The “Backfire Effect” makes us more dogmatically certain of ourselves when we hear conflicting facts

Facts never win arguments because we are more likely to dig in our heels when we hear facts that disagree with our beliefs. This has been observed by psychologists in numerous studies and has been called the “The Backfire Effect”

David McRaney says Once something is added to your collection of beliefs, you protect it from harm. You do this instinctively and unconsciously when confronted with attitude-inconsistent information. Coming or going, you stick to your beliefs instead of questioning them. When someone tries to correct you, tries to dilute your misconceptions, it backfires and strengthens those misconceptions instead.”

While scholars discovered that “under a lot of conditions, the mere existence of contradictory facts [to their beliefs] made people more sure of themselves — or made them claim to be more sure.”


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