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Cognitive Rigidity, Overgeneralization, and Fanaticism

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Cognitive rigidity, or the inability to mentally adapt to new demands or information, has long been recognized as a fundamental component of personality and psychosocial functioning. In what is considered the first great work of literature, the 1200 BC myth of Gilgamesh, dogged perseverance and single-mindedness are repeatedly mentioned as both the root of human survival as that of the cruelty of the pedantic gods who are hell-bent on eradicating them. The Old Testament (e.g., Exodus 7:13–14) mentions the stubbornness (literally “hardened heart”) of the Egyptian pharaoh regardless of the numerous plagues inflicted on Egypt as the reason for the decisive blow that was dealt against him and his entire pantheon of gods. Similarly, the Israelites are reprimanded and punished (e.g., Exodus 32:9; 33:3, 5; Kings 2 17:14) for being recalcitrant and disobedient (literally: “stiff necked”) to the Jewish god. The treacherous nature of closed-mindedness reverberates in the New Testament too, as...

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Correspondence to Shuki J. Cohen .

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Cohen, S.J. (2020). Cognitive Rigidity, Overgeneralization, and Fanaticism. In: Zeigler-Hill, V., Shackelford, T.K. (eds) Encyclopedia of Personality and Individual Differences. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-24612-3_834

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