Strong beliefs : a conviction for life

University essay from Stockholms universitet/Psykologiska institutionen

Author: Emma Neal; [2012]

Keywords: self-image; identity; strong beliefs; convictions;


Research by Abelson (1986) suggests that people’s strong beliefs and convictions are like dear possessions, subsequently not easily abandoned and something the holder tends to fight for. This qualitative study aims at gaining increased understanding concerning conceptualization and psychological mechanisms related to strong beliefs and how the strong belief is manifested and expressed in the holder’s self-image and identity. Five holders of strong beliefs were interviewed, ensuing analyze following the principle of thematic framework. Six super ordinate themes were found to stand out as significantly important in the origin, conceptualization and preservation of a person’s strong belief: Belief; a legacy, Self-image and Identity, The Value-expressive function, In-group- and out-group-bias, Cognitive and emotional dissonance when acting against belief, Perceiving it as impossible to abandon a belief.The “Deliberative discussion” was presented as an important tool possibly empowering people with a less biased approach towards opposing information.

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