Open-mindedness is a characteristic that involves being receptive to a wide variety of ideas, arguments, and information. Being open-minded is generally considered a positive quality. It is a necessary ability in order to think critically and rationally. If you are not open to other ideas and perspectives, it is difficult to see all of the factors that contribute to problems or come up with effective solutions. In an increasingly polarized world, being able to step outside your comfort zone and consider other perspectives and ideas is important. Being open to new ideas and experiences can sometimes lead to confusion and cognitive dissonance when we learn new things that conflict with existing beliefs.
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Being open-minded means having the ability to consider other perspectives and trying to be empathetic to other people, even when you disagree with them. Of course, open-mindedness has its limits. It does not imply that you must sympathize with every ideology.
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But making an effort to understand the factors that might have led to those ideas can be helpful in finding ways to persuade people to change their minds. What are some of the benefits of being more open-minded? There are a number of things that can affect how open- or closed-minded a person is:. In the five-factor model of human personalityopenness to experience is one of the five broad dimensions that make up human personality.
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Research suggests that people expect experts to be more dogmatic about their area of expertise. When people feel that they are more knowledgeable or skilled in an area than other people, they are less likely to be open-minded.
Researchers have found that giving participants false positive or false negative feedback about their performance on a task influenced how closed-minded they were about considering an alternative political opinion.
People have varying levels of comfort when dealing with uncertainty. Too much ambiguity leaves people feeling uncomfortable and even distressed. Dogmatism is sometimes an attempt to keep things simpler and easier to understand.
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By rejecting alternative ideas that might challenge the status quo, people are able to minimize uncertainty and risk -or at least their perception of risk. Older research does support this idea, suggesting that people who are closed-minded are less able to tolerate cognitive inconsistencies.
While some of the factors that go into determining how open-minded you are might be inborn characteristics, there are things that you can do to cultivate a more open mindset. Learning how to be more open-minded is possible, but it can be a bit of a challenge.
In many ways, our minds are designed to view concepts as wholes. We develop an idea or a category of knowledge, which the psychologist Jean Piaget referred to as a schema. As we come across new information, we tend to want to sort it into one of our existing schemas in a mental process known as assimilation.
In this instance, we have to adjust our understanding of the world in a process known as accommodation. Essentially, we have to change how we think in order to deal with this new information. Accommodation is more difficult. Sometimes new information requires rethinking the things you thought you knew. In order to do this, you have to be able to set aside your judgments, take a serious look at the existing evidence, and admit that you were wrong.
That process can be difficult, confusing, and sometimes painful or life-changing. It takes a lot of mental effort, but here are some of the things you can do to train your brain to be more open-minded.
A cognitive tendency known as the confirmation bias can be one of the biggest contributors to closed-mindedness.
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Overcoming this tendency, however, can be a bit tricky. The confirmation bias involves paying more attention to things that confirm our existing beliefs, while at the same time discounting evidence that challenges what we think.
Being aware of the confirmation bias is perhaps one of the best ways to combat it.
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When a new relationship begins it can be hard to adjust.
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This does involve being open minded and flexible, however; you may have to swap your Wednesday evening yoga class for a Friday morning class with your less-than-favorite teacher, but look at it as an opportunity to grow. One woman I spoke to complained of a guy who expressed interest via text but never called.
When they initially bumped into each other, there was an undeniable chemistry; but for some reason he was hesitant to take it to the next level.
Since he always texted her, she always responded via text. Be open-minded to your own instincts.
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Open-mindedness is key.