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Some people are stubborn, with strong, absolute beliefs, and it's really hard to change the ideas. They tend to see just the evidence that confirms their ideas.

What is the scientific name of this phenomenon? Confirmation bias? Mental rigidity? Stubbornness? Can you give me some explanation of that?

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Please, advice me how to avoid the downvotes. I've also tried to improve the post. – Revious Mar 2 '14 at 21:51
By "descending answer", might you mean "deductive reasoning"? Also, the connection between the question you ask in the title and the rest of your text is unclear; could you elaborate on how you want to relate confirmation bias to the rest of what you've said? Maybe I can clear things up sufficiently in a quick answer... – Nick Stauner Mar 3 '14 at 1:52
up vote 4 down vote accepted

A few bits of useful jargon come to mind...

  • Low cognitive complexity may lead to simplistic and absolutist thinking, which one may also refer to as splitting or "black-and-white" thinking (because there's no recognition of "grey areas").
  • Need for closure and low openness to experience may lead to resistance to change, which is a somewhat less pejorative alternative to "stubbornness". "Mental rigidity" is a little more subtly pejorative, in that you'd probably feel a little offended if someone called you mentally rigid, but clinical literature sometimes uses these terms nonetheless. Hence it has more pathological connotations than "stubborn", which I think people recognize as more normally applicable – i.e., you can be stubborn without being psychologically abnormal or clinically dysfunctional, but you probably won't feel proud of it, and would prefer more euphemistic terms like "assertive" or "traditional"...which differ in literal meaning from stubbornness.

    I guess that's the sort of cognitive distortion that you'd expect to result from self-serving bias: "I'm not stubborn! I just happen to be right!" Then again, if I were to say that, I might not be biased; I might actually be right! How's that for self-serving bias? :)

  • Confirmation bias differs somewhat from these. Its effects appear when actually seeking to confirm a belief (or hypothesis in a research context, wherein which we're probably most familiar with it), as opposed to when simply stating an absolute, simplistic belief, or refusing to question it at all. If I actually engage in argument and ignore your counterpoints, then you could say I'm demonstrating confirmation bias, but if I simply "tell you how it is" or tell you that you're wrong and refuse to change, that's really not a matter of confirmation bias per se.

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Can I say that all this stuff is really fascinating? It's incredible that most of people knows almost nothing of it. There is really a lot of stuff to study.. and I'm not completely ignorant on this matter.. Compliment for the answer! – Revious Mar 5 '14 at 17:13
You're preaching to the choir :) I'm quite amazed at how much I learn every time I put together an answer based initially on knowledge I already have! I think it's a travesty that we don't teach this stuff in secondary school, or at least require it in college. – Nick Stauner Mar 5 '14 at 19:30
yes! it's incredible. The most interesting and fascinating stuff I discovered are economy, psychology and data mining. And none of this is studied at school. But psychology can really change people's life. My life, at least, has changed also because of it. – Revious Mar 5 '14 at 20:16
As something of a statistician, data mining is interesting to me too. It complements economics and psychology very well. These sciences have extraordinary power to influence everyone's lives! That's a big part of why I'm a psychologist. – Nick Stauner Mar 5 '14 at 20:36

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