Exploring the Human Mind: Are we manipulable? - Persuasion

26일 전

Recently I was having a kind of discussion/debate with my mother and my sister about those acts of "faith" that are exposed in evangelistic churches where the pastors do great acts comparable to that of the magicians and illusionists where they are able to accomplish all kinds of things, acts where they cure ailments, emotional impacts, traumas, in short where they recreate a kind of "miraculous acts". They kept insisting that everything came from a divine power that was transmitted through the pastor as an instrument of faith, but for me they were nothing more than demonstrations of how susceptible and manipulable people can be, after all as a woman of science (who also believe in religion) I am very skeptical of that kind of thing because the psychology of the mind if well used is capable of achieving all kinds of actions and instant changes in people.

Each person tends to have a very particular perception of himself, it could be said that everyone has a definition that describes them perfectly. In addition to having a definition of our own, obviously, we also make a definition of others, basically a way to personalize the reality we have around us and the people who coexist with us in that reality.

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There is also a third definition or idea that we usually create and has to do with the idea of how we or other people can think or be involved and affected by things.

The third-person effect.

The third person effect, like those of my last post, is also a cognitive distortion that directly affects our way of believing and seeing things, basically, this distortion takes over our beliefs, because when we incur this distortion we tend to consider that the others are more susceptible and manipulable than we are.

For example, in the presence of this distortion, we tend to believe that any advertising or argument of any kind that contains an element of persuasion and conviction, will have zero or low effects on us, while we think that other people will probably be totally affected and that consequently, they will modify their beliefs.

Basically, it is creating little by little a feeling of denial.

This effect is denominated as "third person" since basically the people affected adopt a thought of denial so firm that they include their closest beings in this belief, that is, they will not believe their friends or family are affected by persuasions and manipulations.

In other words: We adopt a position where neither the people we call "I" nor consider "you" will be easily persuaded, but those whom we consider or denominate as him/her with a certain imprecision, we consider them more susceptible.

How does that belief begin?

Usually, this distortion manifests itself in most people, that is, it does not involve any pathology. But once it appears, it is necessary to ask ourselves:

Why is it that we have adopted such a belief? And on the one hand, this distortion supposes that we adopt a kind of negation, but also an overvaluation of our capacity to resist an attempt at persuasion, while on the other it supposes an underestimation of the resilience of others towards persuasion attempts...

Adopting this position will only cause the persuasion attempts directed towards us to have a greater effect on us.

The conclusions about this distortion are not totally direct, nor precise since there are many divided opinions. Many psychologists have concluded that this distortion is generated when we believe ourselves superior to someone else, something that generates an overconfidence that makes us believe invulnerable to any attempt of mental manipulation.

Manifestation of this distortion.

One of the main factors that influence is the message, an unclear message, formulated in a generic way and with little specificity and with a somewhat abstract theme has a greater tendency to generate a third-person effect, since we see it as something vague and very shallow. However, we adopt this only for ourselves, because no matter how basic the message, we can not stop thinking that others will be affected.

Another determining factor in the manifestation of the third-person effect is the definition or relationship we have with the issuer. Usually, if we have a very bad opinion of who transmits the message, we will tend to think that his message will have no effect on us. Basically, it closely resembles the tendency of not believing in what someone else exclaims to know.


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This is of inestimable value to me. Some years ago I undertook to assess my beliefs, and was quite surprised at my recalcitrance and seemingly innate resistance to challenging those beliefs. What I discovered is exactly the principle you discuss here: I believed that what I believed was certainly true, and the very idea of questioning my values was insipid. Only by deliberate effort was I able to even approach the matter.

I find the results of great value. I recommend not just doing this, but making doing this a way of life. Every time I do this, I discover more false stories I have believed, that better grasping facts regarding benefits my understanding of reality. We can, and I have, surf on the blithe nescience possible due to the nurturing effect of civilization, people that love us, and fortunate happenstance, dismissing importunate events as coincidence or malice, when the fact is that our misunderstanding belabors our loved ones, diminishes our effectiveness, and prevents our success at achieving our goals, or even conceiving of rational goals, rather than bad luck or the malevolence of others.

