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ryu89 avatar 10:20 AM on 10.16.2009
Psychology: Why does a fanboy think the way he does?

We already know that fanboys are idiots. But WHY are they idiots? This was something that popped into my mind while sitting in my psychology class. Theres a general explanation that fanboys are "loyal" to a brand, because they only had enough money to buy one console. But does that mean that every person who can only afford to buy one console per generation, or even sometimes every OTHER generation, acts irrational? No. It all depends on the type of person you are, and psychology explains it as being 3 things. Very simply put, you can be completely close minded, open minded but highly biased towards your opinion, or simply open minded.

I know what you're thinking. You're thinking, "OH I get it Ryu, fanboys are close minded, with the small exception of the few who fall in the middle right?". You see some of you might be worried about falling within that middle category. Don't worry, I find myself there as well. For a lot of people, its really hard to admit that they were wrong, even if they see compelling arguments for it. So because of that, I still cling to the belief that the 360 is better than the PS3, even though i totally want a PS3 and think it has a bunch of great games. Fanboys, however, have the complete inability to either completely ignore evidence against them.

But there ARE those out there who completely close themselves off to any evidence without any effect to them. I submit that these are NOT fanboys, and merely those who don't care about which console is better. They want to blindly go with one console, and stick with it until the end. They won't argue about it, because they're smart enough to know fighting about which console is better is STUPID. Having that much intelligence in the first place completely absolves them of any fanboy personality that I am aware of. They are however, still slightly irrational, and I would hope that those who might think they act like this would try to become more open to finding what console is best for you, instead of choosing blindly and clinging to that decision.

So maybe you understand a little about what characteristics a fanboy has, but still don't know WHY they act the way they do. This brings me back to my psychology class. We were discussing research bias. Essentially the three personality traits I described earlier as applied to psychologists performing research. See, scientists aren't perfect, and they argue about findings all the time, especially since psychology is a little iffy in certain areas. So what makes people ignore perfectly valid evidence towards one idea or another? It's called confirmation bias.

Essentially, a person with a predetermined thought will spend more time looking for, and put more emphasis on anything that validates their opinion. For example, if a psychologist is trying to determine if a suspect in a murder case is capable of such an act, they might know that says 70 percent of all men who commit murders were beaten as a child. I made up the number, so just stick with me in concept here. If the psychologist already thinks the suspect committed the crime, and then finds out that he was in fact beaten as a child, then the psychologist is likely to jump on that and rush to a conclusion. They will then forget to think about the fact that not 70 percent of every man who was beaten will perform a crime, because it doesn't help them solve the case.

This is the type of mentality that I think is heavily present in fanboys while arguing about which console is better. Those of us in the middle find ourselves somewhat prone to this as well, because most humans do about ANYTHING. What we don't do, however, is let these thoughts completely control our thoughts, and thats how we can differentiate between ourselves and fanboys. My advice to you is the same any psychologist would say to you, and that is to practice metacognition. Simply put, it means "knowing about knowing", which means to take time and closely think about your own decisions. If you think a decision you made might be slightly biased, maybe you should spend time researching the opposite side, and get a better perspective on things.

I would sit here and try to argue that you should teach fanboys the same thing, but as we've previously discussed, fanboys are idiots. This unfortunately means that even if we have a better understanding of why they act the way they do, we can't change them. So you might be screaming at your monitor, "Ryu you idiot! Why even bother looking at it in the first place if you we can't do anything about it? Why should you be looking at it at all if you're just some schmuck in an intro psych class?"

Reader, first of all shut the fuck up. Second of all, why think about anything? If something interests you, especially about video games and video game culture, I implore you to find out more about it, even if nothing comes of it. Sure I may just be taking an intro psych class, but that shouldn't stop me from using things I learn there to discover things about the gaming culture no one else had thought of, or only a few people have. I'm not saying what I'm saying is completely absolute either. I've done no research, merely observed a couple of things and come to a basic theory. If you disagree with me because you happen to be a psych major or even a psych professor for some reason, then go ahead and argue with me in the comments. In fact I encourage it.

So in conclusion reader, don't take fanboys seriously. If I'm onto something here, and I think I am, then you should take note that fanboys can't be argued with. At all. It's impossible. They're logic is so twisted and backwards that they can't even see that any evidence against them exists, let alone give them any credibility. And that, dear reader, is psychology.

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