Difference between Opinion and Suggestion

Key Difference: Opinions are subjective beliefs of either one person or a group of people and these need not be true. Suggestion is considered as the act of influencing another person. In psychology, suggestion is the process by which one person guides the thoughts, feelings and behavior of another person.

The terms opinion and suggestion are confusing for many people that are just learning the English language. These two terms refer to two different things, although it sounds like they are similar to each other. Opinion is a belief of a person, while suggesting is the process of implying something you want a person to do or believe.

Opinions are subjective beliefs of either one person or a group of people and these need not be true. Opinions are the result of emotion or interpretation of facts. An opinion can be supported by an argument, which can create two opposing opinions from the same set of facts. Opinions can be a result of a person's perspective, understanding, particular feelings, beliefs, and desires. These are various types of opinions: Public/consumer opinion, scientific opinion, legal opinion, judicial opinion and editorial opinion.

Public or consumer opinion is an important part of marketing and advertising, which takes the opinion of a group of people in order to see if a product will be successful in the market or no and if so, which type of audiences will it be most popular with. Opinions can vary and are not set in stone; they can also change from persuasion or circumstances. Opinions can also become facts, when proven and it is believed that almost all facts were opinions before they were proven. An opinion can be influenced by culture, religion, society, etc. Gossip and editorial columns are types of opinions.

Dictionary.com defines ‘opinion’ as:

  • a belief or judgment that rests on grounds insufficient to produce complete certainty.
  • a personal view, attitude, or appraisal.
  • the formal expression of a professional judgment
  • Law. the formal statement by a judge or court of the reasoning and the principles of law used in reaching a decision of a case.
  • a judgment or estimate of a person or thing with respect to character, merit, etc.

Suggestion is considered as the act of influencing another person. In psychology, suggestion is the process by which one person guides the thoughts, feelings and behavior of another person. This term is considered to be important  in hypnosis, as person who hypnotizes another person is said to suggest him, telling him about a certain way to act and behave. A person who is being suggested would readily accept the idea or advice provided by the person who is suggesting without thinking or applying their own judgment on what he is being said.

In modern times, the term suggestion is being referred to as heavily implying or steering a person to believe something or do something. For example: Someone saying “I suggest you should leave the premises.” According to this example, the person is telling the other person to leave or heavily implying that the person should leave.

Suggestion has become synonymous with advice; however, it is not completely accurate. Suggestion is used in advertising, propaganda, and thought control. It is also part of the everyday exchange of thoughts and ideas. Wikipedia states, “Nineteenth century writers on psychology such as William James used the words "suggest" and "suggestion" in senses close to those they have in common speech—one idea was said to suggest another when it brought that other idea to mind.”

The Free Dictionary defines ‘suggest’ as:

  • To offer for consideration or action; propose
  • To bring or call to mind by logic or association; evoke
  • To make evident indirectly; intimate or imply
  • To serve as or provide a motive for; prompt or demand.

While, ‘suggestion’ is defined as:

  • The act of suggesting
  • Something suggested
  • The sequential process by which one thought or mental image leads to another.
  • A psychological process by which an idea is induced in or adopted by another without argument, command, or coercion.
  • An idea or response so induced.

Image Courtesy: doctorramey.com, 500words-a-week.blogspot.com

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