Re: Social Engineering: YANSS 093 – The neuroscience of changing your mind

Steve Kinney admin at
Fri Sep 22 11:20:21 PDT 2017

On 09/22/2017 01:13 PM, Razer wrote:
> Jan '17, from (YANSS), a 'celebration of
> self-delusion':


>> By placing subjects in an MRI machine and then asking them to consider
>> counterarguments to their strongly held political beliefs, Jonas
>> Kaplan’s and Sarah Gimbel’s research, conducted along with
>> neuroscientist Sam Harris, revealed that when people were presented
>> with evidence that alerted them to the possibility that their
>> political beliefs might be incorrect, they reacted with the same brain
>> regions that would come online if they were responding to a physical
>> threat.


> In full with links and podcast:

... which tells us why supposedly "smart" people start howling and
pounding their chests like gorillas when presented with mere facts that
contradict their indoctrinated beliefs.  This applies especially on the
political front, where propagandists have /always/ exploited the
mechanisms of family and tribal bonding to condition people to defend
their rulers' interests, even "to the death" where and as necessary.

But what strategic cognitive manipulation has done, strategic cognitive
manipulation can also undo:  Displacing a rigidly held irrational belief
takes time and effort, but once the conversion process has gained enough
momentum it can become a self driving one-way process - especially if
the old belief system depends on "facts and logic" that stand out as
obvious lies and fallacies when seen in a new light.

We have our little ways, and I just ran across an excellent introduction
to some of the most powerful tricks of the counter-indoctrination trade:

> We’re reluctant to acknowledge mistakes. To avoid admitting we were wrong, we’ll twist ourselves into positions that even seasoned yogis can’t hold.
> The key is to trick the mind by giving it an excuse. Convince your own mind (or your friend) that your prior decision or prior belief was the right one given what you knew, but now that the underlying facts have changed, so should the mind.
> But instead of giving the mind an out, we often go for a punch to the gut. We belittle the other person (“I told you so”). We ostracize (“Basket of deplorables”). We ridicule (“What an idiot”).
> Schadenfreude might be your favorite pastime, but it has the counterproductive effect of activating the other person’s defenses and solidifying their positions. The moment you belittle the mind for believing in something, you’ve lost the battle. At that point, the mind will dig in rather than give in. Once you’ve equated someone’s beliefs with idiocracy, changing that person’s mind will require nothing short of an admission that they are unintelligent. And that’s an admission that most minds aren’t willing to make.

This brief article presents techniques in the context of working on
oneself; but once applied, turning around and applying them to others
presents no challenges - only a bit of work in changing /external/
habits to conform to new internal ones.


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