A mental state in which an idea or opinion is accepted as true
An internalized interpretation or explanation for an experience or event
A subjective representation of an aspect of reality
Beliefs are mental structures needed to interpret and organize data
Beliefs can be symbolic and intellectual—or based on faith, a sense of “rightness” and imbued with emotional charge
Beliefs may be based on erroneous assumptions and still turn out to be accurate or partially correct
Beliefs are mental constructs that provide substance, content, context, and meaning to our lives.
Beliefs come in many forms: as ideas, images and thoughts, and also as more elaborate schemas, including highly sophisticated abstract theories.
There are many levels of belief, from innate perceptual responses to paradigm models that help us interpret reality and help our brains navigate the world around us.
Belief can occur after deliberate, systematic thinking or can occur instantaneously with a “click” of “rightness” or any other
The source of the belief may be forgotten or unrecognized.
Our "sense of self" can become over-identified with mental concepts or beliefs.
Bias, Dogma and Prejudice
Unconscious beliefs can influence how we think and can subtly change our perception of a situation or issue. Once an erroneous belief is accepted, it becomes more difficult to supplant. Deeply internalized beliefs become part of an individual’s identity and intuition.
Bias is a “slanted” opinion about an issue and can occur unconsciously even though a person trusts his or her intention to be objective and reasonable. Prior belief can bias subjective observation, and since the source of a belief may be forgotten or unrecognized (see Source Amnesia), the credibility and legitimacy of the biased opinion is often suspect.
Dogma is a clearly defined set of beliefs held as established or put forth as an authoritative or expert opinion. Ideas are often drawn from secondary sources, but have little or no supportive empirical evidence from primary sources. Ingrained and dogmatic belief makes it harder to step outside one’s logical loop and shift perspective.
Prejudice is a strong form of internalized bias and is often the result of limited experience both in practice and in theory.
Indoctrinationis a conditioning process leading to deeply instilled beliefs, which cannot be changed without disruption to one’s sense of identity or sense of cohesiveness. Personal identity becomes entangled with a belief system. An intense emotional investment is made in a construct of meaning producing a sense of conviction even in the face of clearly conflicting evidence.