Why can some people 'see' uncomfortable things while others can't?
Possible explanations from Patrick Fagan; lecturer, author and Chief Scientific Officer within the field of behavioural science. patrickfagan.co.uk
Wilful blindness; also known as the Ostrich Effect. Our minds won't let us acknowledge something if it will cause psychological pain. So we ignore it, say it doesn't matter, rationalise excuses, etc.
Regression and fear of freedom. Freedom comes with risk and responsibility. Most crave a return to submissive comfort of childhood, where adults took care of everything. They want to the state to take care of them.
System justification. We cannot imagine that the system we grew up in and benefited from could do us harm. We assume it always has our best interests at heart.
Terror management. Thinking about death (or the idea that our psychological construction of reality might become extinct) causes us to 'close up' psychologically and become intolerant of other ideas.
Conformity. We assume the crowd must know what it's doing and we are terrified of being ostracised since this meant certain death in evolutionary terms.
Cognitive Dissonance. When something doesn't match our expectations of the world it causes uncomfortable psychological tension, which we seek to minimise through defence mechanisms like denial.
In-Group Bias. Being social animals we tend to reject information if it clashes with our group identity; it must be wrong if the other side said it. In fact, it can just make use even more polarised.
Cognitive Misers. We simply don't have the time nor the energy to process a lot of new and complex information of change our thinking habits.
Learned Helplessness. If we have learned, or feel, that we are powerless we don't even bother to try to challenge the status quo. We just become passive and accepting.
Authority. We assume that those with credentials or in positions of authority must know what they are doing, so we truth them implicitly and follow their instructions.