Wrightylew’s thread about attitude change has actually got me thinking about this.
If you look across the various theories and research on human thinking and cognition, there’s one big idea that stands out. It’s not universally accepted (but it’s not far off), and the mechanics aren’t quite there yet, but as it stands it’s a powerful way of understanding the workings of the brain.
By this I mostly mean that it can account for a wide assload of research; in attitudes, in cognitive psychology, even media influence and that. But it can also apply to practical thinking: why does someone think this about me? Why does my boss change his mind every time we meet? Why do people write such illogical bullshit on the BBC’s Have Your Say site?
There are two ways of thinking: one is instinctive, ‘fast,’ and implicit. The other is more effortful: it is reflective, and ‘slower.’
Sounds self-evident put that way, but debate has raged about what the implications of this are, and how these two things are actually different. Is one emotional, the other-nonemotional? Are they the same thing: just one uses more effort than the other? Or are they based in completely different mental processes?
I don’t want to influence the responses too much by my own point of view, or to go into too much depth, so I’ll shut up now. But how do your underlying emotional responses affect your attitudes and thinking? What would it take to make you change your mind: an afternoon of effortful consideration and background reading or a punchy headline? Both? Or do you think this is all assclown nonsense?