Belief perseverance is the manner in which people cling on to personal opinions at the expense of new evidence that challenge them (Nestler, 2010). At some point in life, one has tried to change another person’s view about an issue only to be disappointed about the assertive manner with which the new idea was rejected. An example would be questioning someone’s mindset on whether to abolish the death sentence or abortion. In most cases, the beliefs that people have formed appear after thorough scrutiny of a myriad of facts that arrive at them and are, in turn, easily defendable. Notwithstanding, there are certain beliefs that cannot be substantiated and are usually out of custom. In this paper, the issue of belief perseverance is presented by drawing on the several factors that make it possible, including ascertaining of validity, logical understanding, and encountering other beliefs with the example of vaccination myths.
In general, most beliefs usually stem out of a logical set of facts and are usually credible (Nestler, 2010). For instance, a student who always gets an A in literature right from elementary school to high school can assertively claim to be good in it because of having the requisite factual evidence. In this context, logical beliefs are usually very hard to change since they have already been proved, in fact, only substantial evidence to disapprove them (Nestler, 2010).
Perseverance of certain beliefs is a result of a number of factors. The first one is formulating a perception about a concept or an idea before acquiring ascertaining of its validity (Savion, 2009). This condition is necessary in order to either discredit or corroborate the viewpoint that one has created on something. This usually leads to having a blind faith in the existence of a fact with no substantive backing. This form of belief perseverance is generally insufficient since it cannot be supported by adequate facts. People who hold this perception are often very passionate about what they believe in and are very defensive when challenged to prove the credibility of the ideas on which they cling (Savion, 2009). Because of this, the belief perseverance taken from sources that are not valid is not credible.
Secondly, a logical understanding of certain facts always controls the inferences (Bray et al., 2016). In this context, it is necessary to get the comprehension of the issue to make the belief perseverance possible. As in the case of clinical procedures for children, people who tend to analyze various ideas and come up with rational conclusions are more likely to resist new ideas that seek either to dispute or discredit their initial belief (Bray et al., 2016). Unlike the first factor of belief perseverance, logical understanding is founded on some facts and can easily be defended in the face of new ideas. Therefore, the credibility of source based on belief perseverance raises no doubt that it is based on the stable facts.
The third factor that influences the ideas of many people is encountering other beliefs that have adequately challenged the ones initially held concerning an issue (Godden, 2012). In this case, the belief perseverance refers to the sustainability of the former mindset that faces the social changes. In the world today, few people genuinely are ready and willing to change their ideologies after encountering divergent views that contradict theirs (Nestler, 2010). In other words, belief perseverance refers to the ability of the credible source that formed the belief to explain the dynamically changing environment. In fact, the general population usually resists change and that is why revolutionaries have a difficult time emancipating people from old ideas and installing fresh ones.
To illustrate the influence of the three factors mentioned above, the example of an attitude towards vaccination is illustrative. By being based on the first factor (blind faith), there exist several bizarre and contradicting data concerning vaccine-adverse events and their harmful effect on the human health (Betsch & Sachse, 2013). Even though there were logical facts (second factor) in form of scientific research and there are numerous health sector actors (third factor) struggling to change this prejudice, it is very hard to convince people not to trust reviews in the Internet and rely on credible sources while making a judgement (Betsch & Sachse, 2013). Thus, there is a belief perseverance that the vaccination measures are risky for the health, but there is not credibility in the sources for this view. With more scientific research and greater awareness about the potential risks from governmental institutions, the credibility of this fact will be possible and cause the decrease in risk perception (Betsch & Sachse, 2013).
In conclusion, it is evident that beliefs form part of the human nature and spring from the several sources, ranging from customs to logical facts and revolutionary ideas. Nonetheless, the example of slave trade shows that people who hold old ideologies should not be limited by them and should open their minds to accommodate the new ideas that are being advanced in the contemporary world. In order to foster growth and advancement, the various leaders need to change their focus and ideas by turning to credible fact-based sources relevant for the contemporary times in order to accommodate the divergent views of every individual.
Bray, L., Carter, B., & Snodin, J. (2016). Holding children for clinical procedures: Perseverance in spite of or preserving to be child-centered. Research in Nursing & Health, 39(1), 30-41. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/nur.21700
Betsch, C., & Sachse, K. (2013). Debunking vaccination myths: Strong risk negations can increase perceived vaccination risks. Health Psychology, 32(2), 146-155. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/a0027387
Godden, D. (2012). Rethinking the debriefing paradigm: The rationality of belief perseverance. Logos & Episteme, 3(1), 51-74. http://dx.doi.org/10.5840/logos-episteme20123150
Nestler, S. (2010). Belief perseverance: The role of accessible content and accessibility experiences. Social Psychology, 41(1), 35-41. http://dx.doi.org/10.1027/1864-9335/a000006
Savion, L. (2009). Clinging to discredited theories: Understanding obstacles to learning. The International Journal of Learning: Annual Review, 16(2), 85-94.