Thursday, September 8, 2011

Attitude Inoculation Theory

A psychologist who teaches at Azusa Pacific University participated in the school's orientation weekend and introduced the parents to the "Attitude Inoculation Theory."  The idea is that the body develops immunity when exposed to weakened counterarguments.  At first, the shot may cause harm to the body and the body begins a counterattack. Eventually, the body is stronger and can handle more potent attacks as a result of the inoculation.

Social psychologist William J. McGuire became interested in this idea when nine US prisoners of war decided to remain in North Korea.  The first step to prevent "persuasion" is to be warned of a future attack.  A shot is given, that is, a weak argument.  When the argument is presented, the person receiving the shot can fight back and develop strong counter-arguments based on preexisting thoughts and beliefs.

Getting a quality education is like getting shots.  Students may get sick in the short run, however, by graduation, they have been exposed to a wide assortment of ideas different from their own.  They graduate with a broader perspective of the world around them because they have been "exposed" to many people who think differently.

Challenge yourself to learn more about the world around you.  Before you get into deep waters, make sure you get your shots.  This will allow you to maintain a healthy attitude.

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