Motivated Reasoning

We tend to accept/believe more easily and with less scrutiny things we think are correct. If we encounter an idea that we think is wrong, we subject it to more scrutiny - it has a higher bar to clear for us to accept it.


Say we are an Atheist. If we see a article that says Atheists are found to be more rational, we accept it easily. But when we see an article that says Religious people have less mental health issues, we require multiple studies before accepting it.


The reason for this is that people tend to avoid unflattering/troubling information that contradicts their self image - this behaviour helps in maintaining a positive self image. When encountering formation that goes against their currently held beliefs, they have a Cognitive Dissonance which is uncomfortable.


It can lead to forming of and clinging to false beliefs despite substantial evidence to the contrary. Motivated reasoning also affects decision-making and estimates.