I use this wonderful internet website called IFTTT (If This Then That). I use it to have blog posts I want to read mailed to me. I use it to post this blog to tumbler. I use it to post my instagram pictures… everywhere. It’s useful.
As a consequence, I’m constantly reading my mail, or listening to podcasts. I started listening to a new podcast this week called You Are Not So Smart (YANSS). It’s a psychology podcast that deals almost exclusivelie with the way we delude ourselves, which, contrarie to what you might hope, is ALL the time.
So what’s got me freaked out? Cognitive Dissonance.
The first one i listened to was called “The Benjamin Franklin Effect“. Talks about how Franklin made friends with a man who disliked him. He sent a note to the man (who had a seriously impressive library) asking very politely if he could borrow a book that was excellent and very rare. The man was like “Sure! Here you go.” Franklin reads it and sends it back to the fellow with a polite thank you note. Henceforth, the man is polite and friendly to him.
Man borrows your book, suddenly he’s a friend. Yes Exactly.
So what cognitive dissonance is, is you disagreeing with you. But your brain can’t handle it. So it fixes it.
Why the heck would you lend a rare and expensive book to someone you don’t like? You wouldn’t. You must like them.
I’d list all the experiments they’ve done with this principle, but it’s seriouslie unnerving. Why is it unnerving?
So what these studies show is that say I hold a belief. I believe that the earth is flat. Some guy comes along and proves that it’s not. I have two options now. I can believe him, which might happen, OR I can continue believing that it’s flat and will consquently, argue in perfect honesty that the earth is flat.
An example. People enroll in a study, they get paid a small amount of money for helping out. Group A (1 third of participants) is asked to return the money because the researcher had been using his personal funds and was running out of money. Group B (1 third of participants) is asked to return the money because the psychology department is running low on funds. Group C (1 third of participants) is not asked anything.
Group A will tend to have friendlier feelings toward the researcher.
Group B will tend to like the researcher less than Group C.
Group C will tend to like researcher more than C but less than A.
You tend to like people you do favors for. And you tend to dislike people you’ve harmed.
This is not the only crazie brain thing they talk about. If you have any interest in the way your brain works, I seriously suggest that you check out the You Are Not So Smart podcast.
Listen to someone you disagree talk about something for ten minutes without exhibiting signs of distress or disagreeing with them out loud.
Ask someone to do you a small personal favor. Thank them for it. Let me know how that goes.