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Participants rated the strength of their beliefs on a scale of 1-7 on both political (purple) and nonpolitical (green) statements. They then rated responses to counter-arguments to those statements. The graph depicts shifts in their belief strength ratings. NeuroscienceNews.com image is credited to Brain and Creativity Institute at USC.
Summary: A new study reports the more we are provided with contradictory evidence, the more stubborn we become about our political beliefs.
A USC-led study confirms what seems increasingly true in American politics: People become more hard-headed in their political beliefs when provided with contradictory evidence.
Neuroscientists at the Brain and Creativity Institute at USC said the findings from the functional MRI study seem especially relevant to how people responded to political news stories, fake or credible, throughout the election.
“Political beliefs are like religious beliefs in the respect that both are part of who you are and important for the social circle to which you belong,” said lead author Jonas Kaplan, an assistant research professor of psychology at the Brain and Creativity Institute at USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences. “To consider an alternative view, you would have to consider an alternative version of yourself.”/.../
“Neural correlates of maintaining one’s political beliefs in the face of counterevidence” by Jonas T. Kaplan, Sarah I. Gimbel & Sam Harris in Scientific Reports. Published online December 203 2016 doi:10.1038/srep39589