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Challenging Beliefs: Why It's So Hard to Change Your Mind

Jorg Schreler

It seems like it should be simple. When someone believes something that isn't true, just give them the facts. Show them the evidence, and they'll change their mind. Facts, however, are surprisingly easy to disregard when they threaten a person's closely held beliefs. 

"Certain beliefs are harder to change than others," says Zlatan Krizan, an associate professor of psychology at Iowa State University.

"You have beliefs that are long held, that are never really refuted because you've had so many confirmations, things like the fact that the Earth is round, and that England is a real country. Then when it gets more interesting are beliefs that are central to someone's sense of self or identify - very often those beliefs go to the core of how you think about yourself. These immediately become emotional and thus often resistant to change." 

During this hour of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe talks with Krizan and Iowa State University's Doug Gentile. 

Lindsey Moon is IPR's Senior Digital Producer
Charity Nebbe is the host of IPR's Talk of Iowa