Change Psychology: Affect Preserverance

I recently wrote about building up a resource for Change knowledge here within this very Blog. Finally I got the time to deal with some basic psychological questions of Change. I am looking forward to be able to share those insights on “Change Psychology” with you, here.

Description
Affect Perseverance occurs where an emotional preference continues, even after the thoughts that gave rise to the original emotion are invalidated. Feelings are often independent of facts and evidence, and once initiated tend to take on a life of their own. Almost by definition, they are not rational. Affect Perseverance is similar to Belief Perseverance.

Research
Participants in a study by Sherman and Kim learned associations between neutral stimuli, Chinese ideographs and affectively valenced English words. They measured whether participants preferred the ideographs associated with positive English words to the ideographs associated with negative English words. Then they invalidated the cognition by associating new, neutral English words with the same ideographs. Despite this change in cognition, the affective preference persevered.

Example
A woman falls in love with a man because he is kind to her. When he becomes abusive, her affection remains.

Using it
To get someone emotionally engaged with an item or topic, start with some rational purpose that makes sense to them. Then, when the emotions are established, slowly ignore and remove the rationale. Reinforce the emotion as its own justification.

Defending
Pay attention to the rationale behind your feelings. Why do you feel that way towards things? What was the original reason? Is that reason still valid?

Psychology of Change (Picture source: http://inspirida.com)
Original article taken from http://changingminds.org

About Raphael Dörr

Senior communications specialist with strong focus on corporate external and internal communications, change communications, change management and the implementation of Social Media and Web 2.0/ Enterprise 2.0 in each of these contexts. 12 years overall consulting know-how with sustainable focus and know how on automotive, consumer goods, trade, technology and pharma.
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