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Science Denial, Explained by Psychologists | Elemental

Science Denial, Explained by Psychologists | Elemental

my notes ( ? )

Covid-19 case numbers are now spiking in many counties across West Texas ... [but] resolve of ... skeptics appears to be stiffening... the denial of facts is often rooted in identity and belonging, not in ignorance ...

people who deny science ... trying to uphold membership in ... a political or religious affiliation or some other group ... a community. Once a community absorbs an idea into its collective viewpoint, rejecting that idea becomes akin to rejecting the whole community...

Cognitive dissonance ... discomfort or tension... anxiety or guilt... from beliefs or behaviors that are inconsistent ... unpleasant ... people tend to want to get rid of it...: [either] change a behavior ... or change a belief. Most people go with option B... trivializing the source of the dissonance ... or adding some new belief ... rationalizes your choice.. could entail embracing conspiracy theories ...

many other ... psychological states ... produce denial... “belief perseverance,” ... We don’t like to change our minds... tend to ignore new information that challenges our long-held views. (Confirmation bias ... is a related concept.)

“Reactance” ... negative feelings ... when their freedom is somehow threatened ... fear is a powerful motivator of denial...

group dynamics — coupled with every person’s vital need to belong — are at the root ... people have three basic psychological needs ... autonomy ...; the person believes that they are competent and capable...; relatedness — a sense of belonging... social groups that people identify with tend to satisfy all three ... people are strongly motivated to accept their group’s ideas ...

good news... beliefs linked to group identities are not intractable... No person associates with a single identity ... to weaken a friend or loved one’s science denial... start from a place of respect and amity... relationship has to be there first

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