To what extent do you believe an authority figure?

To what extent do you trust an authority figure? Is it because of their knowledge? How do you know that what they call ‘knowledge’ is trustworthy? Actually, we do not even know whether they really have that ‘knowledge’ or not. The thing that makes us to believe them is not their knowledge, but is their reputation, the information and rumours about them.

Human is extremely sensitive animal, and when I say ‘sensitive’, it does not mean those five senses. It is related to our perception, perception to information. All of the decisions we think we have made are not actually decided by our own opinion, but it is by all of the information surrounding us. For example, when you have to choose only one subject among the several IB subjects for the Extended Essay, you would ask very naturally  to the seniors who already have experienced the decision. Like this, people depend on others’ experiences and information without self-consciousness about it, and this is the way how people ‘learn’ and ‘know’ something.

Therefore, I think we have a tendency to rely on what we hear from other people, and that is why we think all of the words from authority figures whom are regarded as the ones deserve respect and trust are believable and trustworthy.

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6 comments to To what extent do you believe an authority figure?

  • Aaron Deng

    Your blog post gave me new insight. I agree with you that, the thing that makes us trust an authority figure is not based solely on their knowledge. This is both very realistic and true. Everything these days are based on fame and reputation. For example, in China, why would most trust imported goods rather than local goods? According to statistics, many Chinese prefers to buy imported baby milk powder rather than the local ones. What makes them choose one over the other? The answer is simple. It is all based on reputation. In the year 2008, the local milk powder was contaminated with Melamine and this killed quite a number of babies. As such, with this history of the local milk powder, many started to trust imported milk powder even though it is more expensive. This logic goes the same for doctors, engineers, teachers, and also for many other professions.

  • Daniel Kwak

    I really like your point. However, what do you think about the roots of the surrounding words?

  • Rafter Chan

    Reputation is one of the reasons most people flock to an authority figure when making choices, because they have built a reputation and thats why humans impulsively choose to believe an authority figure. Good idea.

  • Dawn Mao

    Are all the people believe in authority? You said ” All of the decisions we think we have made are not actually decided by our own opinion, but it is by all of the information surrounding us. ” does this happen all the time? Or it happens occasionally, but there would be exceptions?

  • Kevin Ko

    completely agree that the decisions we make are affected by our circumstances. we often follow the mainstream of the society to “fit in”.and forget about the actual answer.great point there:)

  • Eunice Kim

    I like your opinion that the thing that makes us to believe them is not authority’s knowledge, but is their reputation, the information and rumours about them. I agree with it

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