What "others" and "do" and "they" refer to? I can't integrate my guess to the context.

Daryl Bem (1967) posited that, from a conceptual perspective, people learn what they believe in the same way that others do, namely, by hearing what they say. If a noncoercive context (such as counterattitudinal role play) causes them to defend a particular position, they become more committed to that position. Bem’s self-perception theory offered an alternative explanation for the large literature of cognitive dissonance (Festinger, 1957). It is also clear that external pressure can undermine the desire to change. Brehm and Brehm (1981) adduced that an aversive state of reactance arises when people perceive a threat to their behavioral freedom. One motivational response is to intensify one’s attitudes and behaviors in opposition to the persuasion or coercion.

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    do replaces a repetition of the verb: learn; others=other people, they-other people
    – Lambie
    Apr 20, 2018 at 15:44
  • But you had no problems with noncoercive, counterattitudinal, cognitive dissonance, aversive state of reactance, or motivational response, all of which are pure jargon? If you're comfortable reading this level of English, you should be able to tell us what you think these mean.
    – Andrew
    Apr 20, 2018 at 15:50
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    @Andrew I am studying psychology, So I have some information about psychological term, and its separated from my knowledge of English.
    – user52346
    Apr 20, 2018 at 15:59
  • I think what I said was very obvious.
    – user52346
    Apr 20, 2018 at 16:08
  • The first sentence is clumsy / semantically flawed. The writer doesn't mean people learn what they believe in the same way that other [people] learn [what they believe], but that's the only syntactically valid way to interpret the words as written. What he actually means is people learn what they believe in the same way they learn other things. Or perhaps People learn [stuff] the same way everyone else learns [stuff], but then one would have to ask What does it mean to contrast [all] people with other people? Who are those "people", if they're not everybody? Apr 20, 2018 at 16:15

1 Answer 1


Here "others" refers to the people who are listening and "they" refers to the people who are talking and also learning what "they" believe.

To clarify, person A and B are talking. We can rewrite the quote as clearly as possible

Person A learns what Person A believes the same way Person B learns what Person A believes: by listening to what Person A says...

In other words, the researchers suggest that a person does not know their own belief until they hear themselves articulate it.

  • Thank you very much. It was really helpful. Do you agree that the original phrase (in my post) is misleading? Cause it apparently means Person A learns what Person A believes the same way Person B learns what Person B believes: by listening to what Person A (or B!) says... (Which is meaningless!)
    – user52346
    Apr 20, 2018 at 16:05
  • This paragraph takes something that is hard to articulate clearly and does a poor/middling job at it. Having said that, I don't think it's misleading; it's just hard to read. For people in this area I'm sure the context makes it very clear what is intended. I had to do a double take but it was plenty clear to me as well and this is decidedly not my area.
    – farnsy
    Apr 20, 2018 at 19:23
  • Ok thank. I meant the sentence itself. the context (rest of the paragrap) also was not sufficient in my opinion, maybe cause it is my area, and I didn't get it! :-) Thanks anyway
    – user52346
    Apr 21, 2018 at 8:55

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