Psychology Can Explain How 'Certainty' Is Making People Post Aggressively On Social Media

Psychology Can Explain How 'Certainty' Is Making People Post Aggressively On Social Media

Your certainty is showing–and it isn't a good look.

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In the wake of a year marked by much turmoil, I'm sure we're all familiar with hearing or seeing "If you believe in/don't agree with 'x' then you can unfriend me/never speak to me again/unfollow me."

I'm always in awe when I see posts like this, regardless of if I agree with the culprit's perspective or not. And, yes, all people have their opinions and some from all beliefs fall fate to the "Never speak to me again if you don't agree with me" mantra.

Seeing someone I know explicitly say "Don't talk to me if you think [blank]," always strikes me in one of two ways. If I agree: Yikes, you're being a little aggressive, maybe tone it back a notch. If I disagree: We've been friends for three years...do you seriously want me to unfriend you just because I disagree with you?

Albeit there are certain beliefs some hold that TRULY do not agree with your personal moral compass. Sure, I'll openly say, "If you believe that killing puppies is okay, feel free to never speak to me again." In talking about the mantra, I'm focusing on sweeping generalizations, such as, "If you like anything about cats, you can unfriend me."

As a disclaimer, I have to clarify that this article is by no means me offering up my perspectives on any matter, as you will realize as you delve deeper into this article. That's not my point.

My point is that we all have our "certainties", and everyone is absolutely positive of their own certainties. Furthermore, your certainties aren't going to align with everyone's, but that doesn't make your opponent a bad person, and it does not mean you can't be friends.

Let me explain:

In a social psychology course I'm taking, we're reading Being Wrong by Kathryn Schulz. This book focuses around the premise that we all think we're right and we rarely realize/remember we're wrong. What happens when we do? We take it out on ourselves or other people or try to find a scapegoat for why we were wrong. In Schulz words, "Leaving behind our more thoughtful and generous selves, we become smug, patronizing or scornful...that's when we are fighting with people we love."

Passion is great. Be passionate! It's totally okay to have your opinions, but there's a reason for why people become so condescending, and often aggressive, when it comes to their personal beliefs, their certainties: it's psychology.

I'm focusing on those times when there is no evidence to prove that one point of view or the other is correct. These can be noted as beliefs, or opinions.

Everyone thinks their belief is right (and I'm not saying it's wrong, but I'm also not saying it's right). To go a step further, many are certain their belief is correct.

Schulz points out that what she coins "certainty" is toxic, or in the words of Bertrand Russell, "an intellectual vice."

Why do you ask? The answer lies in the fact that when any one person is certain, she throws all learned social grace aside, thus our opponents "cease to matter to us."

Hence "If you disagree with me, you can never speak to me again, thanks."

I get it, you're fired up and angry. More importantly, you're certain that what you feel is correct. And this certainty masks your ability to incorporate your "Representational Theory of the Mind." Representational Theory of the Mind is the ability people develop in childhood to recognize that there are different versions of reality, namely that people have different takes on reality than you personally hold.

You fail to recognize your opponents may have valid arguments as well, they are not simply ignorant, idiotic or evil, as Schulz elaborates. Furthermore, they may think the same things of you.

And here's the catch: Neither of you are right.

Next time you want to tell everyone who's ever disagreed with you to never speak to you again, remember: Your certainty is showing—and it isn't a good look.

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I'm The College Girl Who Likes Trump And Hates Feminism, And Living On A Liberal Campus Is Terrifying

I will not sugarcoat it: I don't feel safe on my own campus.

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I will get right to the point: being a conservative on a liberal college campus in 2019 downright terrifying.

At my university, I'm sure about 90% of the population, both students and faculty, are liberals. They are very outspoken, never afraid to express their views, opinions, and feelings in several ways. There are pride events for the LGBT community, a huge celebration for MLK day, and tons of events for feminists.

Then there's the minority: the conservatives. The realists. The "racists," "bigots," and "the heartless." I am everything the liberals absolutely despise.

I like Donald Trump because he puts America first and is actually getting things done. He wants to make our country a better place.

I want a wall to keep illegals out because I want my loved ones and me to be safe from any possible danger. As for those who are genuinely coming here for a better life, JUST FILL OUT THE PAPERWORK INSTEAD OF SNEAKING AROUND.

I'm pro-life; killing an infant at nine months is inhumane to me (and yet liberals say it's inhumane to keep illegals out…but let's not get into that right now).

I hate feminism. Why? Because modern feminism isn't even feminism. Slandering the male species and wanting to take down the patriarchy is just ridiculous.

I hate the media. I don't trust anyone in it. I think they are all biased, pathological liars. They purposely make our president look like the devil himself, leaving out anything good he does.

I will not sugarcoat it: I don't feel safe on my own campus.

I mostly keep my opinions to myself out of fear. When I end up getting one of my "twisted" and "uneducated" thoughts slip out, I cringe, waiting for the slap in the face.

Don't get me wrong; not everyone at my university is hostile to those who think differently than they do.

I've shared my opinions with some liberal students and professors before, and there was no bloodshed. Sure, we may not see eye to eye, but that's okay. That just means we can understand each other a little better.

Even though the handful of students and faculty I've talked to were able to swallow my opinions, I'm still overwhelmed by the thousands of other people on campus who may not be as kind and attentive. But you can't please everybody. That's just life.

Your school is supposed to be a safe environment where you can be yourself. Just because I think differently than the vast majority of my peers doesn't mean I deserve to be a target for ridicule. No one conservative does. Scratch that, NO ONE DOES.

I don't think I'll ever feel safe.

Not just on campus, but anywhere. This world is a cruel place. All I can do is stand firm in my beliefs and try to tolerate and listen to the clashing opinions of others. What else can I do?

All I can say is... listen. Be nice. Be respectful of other's opinions, even if you strongly disagree. Besides, we all do have one thing in common: the desire for a better country.

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Poetry On Odyssey: Why?

Don't Tell Me That It's "Human Nature"

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If God made me for a reason and I don't know what it is
then tell me am I supposed to raise a family and some kids
preaching lies about how they can be whatever when they're grown
telling toddlers to be strong, can't even do it on my own
My days are full of questions even though your light is brightest
Are you listening? Jesus Christ my dude I'm asking you for guidance
I know that life ain't easy, but just once I'd like some roses
Instead I get report cards
with red C's like they're Moses

I don't care about the money, I don't care about the cars,
I don't care about being famous or meeting all the stars
Just want a life to be impactful, whatever that may be
Start a movement, be an artist, be the person of your dreams

And here I stand, clueless, but He's got all the answers?
to everybody's journey, even got the cure to cancer?
Not doubting you, I'm asking you, why do you get a plan
And watch us as we stumble round like children in the sand?

Put my thoughts on paper in hopes the headache ends
Then wake up with a migraine and a broken mind to mend
And lately I've been feeling that we're more like mice than men
Leading everyone around in lives of vice and sin

What happened to the days of making love and ending war?
Did we just up and decide that shit ain't " groovy" anymore?
Stop typing out your Facebook comment, take a breath, and listen
How are these States United when there's something seriously missing?

Society is damaged and we've got a mad obsession
With popularity, hate and greed, it really is depressing
And Im certainly not a saint, but I do have a confession
I'm done with all discrimination, hatred, and oppression
Ask me how to weed it out? Not sure but I am stressing
Wish more of Congress would so I could focus on professions

Almost everywhere you look there is a clear and cut divide
Politics, ethnicity, who's "allowed" to be your bride
religion, race, equal rights, what gender you decide
So many starts of arguments, I'm simply asking

"Why?"

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