Cognitive Dissonance

Cognitive dissonance is the mental discomfort experienced by a person who simultaneously holds two or more contradictory beliefs.

Cognitive dissonance often happens with devoted flat-Earthers when they are confronted with facts and evidence showing that the Earth is spherical.

This phenomenon can also happen even without exposure to the correct information about the figure of the Earth. The flat-Earth belief system is unable to explain all the natural phenomenon in a consistent manner. Instead, they had to resort to inventing a specific explanation for every single natural phenomenon. And more often than not, these explanations conflict with each other.

They would attempt to deal with the discomfort by expressing emotions. This is why in flat-Earth circles, emotions are much more dominant than logical thinking. Logical thinking would emphasize the conflicts among the explanations, but emotion would cover them up.

In the case of evidence showing that the Earth is not flat, usually, they would respond to the person that brought the evidence by negative emotions, like anger, scorn, spite, and ridicule.

In social media, some of them would react by banning or blocking. They do this so they would be able to retreat to their echo chambers where they are getting only the information they want or need, according to their belief.

This is why in online forums managed by the victims of flat-Earth, they would very quickly ban members who bring unsanctioned information to the group. To them, flat-Earth is a core belief that must be defended at all cost. As a result, it is hard for them to mentally process any contradictory information, and they would try to minimize such information any way they can.

Emotional “Ball-Earthers”

Some flat-Earthers are often seen telling themselves that those “ball-Earthers” are the ones who are suffering from cognitive dissonance. Most of the time, they are wrong. In the spherical Earth model, every explanation is in-line and consistent with each other. There is no psychological stress resulting from the inability to connect the dots between explanations.

If some of the “ball-Earthers” are seen as being emotional, it is usually not the result of cognitive dissonance. There is no conflicting belief, and there’s no emotional necessity to suppress it. In such cases, the emotions are usually caused by one of these:

  1. Frustration, because the flat-Earthers are unable to understand their explanations.
  2. Offended, because they are being accused of doing malice.  One can only believe a flat-Earth if they believe a lot of other people doing malice.

In the context of the flat-Earth state of affairs, cognitive dissonance induced emotions cannot happen to the so-called “ball-Earthers.”

Flat-Earthers accuse others of being suffering from cognitive dissonance because they try to deny their own cognitive dissonance by attributing it to others. This phenomenon is called the psychological projection.