General Question

RayaHope's avatar

Why is it that so many people can not comprehend an opposite opinion on an issue?

Asked by RayaHope (5118points) 1 month ago
35 responses
“Great Question” (7points)

Are they simply set in their ways and afraid to consider another point of view? Do they think that their way is the best so your way has no merit? Is it so hard to put yourself in someone else’s shoes? I am curious since I have changed my opinions many times after seeing a different point of view.

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JLeslie's avatar

Cognitive Biases.

We don’t even hear or see information that disagrees with our beliefs half the time. That would fall under Confirmation Bias.

Cognitive Dissonance. People generally try to reduce psychological stress, so their minds are working hard to make new information fit into their existing world concept.

If new information is confusing to them or above their heads, they just dismiss it altogether.

There are many cognitive biases that influence how we listen to other points-of-view. Another is Halo Effect. If we have a good first impression of someone we might trust their opinion about many different things, even something they really have very little expertise in. It could be a positive first impression based on how they look, or could be they were very knowledgeable in one area. It can be just the relationship too, like valuing the opinion of a religious leader or political leader to the point of not questioning at all.

Some people are more comfortable keeping an open mind and changing their minds. Scientists are trained to do it.

rebbel's avatar

Inefficient education.

Blackwater_Park's avatar

It depends if the opposite opinion has any validity. (objectively)
If it does, it’s not hard to see or adopt the other opinion. It may not change right away, but eventually it’s likely to. If it’s a young earth creationist explaining away evolution or something then…it’s easier to see that they’re wrong. They’re not going to change their opinion because it forces much larger issues that are not so easily resolved.

canidmajor's avatar

And really, please take into account that these people may have already considered, or adopted then rejected that opposite opinion, and found that it has no merit. Sometimes they are not being inflexible, they are just not willing to revisit and revisit without new evidence.

WhyNow's avatar

Give-em hell @RayaHope

filmfann's avatar

People are no damn good.

chefl's avatar

Should Holocaust victims and their supporters understand Hitler’s point of view?

WhyNow's avatar

@filmfann Except me of course!

WhyNow's avatar

@chefl Not hitler… but the rest of the country. To be wary of a repeat.
My theory… listening to Wagner made people mad!

chefl's avatar

@WhyNow Should Holocuast victims and their supporters all over the planet, understand the point of view of Hitler and those who elected him?

janbb's avatar

I agree with @chefl . Some opinions cannot really be understood; nor should they be tolerated. Saying that everyone should always see the other side is too broad a statement.

chefl's avatar

I would not want to understand anyone using the word “crazy” , effectively, “you’re crazy”?
(” I’m not afraid of your crazy idea that you think you pulled some kind of “gotcha” question about banning a bad LGBTQ book.”)

WhyNow's avatar

@chefl HELLO. Didn’t I just separate hitler from the rest of the population?

The statement above, what does it mean?!

chefl's avatar

@WhyNow I don’t know what _“Not hitler… but the rest of the country. To be wary of a repeat.
My theory… listening to Wagner made people mad!“_ means. I’m trying to understand.

I don’t know which “above” statement you’re referring to?

JLeslie's avatar

People do study Hitler, his followers, and criminal minds, to try to prevent Nazi Germany from happening again, or prevent society from decaying.

I don’t think everyone, or even one particular person, needs to spend time understanding Hitler, or anyone else, but sometimes there are reasons and benefits in doing so. Understanding doesn’t have to mean excusing or agreeing.

chefl's avatar

@JLeslie To me the OP is referring to the average laypeople, on Q&A websites, etc. discussing climate change for example, not professionals studying what makes x or y or z happen.

“Understanding doesn’t have to mean excusing or agreeing.” There must be another word then, that fits instead of “understand” or “comprehend”

chefl's avatar

@RayaHope people do see what the opposing side is presenting. That’s how some people (@seawulf575 for example) blow the pro abortion side’s posts out of the water, post after post. It’s because they do “comprehend” what the opposing side is saying.

@RayaHope I forgot to tag you above

This post below @RayaHope)‘s was posted before I finished this post.

Edited x2

RayaHope's avatar

@chefl So many comments I don’t know what to tackle. You beat me down then pick me up?! How does Hitler always come into the discussion? Yes, he was a monster and no I don’t believe anyone could “rightfully” side with him. He is an extreme case but to know about what he did and how to avoid that is ever so important. I could understand his wanting to raise in power, but the way he accomplished that is unconscionable inexcusable, and beyond horrible. Only a truly sick mind would do what he did or go along with it. I did say “crazy idea” not the poster was crazy himself.

eyesoreu's avatar

Opinions, so it is said, are like arseholes…we all have them, only some are more appealing than others.

RayaHope's avatar

@eyesoreu What? Ummm no comment..

chefl's avatar

@RayaHope “You beat me down then, pick me up?! See? How about just debating the subject without involving the “you” “beat me up”( I guess you see that I’m correct in whatever it is) and “pick me up”. What is the pick you up about? Which statement?

