Why some are blind to the truth
7 March 2022
Today’s big issues such as what action to take against climate change have people choosing sides of the argument from which they won’t stray. These strong opposing opinions may seem strange as we should all have access to the same information on which we base our opinions. However, there are subconscious influences that determine which information stands out to us and whether we choose to believe it or not.
Our latest article Blind to the Truth explores the underlying mechanisms that can make us blind to facts and evidence. Particularly regarding highly politicised and polarised topics, we tend to attend to information that we are familiar with. This is because it stands out to us more and is easier to process than new information.
Although we should all be aware of problems such as environmental degradation, different generations may perceive the severity of it differently. Behavioural scientists Peter Kahn and Thea Weiss explain that this is because we tend to accept the environment we grow up in as the norm without comparing it to the rich biodiversity around say 100 years ago. This is known as ‘generational amnesia’ (or shifting baseline syndrome), describing the generational blindness to the environmental degradation around us. The tendency to accept what we are used to (known as the status quo effect) has big implications on how important we perceive conservation efforts to be.
This article powerfully demonstrates how behavioural science can explain the polarised nature of important topics and our differing opinions on them and point us to potential solutions in how we understand and value the opinions of others.
You can read our article here.
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