Wednesday, May 6, 2009

• • • Attitude Polarization and the future of our race !

Attitude polarization, also known as belief polarization, occurs when people who have a belief or attitude interpret evidence for or against that belief/attitude selectively, in a way that shows a bias in favor of their current view. If they are given evidence that agrees with their belief, they accept that it supports their position. If they are given evidence that contradicts their belief, they either ignore the evidence, criticize it, or reinterpret it so that it also supports their original view. According to Cordelia Fine, a Research Associate, at the Center for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics, belief polarization can explain why we don't seek out views that challenge us. -- Wikipedia

It means that learning behavior is likely to be influenced by 'myside bias 'or irrational belief persistence' as opposed to learning behavior based on objective data, according to Ludwing's and Zampler's research on the subject. In even simpler words, you are most likely going to stick to your point of view or belief even if you receive evidence contradicting your views. You would either out rightly rejected the evidence or would reinterpret it in a way that it would support your views as well. And if you would receive an evidence supporting your views, you'd accept it without further inquiry, and as a result your point of view would become even more intense.

Another example of this phenomenon that I read at another blog suggested that people would become even more steadfast on their views if provided with either contradicting or supporting research. So in any case views are likely to get extreme.

This makes me wonder that what is the future of human race going to be? Will we be able to get out of the conflicts that we are in, and not just the physical one but the intellectual conflicts as well? Will we be able to, ever, bridge the differences between two extremes? Will we be able to bring two opposite views on table and form a third, more amicable, view? In Pakistan's and Muslims' context, will we be able to convince the ultra extremists and ultra liberals that there's a balanced, central path as well? Will we be able to ultra nationalist Indians and Pakistanis that India and Pakistan can have friendly relations too?

If this phenomenon of 'Attitude Polarization' is actually as influential as the research says it is, I really wonder what would the world be like a few decades down the lane.


  1. but if we have survived this long ... we will do that in future as well ..and when it comes to India n Pakistan .. i think the future generation of us will do a lot better than what we did .. like we did better than our previous generations .. just keep the hope alive and keep striving for the best possible :)
    And God willing us Muslims will someday realize that the conflict is not within us... our religion has always been moderate no extremes on either sides and that we only fall for others agendas :) ...
    hopefully with education being more common we will change the whole phenomenon :D

  2. True, I agree with Fatima. While we always whine about the Man annihilating our own race in the future.. That will not happen. People said that Pakistan would not survive for a year when it was formed. Today, after 60 years, Pakistan is still there and is very much alive. I believe that in the future Indians and Pakistanis will have better relations, just like we have better relations than our previous generations.
    About Islamic Extremism, it is peaking now.. so perhaps the downward curve is just round the corner..