Ever wonder why seemingly intelligent individuals who are members of organizations such as ICNIRP, steadfastly stick to the thermal paradigm rejecting all evidence that questions that viewpoint? Besides the deep seated financial/industry/military conflicts of interest that have dominated EMF/EMR standard setting since the 1950s, the following research suggests unbiased scientific objectivity can be a human fallacy. This should be further reason why the precautionary principle is so important to protect the public interest in technological controversies….
From World Science:
People only sometimes seek out opposing views, study finds
July 3, 2009
Courtesy University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign,
American Psychological Association
and World Science staff
People tend to avoid information they don’t agree with—but certain factors can prompt them to seek out, or at least consider, other points of view, new research has found.
The analysis, reported this month in the journal Psychological Bulletin, included data from 91 studies involving nearly 8,000 participants. The authors said it settles a longstanding debate over whether people actively avoid information that contradicts what they think, or whether they’re simply exposed more often to ideas that conform to their own because they tend to be surrounded by like-minded people.
“We wanted to see exactly across the board to what extent people are willing to seek out the truth versus just stay comfortable with what they know,” said University of Illinois psychologist Dolores Albarracín, who led the study with University of Florida researcher William Hart.
The studies they reviewed generally asked participants about their views on a given topic and then allowed them to choose whether they wanted to view or read information supporting their own or an opposing point of view.
The researchers found that people are on average about twice as likely to select information that supports their own point of view as to consider an opposing idea. Some, more closed-minded people are even more reluctant to expose themselves to differing perspectives, Albarracín said.
The researchers also found, not surprisingly, that people are more resistant to new points of view when their own ideas are associated with political, religious or ethical values.
“If you are really committed to your own attitude – for example, if you are a very committed Democrat – you are more likely to seek congenial information,” Albarracín said. “If the issues concern moral values or politics, about 70 percent of the time you will choose congenial information, versus about 60 percent of the time if the issues are not related to values.”
Perhaps more surprisingly, people who have little confidence in their own beliefs are less likely to expose themselves to contrary views than people who are very confident in their own ideas, Albarracín said.
Certain factors can also induce people to seek out opposing points of view, she said. Those who may have to publicly defend their ideas, such as politicians, for example, are more motivated to learn about the views of those who oppose them. In the process, she said, they sometimes find that their own ideas evolve.
People are also more likely to expose themselves to opposing ideas when it is useful to them in some way, Albarracín said.
“If you’re going to buy a house and you really like the house, you’re still going to have it inspected,” she said. Similarly, no matter how much you like your surgeon, you may seek out a second opinion before scheduling a major operation, she said.
“For the most part it seems that people tend to stay with their own beliefs and attitudes because changing those might prevent them from living the lives they’re living,” Albarracín said. “But it’s good news that one out of three times, or close to that, they are willing to seek out the other side.”Leave a reply →