Why They Don’t Get the Message

by smartamarketing

Dr Brian Monger

People use a sophisticated psychological defence mechanism to filter out unwanted information. This mechanism consists of four “rings of defence”:

Selective Exposure.

People tend to seek out only that information which agrees with their existing attitudes or beliefs.

Selective Attention.

People tune out communication that goes against their attitudes or beliefs, or they pay attention only to parts that reinforce their positions, forgetting the dissonant parts. This is why two people with differing points of view can come to different conclusions about the same message. Each of them is tuning out the parts with which they disagree.

Selective Perception

People seek to interpret information so that it agrees with their attitudes and beliefs. This accounts for a lot of misinterpretation of messages. Some people don’t block out dissonant information; they simply reinterpret it so that it matches their preconceptions.

Selective Retention.

People tend to let psychological factors influence their recall of information. In other words, we forget the unpleasant or block out the unwanted. This also means that people tend to be more receptive to messages presented in pleasant environments


Dr Brian Monger is Executive Director of MAANZ International and an internationally known business consultant with over 45 years of experience assisting both large and small companies with their projects.  He is also a highly effective and experienced trainer and educator

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