When was the last time you changed your mind? Are you sure?
In this episode we explore new research that suggests for the majority of the mind change we experience, after we update our priors, we delete what we used to believe and then simply forget that we ever thought otherwise.
In the show, psychologists Michael Wolfe and Todd Williams, take us though their new research which suggests that because brains so value consistency, and are so determined to avoid the threat of decoherence, we hide the evidence of our belief change. That way, the story we tell ourselves about who we are can remain more or less heroic, with a stable, steadfast protagonist whose convictions rarely waver — or, at least, they don’t waver as much as those of shifty, flip-flopping politicians.
This can lead to a skewed perception of the world, one that leads to the assumption that mind change is rare and difficult-to-come-by. And that can lead to our avoiding information that might expand our understanding of the world, because we assume it will have no impact.
The truth, say Wolfe and Williams, is that mind change is so prevalent and constant, that the more you expose yourself to counterevidence, the more your worldview will erode, replaced by a better, more accurate one — it’s just that you probably won’t realize it until you look back at old posts on social media and cringe.
This episode is sponsored by The Great Courses Plus. Get unlimited access to a huge library of The Great Courses lecture series on many fascinating subjects. Start FOR FREE with Your Deceptive Mind taught by neurologist Steven Novella. Learn about how your mind makes sense of the world by lying to itself and others. Click here for a FREE TRIAL.
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