Vox's Brian Resnick discusses a study on changing minds, which he describes as "the hardest challenge in politics right now:"
Psychologists have been circling around a possible reason political beliefs are so stubborn: Partisan identities get tied up in our personal identities. Which would mean that an attack on our strongly held beliefs is an attack on the self. And the brain is built to protect the self.
When we're attacked, we evade or defend -- as if we have an immune system for uncomfortable thoughts, one you can see working in real time.
"The brain's primary responsibility is to take care of the body, to protect the body," Jonas Kaplan, a psychologist at the University of Southern California, tells me. "The psychological self is the brain's extension of that. When our self feels attacked, our [brain is] going to bring to bear the same defenses that it has for protecting the body."
Thanks to decades of right-wing paranoia and propaganda, even the science of fluoride isn't safe from ideological blindness--remember Jack D. Ripper?