Keep Your Lips Half-Sealed
by Donna T. Darantinao
Being able to think according to how you perceive things is arguably one of the most rewarding things you could ever imagine in this lifetime, not because you necessarily have a say on anything, but because you are actually working your mind to reach a conclusion that would, as the popular saying goes, “make or break you.”
But just to be clear on this matter, we are all accountable of our own opinions and having one is very admirable, especially when a good number of individuals, mostly in school, are compelled to say a few things about a certain issue or topic (even when they do not have one at all or do not prefer to say something) because it is required.
According to an article by Matthew Buckley published in 2018 at psychreg.org entitled, “Respecting Other People’s Opinions: Encourage Dialogue, Not Hostility,” people try winning an argument because one has a different say about a certain topic from the other. While this might be true (and it’s pointless to deny because it is), he suggested that opinions should not be a reason to spark misunderstanding among a group of people— misunderstandings that are prevalent among online discussions namely Reddit, Facebook, and Twitter.
That’s the thing about opinions, especially when they are not backed up by facts, they usually mislead people into thinking they may be right or wrong. This is the reason why opinions should be handled with the same importance as to how lawsuits are handled in court. In a 2018 study named, “That’s My Truth,” posted in qz.com by Ephrat Livni, the brain’s processes are explored, and how opinions possibly trick cognition. Psychologists from Ben-Gurion University and Hebrew University in Israel analyzed the so-called “involuntary opinion-confirmation bias” and came to the conclusion that subjective points of view cause us to process facts more or less rapidly, and thus can hasten or get in the way of accuracy of judgments.
To produce results, the team held experiments with different groups of subjects wherein participants were tasked to come up with speedy decisions about grammatical accuracy of sentences and subsequently rated their agreement with the statements. There was an evaluation of the relationship between the two activities, objective and subjective, to see if subjectivity influenced cognitive processing time in the objective task. The psychologists discovered that the subjects, unconsciously, took longer to answer the grammar questions when they disagreed with opinions expressed in the statements.
According to the psychologists, the results showed that agreement with a stated opinion can have a rapid and involuntary effect on its cognitive processing. Importantly, the automatic and unthinking acceptance and/or rejection of opinions can possibly help explain people’s ability to remain with their convictions and would much likely to resist opposition.
In conclusion, the psychologists said human beings are less rational than we wish to believe. In line with the Epistemic Stroop effect, the results show that people involuntarily reject factual propositions that conflict with their worldview. Moreover, the distinction between facts and opinions hold crucial importance in the event of rational discourse. Ultimately, arguments or disagreements become a springboard to be able to interact with others and to grow individually. Regardless of conflict, we must still and always try to find areas where you both meet halfway, and further understand where you and the other party are coming from, why you disagree.
A good conversation should be encouraged. Disagreement is an opportunity to learn instead of making this a reason for hostility and aggression. If you know what that means.