Hello again. It’s been a really long time since my last post, but here we are, getting back into the swing of things!
A while ago I started thinking about rearranging my question to what influences people’s opinions instead of what effects Canadians’ view of America? I realized that both were practically the same line of thought in my head, and so I decided to go down that route. This round I looked at articles which suggested and showed social influence on the formation of opinions. In one of the first articles I looked at, there was a lot about how people lean on the observations of others to change their behaviours, re- adjust their judgements, and make decisions. I found that this really applies to today’s youth as a collective- the fact that we’re relying on each other to know what exactly to think about certain things. I believe this dependency can go one of two ways- positively or negatively. On the positive side, let’s say you’re going to a friend to ask for advice and perspective on something you’re not sure about, and once you’ve talked to them you make your adjustments or decisions. Depending on the advice given, if you realize they’re right about a certain thing, then moving forward from that. On the other side, however, there are people who rely on others for the formation of their own opinions, and I think that’s where it gets tricky.
Speaking of tricks, the next article I looked at explained the trick to persuading people that you’re right. The idea presented was the idea of a “Myside Bias”, where people find justifications and arguments to support their pre-existing views, affecting how we produce our own arguments and not how we evaluate other’s arguments (The Trick to….paragraphs 5&6). Simply, this means that as we are arguing and listening to the other people’s point of views, we start to build our own argument more than listening to and understanding the other’s side. This comes from opposing sides presenting strong arguments. In the second paragraph of this article, the author, Hugo Mercier, implies that strong arguments against one’s own opinion/argument ultimately moves people away from the view of being advocated, pushing them to raise raise their defenses and argue against this advocated point. Thus, creating the “Myside Bias” presented in the article. I began thinking about my own arguments, and how true this is for me. Although i will commend people for their articulation and strong argument that I see as equal to mine, I start to build my own argument point by point after hearing theirs, justifying my argument based of theirs. I think that as we build our own opinions, we need to be careful in building supported ones that aren’t based off of just one disagreement with one person, using their facts against the opposing side, but looking at the whole picture.
After reading this article, I believe that “myside bias” definitely has an affect on how people form their own opinions. If they aren’t sure about their own opinion of one subject, and then talk it through with one of the opposing sides, they are more likely to retreat back to their own, original opinion before looking at all the information. Let’s use an example.
Let’s say you don’t know if you like cats or dogs better, and for some reason, you need to make a decision. There are multiple reason why you like cats, but are looking at why you might like to say you like dogs. You come to me, and we start to argue whether cats or dogs are better. I start off with explaining why I think dogs are better, in a non-passive way, stating that they listen better than cats do and why would you want any sort of pet that doesn't listen to you? You wouldn’t be able to call them back, let’s say, if they’re close to running into the middle of a busy road. The conversation would continue as such. How many of you who like cats already started to build your argument for cats with mine, even though you knew that this was a scenario? In the same way, our arguments and opinions are built up like this through many situations, making us retreat back to our original opinions instead of trying to understand the other side as well.