According to some new research those unsure of own ideas more resistant to views of others:
We swim in a sea of information, but filter out most of what we see and hear. A new analysis of data from dozens of studies sheds new light on how we choose what we do and do not hear. The study found that while people tend to avoid information that contradicts what they already think or believe, certain factors can cause them to seek out, or at least consider, other points of view.
Yes, of course. No surprises there.
The analysis, reported this month in Psychological Bulletin, published by the American Psychological Association, was led by researchers at the University of Illinois and the University of Florida, and included data from 91 studies involving nearly 8,000 participants. It puts to rest a longstanding debate over whether people actively avoid information that contradicts what they believe, or whether they are simply exposed more often to ideas that conform to their own because they tend to be surrounded by like-minded people.
Very cool! Excellent hypotheses to explore.
Perhaps more surprisingly, people who have little confidence in their own beliefs are less likely to expose themselves to contrary views than people who are very confident in their own ideas, Albarracín said.
Now that explains a lot of anti-gun bigotry (actually all forms of bigotry).
Certain factors can also induce people to seek out opposing points of view, she said. Those who may have to publicly defend their ideas, such as politicians, for example, are more motivated to learn about the views of those who oppose them. In the process, she said, they sometimes find that their own ideas evolve.
I suspect this is part of why there is more support in the general population for gun control than in politicians. As they get ready to act on their original beliefs they become educated on the topic and change their ideas. That applies to those who believed gun control would increase public safety. Those politicians that push for gun control because they view guns in private hands a threat to their personal ambitions are likely to become even more set in their beliefs.