Why do people stick to their incorrect opinions

By M.Farouk Radwan, MSc.

I am know i am wrong but i am still right

Why do people stick to their beliefs even when all the evidence are against them?
why would a person retain a belief even though its too obvious to everyone that its incorrect?
Why would someone strongly believe that he was abducted by aliens or that he talks to ghosts?

In the image below that structure is likely to become unstable if the yellow block was removed. Even though the yellow block has a different color than the rest of the structure still its existence is extremely important for the structure to remain intact.

Now what if someone tried to remove yellow block in order to replace it with a one that has a better color? In such a case if the structure had a brain of its own it would resist this change as much as it can because it threatens its stability.

What does this has to do with people and their beliefs?

Most people don't develop beliefs based on what's true and what's not but they build their beliefs in a such a way to support the structure of their personalities.

Dan was a white man who never managed to unleash his true potential when it comes to work. Dan developed feelings of inferiority a long time ago and because he wasn't brave enough to pursue his goals these feelings remained intact.

Because all humans have the need to feel good about themselves Dan started looking for any other way to feel superior other than success in life and this is where media gave him a great temporary fix.

The indirect messages coming from the media hinting that white people are better than black people appealed to him so much. Dan started becoming a racist and as he strongly believed that white people are better than black ones. (see also Why do people put others down)

Do you know why Dan developed that belief and held on to it?

Its because letting go of this belief will remind him of his own inferiority!
It means that he will become no longer superior.
It means that he will remember the fact that he was a coward.

Why do people stick to their incorrect opinions

In the Solid Self confidence program i said that people stick to their incorrect beliefs, even when they realize that they are wrong, in order to maintain their psychological stability.

When people use beliefs to fill the psychological gaps in their personalities they no longer care about the belief itself but they become focused on the consequences that might happen if they let go of that belief. (see also Why its hard for people to change their assumptions)

"If i don't see Ghosts or talk to them then this means i am like everyone else. It might mean i am not special in any way. I still believe i see them" This is how the subconscious mind of a person might be thinking about an important belief.

Do people really believe in their incorrect beliefs?

Certainly yes. After all, it would seem like a cheap lie if a person realized that the reason he is sticking to a belief is that he needs to believe in it.

And this is where the brain comes in with its tricks in order to prove to that person that the belief is really true. The brain starts to filter all the information that proves the belief wrong, puts down those who support it, judge those who go against it and highlight any tiny clue that proves it. (see also Self deception examples)

This is also the same reason why people who have low self confidence believe that people look down on them. Its all about how the mind changes the perception to alter the incoming information.

Many people hold incorrect beliefs and defend them eagerly not because they truly believe in them but because they need these beliefs to be true in order to maintain mental stability. For them, the threat of giving up on the belief might be interpreted as a threat to their self confidence, intelligence, self image or whatever that they are trying to protect.

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Want to know more?

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