolies," they said.

Balanced as in was there a close or further away as to whom felt that reading such different views of the world would really cause cognitive problems in them. Were they close or far apart % wise?

Were Liberals and Conservatives (plus all the others either not counted or lumped into the two main groups) score closely on this?

It is hard but I do read material that is deviant from what I see as the right and proper way. Rare does it change or seem nicer. But I don't lose my ability to think. To separate things. Never have I done so in all my years. This is in fact news and new to me. Wish I had been part of that since I would not be daunted to read any of that material. Whether mind warping trash or not.

by Nightgaunt on Sat Sep 30, 2017 at 09:07:03 PM EST

I admit it takes some determination to read to the end various right-leaning views on the economy, the social safety net, moral stances, etc.

On the economic views, for instance, there is a basic difference of opinion because I firmly believe the wealthy owe society for the things they use to accumulate that wealth. I believe that tax revenue should go almost directly to labor and their support framework, such as health care, infrastructure, etc.

If we both decide that the workers should get their fair due, then we can better come to an agreement on how best to pay for it, but that isn't what usually occurs. The convo stops when they find that the wealthy should keep all of their gains.

by trog69 on Thu Dec 14, 2017 at 10:23:13 PM EST

the research about encountering something that reinforces your ideas giving a "good feeling" fix - that it releases 'feel good' hormones when your ideas (or prejudices) are reinforced.  (The emphasis I keep encountering on "getting high" and "Feel good!" makes me wonder what is going on, because there are more important things than the next fix.)

A combination of the "feel good" fix with that research would indeed help to explain the "But it's a CHURCH..." we encounter, or the "they're getting old and dying out" claims - a rejection of the evidence that disproves their beliefs.  At the same time, there are other reasons why people would rather NOT listen to dominionists - for one thing, the things they say (expecially the dogwhistle) can be very triggering. But then, those who've been there are more than aware of the danger they pose to this nation, if not the world itself.  

Maybe there is a bit of fear there too - that "some of that might rub off on me!" in the mix that drives the denial or unwillingness to listen.

by ArchaeoBob on Wed Apr 26, 2017 at 08:34:38 PM EST

Let us take 3 situations and place two people of opposing worldviews in a neutral place. A public fishing pier out in the bay of the city where I live 2 people meet. One is a college age Christian Conservative and the other is a 25 year old college student with blue hair and a ring in his nose and a tattoo that tells you everything you need to know about his opinion of things. A billowing thunderhead out over the bay flashes lightning and has a shaft of rain coming down. The college student says "Oh wow did you see that?" and the Christian says "yeah that was amazing". And the college student says "yeah". So far so good. Now the subject turns to brown eggs for some reason. The Christian says "I buy those brown eggs down at the farmer's market." The college student says "Wherever I am I just by the cage-free, free range brown eggs." The Christian says "Yeah I do too they just taste better because the chickens get to eat whatever I think." Finally, the college student turns to the Christian and says "Hey I'm going to Caribou Coffee let's get some coffee." The Christian says "Perfect with me I was headed there anyway to meet a bible study group." What do you think would happen? Would the rebel college student go and get coffee or would he suddenly remember he has something else to do?

by Christian34232 on Sun Aug 13, 2017 at 09:57:59 PM EST
If he's smart, he'll run for the hills and never speak to Mr. Christian again.  (Doubly so if it's a pretty girl, as you'll discover.)

That's in essence how I was hooked almost 40 years ago... that mixed with a big dose of "missionary dating".  Once they had me hooked nice and solid, they decided it was time for her to move on to another sucker and "Bible Study" (as I learned later) and started pushing me towards THEIR idea of what I was like: that I was unfit for college and only good for mindless grunt labor (because I was relatively poor and living at home).  Then they believed a lie prattled in their churches that I was gay (none of their business anyway, but it wasn't true) and they blocked me from ever getting a decent job in this Christian-run hellhole.  (One of the people, after finding out that I wasn't gay and had been married for a few years at that time, begged my forgiveness.  He was part of the blocking - named by name EVERY major business I'd applied to when I belonged to their church - businesses that they'd told to not hire me "because of the gay problem".)

It took me over three years to finally rip free from that church, another 20 plus years to regain the memories and "timeline of my life" for that period, and (abut the same time) finally get back on track with my life - over 30 years STOLEN BY THE CHRISTIANS.  YES, CHRISTIANS.  In the last few years, after having experienced "consequences for actions" (my electronics workshop torched - ARSON - by Christians because I publicly defended teaching evolution in the science classroom, stalking, multiple credible death threats, and so on - including having some of our kitties poisoned by CHRISTIANS), my wife and I left your religion altogether.  My wife converted to Judaism - REAL Judaism, not the "messianic" FAKES, and since then we've learned just how much we'd been lied to throughout our whole lives - about Judaism, about the Bible (it's full of untruths and errors), and so on (example - some of the 'cities destroyed by Joshua never were - one didn't exist until hundreds of years after he'd died).  We're having to 'unlearn' all that we'd learned through all those decades.

Stories like ours are fairly common.  Lots of people convert to real Judaism because of things like that, also that is what swells the numbers of atheists.  BTW... nice stereotyping - NOT.


by ArchaeoBob on Fri Aug 18, 2017 at 11:49:09 AM EST

I remember the rules as laid out by my pastor and the church elders when I belonged to that church (denomination although they try to deny it):  The ONLY, and I mean ONLY reason to be friendly to anyone who wasn't one of us (fundamentalist/dominionist Christian) was for CONVERSION ONLY.  We were banned from being friends "with the world".   We were in fact to consider any non-Christian as either the enemy or a subject for conversion ONLY.  In fact, hostility towards the attempts was to be considered "The Holy Spirit is CONVICTING them!" or "The devil is trying hard to keep this one from hearing the Gospel!"  Problem is, both of those were lies too... and politeness was to be interpreted as "I'm interested, tell me/push me more!" even if it was someone trying not to be nasty - a nice way of telling the Christian "I'm not interested, leave me along and keep your religion to yourself!"

by ArchaeoBob on Fri Aug 18, 2017 at 12:01:14 PM EST

I must say the post has explained the psychological concept of cognitive dissonance in the best way.The innate nature of humans to reject or counter any thoughts or beliefs that counter their own is always evident since forever. the frequent mental distress that a person goes through with multiple thoughts is imminent.

by johnsmith26 on Thu Apr 05, 2018 at 04:35:11 AM EST

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