Why is it difficult to change the human thinking?


Our cognitive processes, shaped by evolution, often lead us to resist change and cling to established beliefs and behaviors. Why is it that we persist in holding onto stubborn ideas, biases, and prejudices, even in the face of contradictory evidence? Much of this can be attributed to the inherent nature of our brain's decision-making mechanisms, which rely heavily on quick, rule-of-thumb shortcuts known as heuristics.

To gain a deeper understanding of the subject, let's delve into the following key terms initially:

Sensation: The Raw Data of Experience

At its core, sensation is about the raw data collected by our senses — sight, hearing, taste, smell, and touch. It's the initial input that floods our brains with information about the world. Imagine standing in a bustling marketplace: the vibrant colors of fresh produce, the cacophony of voices blending into a symphony of sounds, the tantalizing aromas wafting through the air — all of these are sensations bombarding our senses. These fundamental aspects of our human experience plays a crucial role in how we perceive and interact with the world around us.

Perception: Making Sense of the World

Perception, on the other hand, is where the magic happens. It's the intricate process through which our brains take that raw sensory input and transform it into meaningful patterns, shapes, and meanings. Picture a puzzle being pieced together as our minds categorize, organize, and interpret the incoming sensory information. This is how we recognize a friend's face in a crowded room or distinguish between the aroma of coffee and that of freshly steamed Mo:Mos.

Cognitive Process: Advance Mental Processes

Cognitive processes are the activities involved in acquiring, processing, storing, and using information. These processes allow individuals to perceive, understand, and interact with the world around them. Perception, Attention, Memory, Decision-making, Cognitive control, etc are some of the key conitive processes.

Perception of a Human!

The Significance of Perception

Perception is not just about identifying objects or discerning between different sensations; it profoundly influences how we understand and navigate the world around us. It shapes our beliefs, emotions, and interactions with others.

Consider this: two individuals may witness the same event, yet their perceptions of it can vary drastically based on their unique experiences, cultural backgrounds, and personal beliefs. This is why perception is often described as a subjective phenomenon — it's deeply intertwined with our individual perspectives and interpretations.

Shaping Beliefs, Thoughts, and Thinking

Our perceptions play a central role in shaping our beliefs, thoughts, and overall cognitive processes. Imagine someone who has grown up hearing a particular narrative about a certain group of people. Their perception of that group will likely be influenced by the information they've been exposed to, leading to the formation of beliefs and attitudes that align with that narrative. These beliefs, in turn, influence how they interpret new information and navigate the world around them.

Primacy Effect: The Influence of First Impressions

The primacy effect is a cognitive bias in which individuals tend to remember and give greater weight to information that they encountered first, compared to information presented later. This phenomenon can influence various aspects of human cognition, including perception, memory, and decision-making.

An example of the primacy effect can be observed in a job interview scenario. Imagine a hiring manager is interviewing several candidates for a position. The first candidate impresses the manager with their qualifications, experience, and demeanor. Subsequent candidates may also have impressive credentials, but the manager's initial positive impression of the first candidate may bias their evaluation of the others.

Confirmation Bias: Rigid to pre-existing beliefs

Confirmation bias is a cognitive bias where individuals tend to seek out, interpret, and remember information in a way that confirms their preexisting beliefs or hypotheses, while ignoring or discounting contradictory evidence that can lead to perceptual distortions, irrational judgments, and faulty decision-making processes. They arise from the brain's attempts to simplify complex information processing tasks, but they can also lead to errors and inaccuracies in our perceptions and judgments.

For example: Let's consider an individual who holds the belief that all politicians are dishonest. When presented with news stories or anecdotes that depict politicians engaging in unethical behavior, they readily accept and remember this information, reinforcing their belief in the dishonesty of politicians.

So, Why do people find it hard to change their mindset?

Firstly, our brains are marvelously intricate organs, honed by millions of years of evolution. They're wired to seek patterns, make snap judgments, and rely on mental shortcuts known as heuristics to process information swiftly. These mechanisms, while efficient, also give rise to cognitive biases—like the tendency to favor information that confirms our existing beliefs or the reliance on first impressions—that stubbornly resist change due to their deep-seated roots in our neurological functioning.

Our thoughts and beliefs aren't just intellectual constructs; they're intertwined with our emotions and sense of self. This emotional attachment acts as a formidable barrier to changing our thinking.

Moreover, our behaviors and thoughts are reinforced over time by various factors — societal norms, cultural influences, personal experiences—that shape our cognitive landscape. Breaking free from these reinforced patterns requires concerted effort and a willingness to swim against the current of our ingrained habits.

But perhaps one of the most intriguing phenomena we encounter is cognitive dissonance — a discomforting clash between our existing beliefs and new information. To alleviate this discomfort, we often resort to rationalizing or dismissing the conflicting evidence rather than altering our beliefs. Maintaining consistency in our beliefs and actions, even in the face of contradictory evidence, becomes a priority.

Humans are creatures of habit, resistant to change, especially when it challenges fundamental aspects of our identity or worldview. Stepping out of our comfort zones, confronting uncertainty, and facing potential social repercussions can evoke anxiety and resistance.


Overall, changing someone's perception and thinking is a complex interplay of neurological, emotional, and social factors that requires addressing these barriers by presenting new information in a compelling and persuasive manner, fostering open-mindedness and critical thinking skills, and providing opportunities for individuals to reevaluate their beliefs in light of new evidence. However, it can still be a challenging and gradual process, requiring patience, empathy, persistence and a willingness to engage in open dialogue.