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.




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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



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