Why facts don't change our minds

Impressions, once formed, are remarkably perseverant.

This is an experimental summary format. I was trying to write this text limiting the number of subjects. Whenever I repeat a subject I just use ↑

Study A


↑ are invited for a study about suicide

↑ are presents pair of πŸ“„πŸ“„(suicide notes):

(one had been composed by a random individual. The other by a person who had subsequently taken his own life)

Goal: distinguish between the genuine and the fake πŸ“„.

↑ were divided into two groups. High score group on average discerned no more effectively than low score group.

πŸ‘©β€πŸŽ“(high score group) is told that they discovered the real πŸ“„ 24/25 times

πŸ‘©β€πŸŽ“(low score group) is told that they discovered the real πŸ“„ 10/25 times.

(as is often the case with psychological studiesβ€”the scores were fictitious.)

Midway through the study,

πŸ‘©β€πŸ”¬(researchers) β†’ πŸ‘©β€πŸŽ“(both groups): β€œIt was all deception. The point of the experiment was to gauge your responses to thinking you right and wrong. Now, estimate how many πŸ“„ you had actually categorized correctly, and how many you thought an average student would get right

At this point, something curious happened.

πŸ‘©β€πŸŽ“(high score group) scores showed β€œWe have done quite well, significantly better than the average student. (even though, they’d just been told, they had zero grounds for believing this)


πŸ‘©β€πŸŽ“(low score group) scores showed β€œWe have done done significantly worse than the average” (a conclusion that was equally unfounded)

Study B

πŸ‘©β€πŸŽ“(a new set of students) are recruited for a related study:

↑ are handed πŸ“‚(packets of information) about a pair of firefighters, πŸ‘©β€πŸš’(Frank) and πŸ‘©β€πŸš’(George)

πŸ“‚ included the men’s responses on what the researchers called the Risky-Conservative Choice Test.

πŸ“‚(packet A) πŸ‘©β€πŸš’(Frank): is a successful firefighter who, on the test, almost always went with the safest option.

πŸ“‚(packet B) πŸ‘©β€πŸš’(Frank) also chose the safest option, but he was a lousy firefighter who’d been put β€œon report” by his supervisors several times.

Midway through the study,

πŸ‘©β€πŸŽ“ are informed that they have been mislead been misled, and that the information they’d received was entirely fictitious.

↑ are asked to describe their own beliefs. What sort of attitude toward risk did they think a successful πŸ‘©β€πŸš’ would have?

πŸ‘©β€πŸŽ“(who’d received the πŸ“‚(version A)) thought that he would avoid it.

↑ (who’d received the πŸ“‚(version B)) thought he’d embrace it.


Impressions, once formed, are remarkably perseverant.

(this were studies made in Standford in 1970s. Thousands of subsequent experiments have confirmed (and elaborated on) this finding. became famous.)