Sometimes it can feel like it’s more respected to stubbornly hold on to one opinion than it is to thoughtfully shift gears. After all, no one wants to be called a wishy-washy flip-flopper. This preference for consistency got me wondering how people who’ve made a big deal about being against the COVID-19 vaccine might respond to an employer mandate that they get the shot.

UT Austin psychology professor Art Markman explains how people with different mindsets might respond to this kind of external nudge. Whether or not an outside push provides a way to save face when you change your mind, being open-minded about new information is key to making smart decisions in a changing world.

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Maggie Villiger

Senior Science + Technology Editor

Sticking to your beliefs in a rapidly changing world isn’t necessarily the best choice. Andrew Lichtenstein/Corbis via Getty Images

Changing your mind about something as important as vaccination isn’t a sign of weakness – being open to new information is the smart way to make choices

Art Markman, The University of Texas at Austin College of Liberal Arts

People tend to stick with their stated beliefs. But here’s how external forces like vaccine mandates can push people to do something they don’t want to do – and provide some face-saving cover.

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