1st Edition

Resistance to Belief Change
Limits of Learning

ISBN 9781138506343
Published October 8, 2019 by Routledge
302 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations

USD $52.95

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Book Description

This book examines the human proclivity to resist changing our beliefs. Drawing on psychological, neurological, and philosophical research, and integrating topics as wide ranging as emotion, cognition, social (and physical) context, and learning theory, Lao and Young explore why this resistance to change impedes our learning and progression. They also suggest that failure to adapt our beliefs to available and informed evidence can incur costs that may be seen in personal growth, politics, science, law, medicine, education, and business.

Resistance to Belief Change explores the various manifestations of resistance, including overt, discursive, and especially inertial forms of resistance. As well as the influential factors that can impact upon them, the book also examines how the self-directed learner, as well as teachers, may structure the learning experience to overcome resistance and facilitate progressive and adaptive learning.

Lao and Young find that the impediments to learning and resistance to change are far more prevalent and costly than previously suggested in research, and so this book will be of interest to a range of people in cognitive development, social psychology, and clinical and educational psychology.

Table of Contents


Chapter 1 - The Nature of Beliefs

Chapter 2 - Introduction to Resistance

Chapter 3 - The Relevance of Resistance to Everyday Life

Chapter 4 - Resistance as Disagreement

Chapter 5 - Affective Resistance

Chapter 6 - Cognitive Anchoring

Chapter 7 - Mechanisms of Cognitive Inertia

Chapter 8 - Social Influences on Resistance

Chapter 9 - Biological Resistance

Chapter 10 - Self-Directed Learning

Chapter 11 - Teaching Against Resistance

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Joseph R. Lao earned his Ph.D. in the field of cognitive development from Teachers College, Columbia University. As an Adjunct Associate Professor of Psychology and Education at Teachers College, and a  full-time Senior Lecturer at Hunter College, in the City University of New York, and elsewhere, Dr. Lao has taught undergraduate and graduate courses in Experimental Psychology, Human Development, Learning, and Cognitive Development for more than 20 years.

Jason Young earned his Ph.D. in social psychology from the University of Minnesota. As a full-time Associate Professor at Hunter College, in the City University of New York, and elsewhere, Professor Young has taught undergraduate and graduate courses in social psychology over the past 30 years, including Introduction to Social Psychology, Research Methods in Social Psychology, the Psychology of Prediction, and The Psychology of Attitudes and Persuasion.


"Joe Lao draws from a remarkably broad array of sources in psychology and philosophy to carefully address one of the most critical questions of today: How do we know what to believe?" - Deanna Kuhn, Professor of Psychology and Education at Teachers College, Columbia University, USA