Belief Perseverance by Cheri Hiatt

Most People have at one time or another exhibited the behavior known as belief perseverance. This is when someone believes something that is incorrect, then this person is instructed by someone else that their idea is false. Even when they are presented with specific logical reasons concerning the false nature of their belief, they refuse to change their thoughts and cling to their incorrect presumption.

An example of this was found in last week’s episode of The Office. At a charity even attended by all the office employees, there is a silent auction. Dwight, however, believes that if you correctly guess the amount that the item is worth, you will win the item, free of charge. When Jim tries to explain the true nature and procedure of how it works, Dwight will not listen, but continues to insist that his belief is more logical and continues to guess the price of everything up for bid. This clip is what results:

As this clip demonstrates, Dwight held onto his beliefs all the way until he was publicly proven wrong and humiliated. Even though Jim tried to warn Dwight and urge him to stop his actions, Dwight stubbornly and firmly held onto what he believed to be true, thus demonstrating belief perseverance.

  1. #1 by kgoff3 on June 2, 2012 - 4:35 PM

    This is a great example of belief perseverance. It reminded me of when I was really little and pronounced the word “yellow” as “lellow” as many young children do. My best friend corrected me one day and it led to an argument. I was sure the word was pronounced “lellow”. My friend wrote the word out for me and said, “See? The y at the beginning doesn’t make an “L” sound.” Despite this logical evidence, I continued to pronounce the word incorrectly. I think this example also illustrates the concept you wrote about. -Kendra Goff

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