The two recent comments by Paul and Zachary (see below) are really on target and important, in my view. I also liked Paul's excerpt from Kahneman's book.
As for examples of how are minds have changed over the years: in the 1980s I believed gender differences were almost completely due to socialization. My view was consistent with the academic culture I was immersed in and feminist culture of the 1970s. As an undergrad I read (and believed) John Money's textbook, Man and Woman, Boy and Girl where he claimed that a child born a boy could be switched to a girl if parents were completely consistent in treating him as a girl. By the late 1990s (with the famous Rolling Stone article in 1997) Money's life work was challenged, and Money was eventually used as a model for bad psychological science in the book Middlesex. However, even before the Rolling Stone article my views had already changed as I had gotten exposed to more evolutionary psychology and I began to see gender differences as very complex; I now embrace E.O. Wilson's proposal that the large differences we see between the genders are the result of cultural hypertrophization of what is for homo sapiens fairly small biologically based sexual dimorphism (Wilson's language, ha ha).
I'm rearing two boys and think its fine that the house are yard are overrun with toy trucks, cars, garages, wagons, trains... The two (boy) dolls I bought were discarded in a corner and ignored, ha ha.
Similar story: I used to think that discussion of genetic causes of behavior was ridiculous (like other intellectuals in the 1980s and 1990s), now I see genes as a strong contributor (probably 50%) to even things like one's political opinions and yes, religious belief/nonbelief.
Catherine Caldwell-Harris, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Psychology
Department of Psychology, Boston University. 64 Cummington St., Boston MA 02215. Tel[masked] Fax[masked]
On Aug 23, 2012, at 9:55 AM, Paul G. Brown wrote:
Basically, if you ask people "Have you changed your opinion about X?", they will usually, like Zach and Eric, tell you "No." But when you enquire over time about their beliefs you discover that their minds have, in fact, changed. Not by much, and rarely quickly enough to register as an epiphany. Instead it seems that we "change our minds" not consciously, but as our mental model of "how the world works" gradually evolves. Over time, these changes can be profound. But because the change isn't fast and dramatic, we don't consciously register it.
( I thoroughly recommend the book, btw. )
On Aug 23, 2012, at 10:11 AM, Zachary Bos wrote:
One of the remedies, of course, is sharing stories of how one's views change over time.