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Psychology of Belief, Part 1: Informational Influence

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Psychology of Belief - Part1 Informational Influence The holy bible. 4 to 6 billion books. 4 to 6 billion with a 'b'. That is staggering. And it makes me happy to know, that the bible, gods true word, is still hold in high regard, and is still the most respected book. Christianity is certainly a very popular religion So when it comes to matters of faith, it is perfectly natural to wonder How can 2 billion people all be wrong? This is a fair question. It almost even sounds a little compelling. At first... Consider the following experiment: To the left we have three bars of varying height. To the right we have a reference bar. Which bar is the same height as the reference? Obviously, the answer is C. So naturally, control groups will answer this question with 98% accuracy. Now let's shake things up a bit. Suppose there are now serval other participants in the room with you. Instead of answering the question right away, you must first sit through the responses of the other subjects. Which bar is the same height as the reference? WHAT? The answer is obviously C! Are they crazy? Is there something wrong with your eyes? The test is repeated 18 times. On 12 of them, the group unanimously picks the WRONG bar. Surely, no one would let a few blind bozos influence their perception, right? WRONG Average conformity rate: 37% Percent of individuals who conformed to the error at least half the time: 30% Percent of subjects who refused to agree with any incorrect majority decisions: 25% Asch, S.E. (1951) Effects of group pressure upon the modification and distortion of judgements. In H. Guetzkow (Ed.), Groups Leadership and men. Pittsburg, PA: Carnegie Press. Numerous experiments have repeatedly replicated these results. Sooner or later, no less then ¾ of us will publicly conform with the erroneous perception of total strangers. A handful of us will even honestly came to trust in the group's perception over our own. Even when the truth is staring us in the face. Now suppose the truth is less obvious. And the stakes are much higher. Your job is to identify a culprint from a line-up. If you do well, you get $20.00. To make things difficult, you only get to see the culprit for a brief moment. Which man is the perpetrator? The two guys next to you both say it was number 3. Do you agree? Remember now, there's 20 bucks at stake! Out of 13 trials, the confederates wrongly agreed on 7. Without any confederates, subjects "conformed" only 7% of the time. (ie. chose the same guy as the confederates would have if they were present) Percent conformity in the presence of incorrectly agreeing confederates: 51% Baron, R. S., Candello, J. A., & Brunsman, B. (1996). The forgotten cariable in conformity research: Impact of task importance on social influence. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. 71, 915-927 So what does all this tell us? 1) Through the application of a little peer-pressure, even a group of total strangers can convince an individual to conform to the popular belief. 2) False beliefs can be genereated in this way with statisical reliability, even when the truth is embarrassingly obvious. 3) Ambiguity + motivation = Stronger group influence. Now think about how this applies to matters of fait. The true nature of God is certainly not very obvious. If you choose correctly, you are rewarded by an eternity in heaven. Choose poorly, and you might spend eternity in endless torment. In the lack of any other information, the natural tendency is to simply follow the faith of everyone around you. This is why cultural upbringing is the single greatest predictor of faith in adulthood. So it makes perfect sense that 2 billion people really can be wrong. The real question is "How do we break the cycle of belief?" DISSENT Even the presence of a single dissenting ally is enough to reduce conformity by 80%. So stand up for yourself. Express your doubts. And ask tough questions. Others may often secretly agree, needing only your example before speaking out.

Video Details

Duration: 5 minutes and 19 seconds
Country: United States
Language: English
Producer: AntiCitizenX
Director: AntiCitizenX
Views: 99
Posted by: movgp0 on May 6, 2011

How can 2 billion believers all be wrong? Simple. The more believers there are, the more efficiently they generate more believers.

Music: Celestial Soda Pop by Ray Lynch

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