If we want to maximize our success, it is undeniable that we should minimize our misconceptions.


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good post!

@tipu curate


You need to go through your post and edit it. You may be a lady of science, (maybe,) but english is clearly a second language and your readers are not at your forethought.
Persuasion is the result to ignorance. The demand for evidence should hold the same importance no matter the element within the conversation.
As for the rest of your blog I did my best to understand what you were trying to write but I had no luck.

I am going to assume the others who commented on this did not actually read it.


"Persuasion is the result to ignorance."

Given the grammatical construction of this sentence, it is unfathomable to me. Could you please restate it?

Also, your assumption is provably false, as I did read the OP. Just, FYI.


In this instance... I was referring to how, religion as a whole, depends solely on ignorance. I could have been clearer. With education in logical reasoning and basic science we could avoid this entirely. However, religion depends on the ignorance of others to trick them into a faith based system. That's not persuasion at any level. The proper term for those individuals, "selling" those claims, should be crooks.


I appreciate your cordial reply. I must say I find it ironic that your castigation of OP regarding her grammar was so poorly worded as to be incomprehensible, particularly given your superior tone.

Let me speak in the voice of Billy Mays here for a second: but wait! there's more!

You now explain your complaint with the content of the post was that religion stems from ignorance, and proselytization is fraudulent and criminal. That's a pretty broad claim from someone who states that with education in 'logical reasoning and basic science we could avoid this entirely.', which is based on what? Statistical studies? Actual science?

No. Not at all. It's based on nothing other than your faith in what you've been told, assume about others, and your own personal views.

But I'm not even done. You see, OP's post wasn't about religion and how it provides a proper faith based point of view. OP's post was about skepticism - the very basis of science itself. Something you should have for your personal world view and basic science, which I don't even want to ask you to define, because I'm actually not trying to become more scornful, but reveal how you have completed a trifecta of irony in your comment above so that you can properly regret it, learn from it, and hopefully never make such a fool of yourself ever again.

I'm on your side @cannabisguy420. I don't want you to ever shame yourself like that again.

You scathingly chide OP for a fairly well written post, which you assume is from someone who learned English as a second language, yet you so poorly use your mother tongue the main thesis in your comment is utterly incomprehensible. Score one for irony. You then misunderstand OP's post completely. It's not advocating blind religious faith, but, after noting such faith can have significant impact on folks, states "I am very skeptical of that kind of thing." Irony the second, you have misunderstood the point of OP's post completely. And then, for the grand icing on the cake of irony, it turns out that your complaint against OP's post is that you advocate skepticism regarding religion, based on your own faith in education and basic science. [Note: that's actually four very ironic things, but I've never heard of a 'quadrecta', and don't even like the look of that word. At all. So, sticking with trifecta. I'm a traditionalist at heart.]

I'd give this thought were I you. I love criticism of me, of my thoughts, my words, everything I believe, because if I cannot disprove the critic, I should benefit from their better understanding. I prefer it to money, because it does me more good. Do try to accept this criticism in that light.

Unless you want to completely reveal your utter failure meet your own standards, understand your own philosophy, or grasp that your faith in what you've been told by your indoctrinators is no less specious than the faith anyone else has. I'd work on that if I were you. I'd also apologize for my tone to the OP, because I care about how I treat people, and I would be ashamed of so poorly lecturing someone so far ahead of me philosophically, intellectually, and educationally.

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I read this blog quickly the other day, and then re-read it tonight. Interesting that today impeachment hearings were held in the U.S. House of Representatives. Afterwards, I made an effort to listen to both "sides" on this issues. I think each side would benefit from a careful reading of this blog. The inclination to devalue the opinions of the opposition were almost laughable. This inclination was based in some instances on fact, but it was evident that decisions were made before statements were heard.
Of course I have my views...but these I will examine with particular care to be aware of a bias against those I see as a third person, a person for whom I have little regard in whom I have little trust.

This was an interesting perspective on an important topic.