It's no secret that the same message can be received in very different ways depending on the source. Like all parents, I've had the experience of watching my adolescent children reject my superb advice out of hand, only to watch them eagerly gobble up the very same advice when it's proffered by a favorite aunt or coach. There are days when I'm sure that my kids are in a mindset to discount just about anything that falls out of my mouth, whether it's gems of wisdom or clueless, fumbling commentary.
By now, there's plenty of evidence that this tendency goes well beyond teenaged truculence. All of us are prone to get into a mindset of either agreeing with or arguing against someone, depending on whether we think we're likely to agree with them from the outset. For example, watching people's behavior during political debates can be quite fascinating. How often do you see someone screaming at the TV screen in violent dispute with the candidate they were predisposed to like? More likely, the talking points coming out of that candidate's mouth are met with nods of approval, and the outrage is reserved for his opponent. All of this is why two people can watch exactly the same debate, hear the same arguments from each side, and arrive at completely different conclusions about who "won" the debate. In fact, watching a supposedly balanced debate covering both sides of an issue can actually end up just entrenching people's initial opinions because they're so eager to dismantle the arguments of one candidate while bolstering the arguments of the other.
- Find a Therapist
- Topic Streams
- Get Help
RelationshipsLow Sexual Desire
Recently Diagnosed?Diagnosis Dictionary
- Psych Basics