Not only may one have sided with the first version of the story (with help from the radio host), they may also have placed more credence to the updated information that confirmed their own belief while ignoring the new information.
Now, let’s assume you did read the newly available information.
This new information appears to be in distinct contrast to the first version of the story. Which side do you believe and why?
First, it is important to realize that most people can’t be satisfied with ambiguity or without a clear conclusion. Some will end up choosing the most popular narrative also known as the “bandwagon effect.” This effect is, “the probability of one person adopting a belief increases based on the number of people who hold that belief.” This is a powerful form of groupthink and would become more pronounced within homogenous groups and cultures. It’s simply the art of fitting in with a great deal of our bias and opinion influenced by our associated social groups.
Throughout life, our conservative/liberal balance typically resembles a bell curve and often leads to becoming more conservative with age.
“Show me a young Conservative and I’ll show you someone with no heart. Show me an old Liberal and I’ll show you someone with no brains.”
This is a famous quote falsely contributed to Winston Churchill. Yet the message is on point. You see the conservative thought is rooted deeply in emotions and fear. As a professor, political psychologist and author of “The Political Brain: The Role of Emotion in Deciding the Fate of the Nation.” Drew Westen states:
“The fear of mortality…fear of death — tends cross-culturally to shift people to the right. That’s true in every country and every culture. It prompts people to more strongly hold to traditions, rituals…(I)t should be understood as the political equivalent of the way that a child who is scared grabs on to a parent…It offers comfort” (Ross, Janell).
The aging process leads to a gradual transition into a more conservative viewpoint. “The DR Survey” data also confirms this claim.
When asked the question, “Have you became more conservative throughout your life?” “Yes” received 31% of the vote with “About the Same” pulling in 27%. Thus 58% believe themselves to be the same or more conservative. However, it is my bias that personal bias has blinded some of these folks from the reality of who they are as seen through the eyes of reality.
In the end, understanding who we are, why we are and being aware of our personal bias is important in being consciously able to choose our own destiny.
In conclusion, many factors go into creating a conservative or liberal mindset to include our genetics, upbringing, family, friends, life experiences and life choices. Most of these factors are not within personal control, as our perception is initially created by others.
It is said, “perception equals our reality.” This is true but to change our perception one must reflect upon their fear, emotions, desires and of equal importance personal biases. Life is short, we may never resolve our disagreements but we can learn to understand one another.
Washington: WP Company LLC d/b/a The Washington Post, 2015.