A “Northwestern University [study has] found that when people’s confidence in their beliefs is shaken, they become stronger advocates for those beliefs.” In other words, the more we challenge someone’s beliefs (even with observable and provable facts to the contrary), the more vehemently they will hold on to those beliefs.

We seem reluctant or unable to self-reflect and critically evaluate our beliefs, preferring instead to defend our ego and spare ourselves the agony of cognitive dissonance at all costs.

And we also feel better the more other people believe in the same thing – hence the predilection for proselytizing.

There appears to be a link between doubt and advocacy too. The less confident we are about a subject or belief, the more likely we are to explain, justify and persuade others of its merits. In other words, those who most strongly try to “convert” you are the ones whose beliefs are the shakiest. “…people evangelise to strengthen their own faltering beliefs. … the advocacy might in fact signal that the individual is boiling over with doubt.”

Weird but feels right, no?

How does this affect how your business communicates and markets?

Do you doubt your product/service/value? How much?

How much explaining and justifying do you do on your website and printed materials?

Full article at Discover Magazine.