As an Oatmeal article comic about “the backfire effect” proliferates itself throughout social media, I share my opinion on why it’s imperative to look at objective facts, and not hold onto your ideas so tightly.
You may have seen it. Chances are you have encountered one of your friends sharing an Oatmeal article containing a rather cute comic about a bird explaining “the backfire effect”.
The comic was inspired by a three-part series from the You Are Not So Smart Podcast, and with the current climate of political discourse still experiencing turbulence, it couldn’t have come at a better time.
So what is “the backfire effect”?
As explained in the cartoon, “the backfire effect” is a form of confirmation bias and simply put, is when a person is presented objective facts counter to their own belief, the person rejects the evidence and grips more tightly to the initial claim.
Perhaps we all know someone that when in an argument, you simply cannot reason with them despite dishing out all the credible facts in the world. What is more than likely happening, is the backfire effect.
Now, holding onto your beliefs even when contrary and legitimate evidence is presented is a dangerous way to go about your life. It’s my firm belief that all of your ideas should be easily divorceable (this includes mine own as well) because new facts emerge every day. And when you look at a subject dispassionately, you will become closer to actually understanding it.
I encourage you to check out the comic and the neuroscience studies below.