“Political beliefs are like religious beliefs in the respect that both are part of who you are and important for the social circle to which you belong… To consider an alternative view, you would have to consider an alternative version of yourself… The study found that people who were most resistant to changing their beliefs had more activity in the amygdalae (a pair of almond-shaped areas near the center of the brain) and the insular cortex, compared with people who were more willing to change their minds… The activity in these areas, which are important for emotion and decision-making, may relate to how we feel when we encounter evidence against our beliefs…. The amygdala in particular is known to be especially involved in perceiving threat and anxiety... The insular cortex processes feelings from the body, and it is important for detecting the emotional salience of stimuli. That is consistent with the idea that when we feel threatened, anxious or emotional, then we are less likely to change our minds.”
“We should acknowledge that emotion plays a role in cognition and in how we decide what is true and what is not true. We should not expect to be dispassionate computers. We are biological organisms. Understanding when and why people are likely to change their minds is an urgent objective. Knowing how and which statements may persuade people to change their political beliefs could be key for society’s progress.”
Significantly, these researchers suggest that neurologically, people were similarly resistant to change their beliefs when it came to fake news and religion. It’s helpful to understand how our brain functions when our deeply held beliefs are being discussed and debated. And, other things influence who we are in addition to neurological functioning. A key question raised by these neurological findings is: can we discuss different, important beliefs in a way where all parties can feel calm, respected, and safe? The article quoted above can be found here.