Today on the Cognitive Dissidents Podcast we talk about the backfire effect. The backfire effect is a cognitive bias that causes people who encounter evidence that challenges their beliefs to reject that evidence, and to strengthen their support of their original stance. Essentially, the backfire effect means that showing people evidence which proves that they are wrong is often ineffective, and can actually end up backfiring, by causing them to support their original stance more strongly than they previously did. As such, the backfire effect is a subtype of the confirmation bias, which is a cognitive bias that can cause people to reject information which contradicts their beliefs, or to interpret information in a way that confirms those beliefs.
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This is an important concept to understand (and realize that we ALL have this reaction).
The one thing that would be REALLY helpful is to put together a list of some common topics and actually map out some dialog on how to decrease the chance of bringing up the topic will trigger the backfire effect. It would be great to have this as something that many people could contribute towards. I for one do MUCH better in the “heat of the moment” when I have thought about what I am going to say ahead of time (and sometimes rehearsing it MANY times the more emotionally charged that it is).