Why you can't win an argument on the Internet...

jeff's picture

Thought this might be an interesting read for us, heh:

"A thousand positive remarks can slip by unnoticed, but one "you suck" can linger in your head for days. One hypothesis as to why this and the backfire effect happens is that you spend much more time considering information you disagree with than you do information you accept. Information which lines up with what you already believe passes through the mind like a vapor, but when you come across something which threatens your beliefs, something which conflicts with your preconceived notions of how the world works, you seize up and take notice. Some psychologists speculate there is an evolutionary explanation. Your ancestors paid more attention and spent more time thinking about negative stimuli than positive because bad things required a response. Those who failed to address negative stimuli failed to keep breathing."

Full article is here: http://youarenotsosmart.com/2011/06/10/the-backfire-effect/

lonewolf678's picture

You win Jeff!

Congratulations, you got the final say.

Just Dave's picture

Oh, look at y'all.

Y'all and your fancy "brain science" be so cute.

But seriously, cool article. One thing though; who says positive remarks are always easier to accept? Positive remarks are not always remarks we accept or agree with, right?

jeff's picture


I think they are using positive differently than you. For their usage, positive is entirely something you agree with. Not "your hair looks pretty."

"Wanting to be someone else is a waste of the person you are." - Kurt Cobain

everynothing's picture


That made me laugh!
"Your hair looks pretty".
That is the funniest thing I've heard all week...

Cool article, though.

~The Sweet Escape is Always Laced with the Familiar Taste of Poison~