Neural structures

I’ve been pondering what the difference is between the neural structures that represent data stored in our minds that is changeable and mutable (for example available programming languages, the contextual meanings of words, etc) and data stored in our minds that isn’t easily changable (for example religious beliefs and political ideas).

It seems pretty likely that religious beliefs are stored so immutably that people are unable to let go of them even when they see concrete evidence that they are incorrect, or that they are hurting other people. On the other hand, we have no problem letting go of ideas about, for example, product quality (we routinely adapt which brands we use according to who is currently producing the best products). I am wondering, physically and structurally, what this means about how these bits of data are stored. Since data is stored in our minds via the physical structure of neural interconnections, it’s very interesting that some bits of data tend to be more immutable than other bits.

3 Responses to “Neural structures”

  1. Steve Seman Says:

    I think cognitive dissonance is a good theory to start from…

  2. JL Says:

    I highly recommend this book on the topic:

  3. Firesong Says:

    I believe it’s a matter of identification. The more people identify with a thing or an idea, the harder they cling to it, because to change their opinion would be to become someone else. You say that people routinely adapt what brands they use, but an example from where I used to live is the Ford / Chevrolet rivalry. A Ford owner would never, ever drive a Chevy. They’d walk first. And vice versa. That’s where I’m from, though. Things are different out west. But that’s the kind of thing I mean — people identify with some things and thus they invest those things (a car brand, a religion, a college sports team) with all the importance they give to their sense of self.

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