I call it the Firefighter Fact Experiment (research paper here) I am a nut for psychological research studies. (which probably explains why I sometimes write about them in Our Blog) Plus, I hearken back to my political science college days, because that was always such a moving target of information anyway. (Notice how I just rambled on there about nothingness?)
So back to my Firefighter Fact Experiment and how it relates to kneeling during the National Anthem. Do I have your attention or are you so bored of hearing about the kneel down, that you are almost about to stop reading the blog. Wait… that’s exactly what the research says!
Two groups were given a story about firefighters, and then a questionnaire to answer about the fact pattern. The study was done by Anderson, Lepper and Ross in 1980. (attached above).
One group was given information that proved that successful firefighters are also risk-takers. The second research group was given information that supported the idea that firefighters are not risk-takers at all, and that’s the very reason they are successful. Complete opposite fact-patterns. The participants then filled out their questionnaires.
After that portion was completed, the research facilitator then announced that the information that they had just read “was completely fictitious. I made it up. There is no evidence one way or another“.
In a follow-up study after this announcement, the participants were then asked what they believed about firefighters, and why. In each study, the participants still believed the original information that they had received. The announcement that it had all been made up did not change their opinion. They couldn’t give reasons why they believed the different views on firefighters and risk-taking. They simply had formed that opinion and it was not changed by the announcement.
In jury trials, we call that the trial story. Once jurors make up their minds, it is typically difficult to get them to change their minds.
I think it’s the same way with political issues. Specifically, I have noticed that about opinions on kneeling during the National Anthem. Once an opinion is set, people don’t usually change their opinion. In fact, they just get stronger about their opinion. And I suspect you would also say to me right now.. “And they are not afraid to just keep repeating their opinion”. It’s the psychological effect of believing what I believe… because I believe it! And it keeps Facebook with many postings!
And for pic o’ day, sometimes it’s crazy what strikes my funny bone!