This below quote is talking about Cognitive Dissonance in relation to auto mechanics, but this really helped me understand why Taiwanese people often won’t accept a fact about something.
For example I could spend hours explaining to someone in detail how many of (if not most of) the police here are crooked gangsters that rape/rob/steal and lie…they just refuse to believe.
I can spend an hour explaining why it’s safer to drive with your headlights on in the middle of the day…showing them statisics and studys…and still the next time I see them their headlight is off.
Maybe next time I try to explain something different from their current belief I should get them to read about Cognitive Dissonance first.
Psychologists know that when people are confronted by information that goes against their pre-existing ideas, the result is cognitive dissonance, a sort of “static” in the thinking process. It doesn’t matter how smart a person is … cognitive dissonance occurs in highly intelligent people !!
When someone receives information that is opposite to what they think, cognitive dissonance can discredit that information, so that the person won’t seriously consider it. In fact, if a new idea drastically opposes one’s previously held ideas, the threatening info won’t enter their consciousness at all !!! The idea becomes simply ‘unthinkable’ that it could possibly be true, even with things that are totally obvious to an outside “impartial” observer.
Cognitive dissonance is a primitive, yet amazingly powerful self-preservation mechanism which can completely override the natural human desire for truth !!! It’s also the main reason that it’s so hard for some to re-think new ideas about how horsepower can be achieved.
Here’s a real world example:
Many years ago an engine builder bought an engine from one of my customers at the end of the race season to find out why it was so fast. There it was: high velocity (smaller than stock) ports and there was no way I could hide the secret from my competition any longer.
Needless to say, I wasn’t too happy about it.
To my surprise… after seeing the inside secret to my customers success, seeing the race wins and seeing high speed of the bike, the engine builder refused to see that smaller ports worked, and refused to even try it. That’s the incredible power of cognitive dissonance