The fantastic Irish author and satirist Jonathan Swift once wrote: ‘It’s useless to attempt to reason a guy from thing he was never reasoned into.’
All of us have actually encountered individuals who’re stubbornly and irrevocably committed to a belief that is, according to us, just plain incorrect, not to point out illogical. And we’ve all found that attempting to utilize reasoned arguments to alter that person’s mind has usually been an excellent way to end a friendship.
We like to think that we’re much more logical than that, and that our beliefs come from mindful reasoning.
But some troubling scientific researches have actually recently suggested that we are, on the whole, masters at lying to ourselves about where our beliefs and concepts originate from. This has enormous ramifications in our lives, especially when it concerns commitment to an idea or belief system – or, when it come to financial resources, brand loyalty.
If you’ve ever waited 12 hours in line for the latest Apple gadget or put a ‘Buddies don’t let pals drive a Ford’ sticker label on the back of your truck, you might wish to invest a little time thinking of why you think your favorite brand is the best. Your loyalty may have less to do with outstanding products and even more to do with your brain’s ability to rationalize.
Beliefs Come Before Reasoning
If you ask somebody why they’re an Apple fan, they’ll be able to provide you lots of probable reasons for their love of the brand: wonderful modern technology, ease of use, innovation, etc. But according to numerous studies, a rabid fan of Apple (the kind who names their son Mac and their daughter Apple) first formed their belief in the excellence of Apple products – and then looked for reasons to verify that belief.
In point of truth, researchers have actually found that we as a types form beliefs prior to creating/learning/finding reasons for having this belief.
Several researches of clients with split-brains – people who’ve actually had the connections between the left and right hemisphere of their brains severed in order to relieve extreme epilepsy – have actually shown that the brain will work to justify habits that’d otherwise not make sense. For example, Michael Gazzaniga writes in ‘The Ethical Brain’ about an experiment wherein one split-brain client was presented the word walk to just one side of his brain:
[The patient] got up and began walking. When he was asked why he did this, the left brain (where language is kept and where the word walk wasn’t provided) quickly produced a reason for the action: ‘I wanted to go get a Coke.’
As far as the left side of his brain understood it, the client had definitely no reason to opt for a walk. So his brain offered him with a plausible, affordable explanation for his jaunt, and the client himself believed that was why he was on his feet.
In an additional study authored by Gazzaniga, split-brain patients were shown images so that each side of the brain only absorbed one set of images. The right hemisphere (which doesn’t manage language and speech) was revealed a snowy scene, and the left hemisphere was revealed a chicken leg. The client was then asked to point to an additional image that’d associate with the scene. At that point, the client would point to a chicken with their right hand (due to the fact that the left brain, which manages the right side of the body, had seen the chicken leg), while the client pointed to a snow shovel with their left hand. According to the study,
If you ask the client why the left hand pointed to a shovel, the chatting hemisphere doesn’t understand! However it rapidly comprises an answer, such as, ‘Well, you need to tidy up after those chickens.’
Basically, exactly what these researches have proven is that our sense of self won’t permit us to merely not know why we do something. We need a reason for our activities, whether those activities are as simple as choosing a walk or pointing to a photo, or as intricate as driving the exact same brand of automobile for a life time. Our brains quickly come up with probable descriptions for our choices, activities, and beliefs so about preserve our sense of ourselves.
The Confirmation Bias Rears Its Ugly Head
So, the beginning of a choice comes down to our brains rationalizing a plausible, face-saving reason for our choice. But our brains don’t stop there. From that point on, we’re dedicated to our choice and will fight to keep it.
That’s where the verification bias can be found in. That’s the intellectual quirk that makes us seek out info that confirms exactly what we think, and ignore the details that opposes it. Confirmation bias is typically discovered in emotionally charged concerns, which is why politicians with opposing perspectives can look at the exact same set of realities and come to entirely many different conclusions. This is exactly the issue that Jonathan Swift recognized in his quote – verification bias makes it impossible to use reason to alter someone’s mind on a mentally charged concern.
What’s fascinating is that brand name commitment doesn’t appear like it should be specifically mentally charged – and yet our confirmation biases will keep us coming back for more from the same brand.
For instance, I was an enormous fan of M. Night Shyamalan (who, granted, isn’t exactly a brand name), when he first came out with ‘The Second sight,’ ‘Unbreakable,’ as well as ‘Indications.’ As his movies got considerably more terrible, I still found myself defending the director and actively looking for things I took pleasure in about his motion pictures, even when I knew they were dreadful. As well as though I’m no longer justifying my original enthusiasm for the supervisor, I’ll confess to still seeing each of his movies as they come out. My preliminary loyalty was strong enough for me to continue to search for things to take pleasure in from Shyamalan’s films.
What’s especially worrying about this example is that I hardly felt as faithful to Shyamalan’s movies in the beginning as I presently do to Apple computer systems and Honda vehicles.
We Love When Rationales Are Given to Us
Since our brains are currently primed to develop rational-sounding reasons for our preferences, advertisers work hard to provide us reasons – which we’re delighted to pre-owned, since it needs less deal with our component.
According to Douglas Van Praet, a specialist in marketing, psychology, and neurobiology,
It’s our unconscious tendency to reply to a reasoning even if it appears to be irrational, accepting factual info that doesn’t constantly actually make sense … In a research … analysts approached people in the act of pre-owneding copying equipments and asked if they can cut into the line and make photocopies. The experimental subjects were provided different reasons for the request ranging from the sensible to the apparently senseless, such as ‘since I’m in a rush’ and ‘because I’ve to make copies.’ The analysts learnt that compliance was higher when they provided a reason, even if the reason didn’t really make sense.
What this implies for us is that online marketers have the ability to assist us select their brand by providing us plausible-sounding reasons for doing this. These reasons can be anything from Cocoa Crispies supposedly supporting your child’s resistance to Cascade dish detergent’s ‘sheeting action’ for virtually spotless dishes. It doesn’t matter that these claims don’t hold up to examination. They appear just practical enough to satisfy our loyalty.
With a reason already developed in to the ads for our favorite brand names, we don’t have to do any work to convince ourselves to continue to buy them.
Dealing With Brand Loyalty
While your deeply-held beliefs on social, political, and religious issues mightn’t be anything you care to alter, your brand name commitment might be leading you financially astray. This is why it’s a good idea to routinely and consistently challenge yourself. If you truly think of it, why do you enjoy your Honda so deeply? If it’s due to the fact that it’s actually really been reliable and simple to keep, then mazel tov – it’s most likely earned your loyalty.
But if you’ve disregarded business missteps over the years and discovered you took pleasure in driving a rental Buick on holiday more than your everyday drive, then possibly its time to revisit your emotional attachment to the brand.
With smaller-ticket items, challenging your brand name commitment can be fairly easy. Just attempt purchasing many different brands of soap, grain, tooth paste, and so on. However with the larger products that tend to engender even more loyalty – like vehicles and computer systems – you’ll need to do a little more work to determine if you really do enjoy your brand name as much as you think you do. You’ll need to seek out the unfavorable info about your favored brand and force yourself to think of those negatives when you’d rather ignore them.
Doing all this may not be simple – but it’s the affordable way to make sure you’re not wasting your money.
Jonathan Swift would definitely approve.