Welcome to our first themed season, “With Friends Like These: Converts.” We’ve always been interested in why and how people change their minds about what they believe — mostly because it just doesn’t happen that often.
Once we we make a choice about who we are or what we want to do, we start ignoring the evidence that might prove us wrong: that’s what “confirmation bias” is.
Social psychologist Carol Tavris joins us to discuss the phenomenon, offer examples of it, and delve into the mystery of why some people seem capable of resisting the habit of rationalization and some people don’t.
Further reading and sources:
“Mistakes Were Made (But Not By Me),” by Carol Tavris and Elliot Aronson
We discussed the ways we push each other into further and further away once we decide what we believe in this episode with Lilliana Mason, “When Ideology Is Identity”, about her book, “Uncivil Agreement: How Politics Became Our Identity.”
One of the most influential accounts of extreme rationalization in action: “When Prophecy Fails: A Social and Psychological Study of a Modern Group the That Predicted the Destruction of the World,” which tells the story of a doomsday cult whose members’ certainty about their beliefs only increased after the apocalypse failed to occur.