Our brain does a lot of selection sort: it tends to see or hear more the information that reinforce our convictions and to ignore the ones that question or discredit our believes.
Questioning is an approach that can be bad for our self-esteem, doubt is uncomfortable. Thus, we tend to surround ourselves with people that are similar to us, who share our values and our point of view. And to push away people who don’t share our opinion. In companies, it is not rare to lie to the director in order to avoid problems because we don’t want to be the one who will bring a bad news.
An experiment done by the Ohio University confirms this conformity bias. Volunteers were invited to read press articles about politics. On average, they spend about 36% more time on the articles that expressed opinions that were closed to theirs. “If you are different from me…far from hurting me, you enrich me” wrote Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. To limit the impact of this mechanism on our discernment, let’s develop diversity and protect the free-thinkers and the jesters.
Go further with: “Comment prendre de bonnes decisions”, Nadine Sciacca, published by Marabout (February 2016)