Why do we stick to false beliefs?

Photo: ANI

Washington: Feedback rather than hard evidence makes us more confident that we’re right, according to a new study.

New findings from researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, suggest that feedback, rather than hard evidence, boost people’s sense of certainty when learning new things or trying to tell right from wrong.

Developmental psychologists have found that people’s beliefs are more likely to be reinforced by the positive or negative reactions they receive in response to an opinion, task or interaction than by logic, reasoning and scientific data.

Their findings shed new light on how people handle information that challenges their worldview, and how certain learning habits can limit one’s intellectual horizons.

Lead author Louis Marti, said, “If you think you know a lot about something, even though you don’t, you’re less likely to be curious enough to explore the topic further, and will fail to learn how little you know.”

Specifically, the study examined what influences people’s certainty while learning. It found that study participants’ confidence was based on their most recent performance rather than long-term cumulative results. The experiments were conducted at the University of Rochester.

An ideal learner’s certainty would be based on the observations amassed over time as well as the feedback, Marti said.

“If your goal is to arrive at the truth, the strategy of using your most recent feedback, rather than all of the data you’ve accumulated, is not a great tactic,” he said.
The full findings are present in the journal- Open Mind.