RayaHope's avatar

^ Understanding doesn’t have to mean excusing or agreeing. I thought you said that or is this a quote?

Demosthenes's avatar

The lunatics have certainly taken over the asylum here.

I think for the most part, people fail to consider the lives and humanity of others. It’s not a matter of moral imperative to consider points of view (as in “not doing so is wrong”) but when doing so would be beneficial, we fail to do it because we can’t properly imagine how others live and how others come to the conclusions that they do. It’s in part due to living isolated lives where we’re not interested in what’s beyond our community. It’s also in part due to the fear that properly exploring another perspective will bring instability to our own (“if they’re right about this, is my entire worldview wrong?”)

chefl's avatar

@RayaHope You haven’t responded to any of the items my posts. Your last post, says “I don’t know that ” Understanding doesn’t have to mean excusing or agreeing.” is @JLeslie‘s statement.” and “I got nothing.” and “I only see @chefl is diagreeing with me”

RayaHope's avatar

@Demosthenes I think that may be where I differ (even if only a little) I would like to know about other cultures and possibly adjust my POV and see if I was wrong or at least misinformed. I would rather not be dumb to other people’s plight. I do have sympathy for people and I will falter many times over as you all know but I do try. I’m nowhere near perfect in fact a million miles away from that and could never be.

RayaHope's avatar

@chefl I’m taking a break to recoup my thoughts.

JLeslie's avatar

During Trump I was frustrated that people were unfriending each other and so obstinate regarding other POV’s. I kept telling Democrats that it can help us to win if you understand the other side. Most didn’t care.

There is a lot of common ground between people. Sometimes we are fighting when we mostly agree, we are just talking past each other. Wanting to understand another’s POV or their experience can be eye opening. People make a lot of assumptions about other people and what their life is like.

@chefl I also think the OP mostly means average laypeople, so in regards to Hitler maybe we should be talking about his followers and supporters. Same with the people in the US (and world) getting sucked into NeoNazi groups and other WS groups. How is that brainwashing happening and how can we stop it. We need to understand the dynamic to attempt to stop it.

RayaHope's avatar

@JLeslie Well said. I have been told that I look at things like a child. Maybe I do and is that really a bad thing? Sometimes I see a simple solution to stuff but others have to make it so complicated. Maybe maturity and experience will change me, but I hope not.

seawulf575's avatar

There might be several reasons for opposition to a point of view. As @canidmajor stated, it might be that a person already had looked at the opposite view, couldn’t find anything to support there and isn’t willing to revisit it over and over without something new. It might be, if it is a new topic, that the person is questioning. If you ask a question and can’t get an answer from one point of view but can from another, you start to lean that way. It might be that personal beliefs are playing a part. Example would be a discussion about the path the country is on. If you don’t see anything good coming from the current path, you may reject any view supporting that path because you think it is a bad direction. Sometimes it is as simple as how a viewpoint is presented. If you are ridiculed or maligned if you don’t agree with something, oftentimes you will get defensive and shut down any open mind you might have had.

With any debate, there are at least 2 sides. And someone that is good at debate will understand the other side so they know what to expect. So it is good to learn differing points of view.

snowberry's avatar

^^ Well said!

RayaHope's avatar

@seawulf575 Damn, why can’t we have this side of you all the time?! You can say something that is (to me) so horrible and then say something like this! This is the BEST response I have seen from you yet! You mess my head up… how are you so rough AND soft at the same time? You are a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma, for sure.

Pandora's avatar

You can also consider brainwashing. Some people are so controlled by family, friends, or even a group or religion that they lost the ability to critically think independently. Fear can be a huge control factor.
Think about the loudest messages that are going out right now. Fetuses are babies, so abortion is killing a baby. Abortions are white genocide. The left wants to take your guns away so they can take your freedom. Taxing the rich means they will leave and there will be no jobs. There are no jobs, their are jobs but no one wants to work. Migrants are taking our jobs, are killing and living on social security they never paid into. Tons of garbage being tossed out daily via the news or online or by family members.

So fear plays a huge factor. Then comes in the supposed hero who will save our world and then you have the Halo like @JLeslie mentioned.
I believe most people in our Nation right now live in Fear. It is Putins wet dream. We are to busy fighting to notice we are the biggest threat to our own nation.

RayaHope's avatar

@Pandora ” We are to busy fighting to notice we are the biggest threat to our own nation.” ABSOLUTELY!!! Just what I said in another thread.

seawulf575's avatar

@RayaHope I am a crusty old curmudgeon. But I’m not really heartless or stupid. I just don’t see the point of applying the filter all the time ;-)

RayaHope's avatar

@seawulf575 I don’t even know why but I am drawn to your comments (good & bad) I can tell you are not stupid and I would never call someone that outright. Not on purpose anyway. I may think their pov on a particular subject is “crazy” but not them as a person. I never know whether to hug you or slap you (metaphorically speaking) of course.

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