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Do you ever get into an argument where you know you're right,
and yet even with your eloquent explanation and
all of the facts on your side, you just can't get through?
Is there a strategic way to successfully
convince somebody and change their opinion ?
The first and most disappointing thing that you have to come to terms with is this:
Facts don't convince people. Especially if they already have an opinion.
We all like to think that
information or indisputable studies would convince us in an argument,
but study after study shows that when certain facts don't conform to our beliefs,
our brains are happy to disregard or simply rationalize them away.
In one study, scientists asked people if they believed in man-made climate change,
and then categorized them as believers or deniers.
They then told some that scientists have reevaluated the data and concluded that
predictions for the future were much worse than before.
While some others were told the situation wasn't nearly as bad as once thought.
But these facts had an interesting result on their beliefs.
People who didn't believe in climate change and were told that things would be much worse
completely ignored this fact, and their opinions were unchanged.
But if they were told that things weren't nearly as bad,
their beliefs moved much farther in that direction.
And the same thing happened to those who believed strongly in climate change.
When told that things are now predicted to be worse,
they shifted their opinions more strongly in that direction,
whereas those told it wouldn't be so bad didn't change their opinions at all.
The facts only caused people to polarize.
It turns out that once formed, people's impressions and opinions are extremely perseverant.
And cognitive scientists say
much of this is actually linked to our ability as humans to cooperate.
A skill that no other animals have.
To the degree that humans do, from hunting and gathering to agriculture and modern computers,
our cooperation allows us to rely on one another's expertise instead of knowing everything.
As a result, we can hardly tell where our own understanding ends and another begins.
Ultimately, strong beliefs don't actually come from deep understanding.
This is known as the "Illusion of Explanatory Depth."
If I asked you to rate your understanding of something like a toilet, zippers, or computers,
chances are you believe you know way more than you actually do.
Go on and try to explain step by step how a toilet or a zipper functions in detail.
Sometimes this simple act can expose how baseless ours or others opinion is.
In one study, when participants were asked to rate their opinions of public policies
like healthcare, and then later asked to explain in as much detail as possible
the impact of implementing those policies.
They would quickly turn down the intensity of their beliefs
having been exposed to their own ignorance.
How else can we overcome these tendencies and convince people in an argument?
It turns out that we need to focus on the common motive
as per by Tali Sharot, a cognitive neural scientist,
that is, focus on the motives and things that you can agree on.
One study looking at parents afraid to vaccinate their children
because of the fear of autism
found that if they simply told them the facts,
that the science shows there is no link between the two, they wouldn't listen.
But when they focused on the common goal of protecting their children,
and explained what vaccines are meant to prevent,
things like measles, mumps, polio, tetanus, and
how those diseases impact children who get them without even mentioning autism,
they were more likely to have their kids vaccinated after.
Finally, humans are known to have something called an in-group and out-group bias.
We tend to be skeptical of outsiders or people who we see as different from us.
This can come in the form of race, religion, physical traits, gender,
but also in the form of ideas. So people who don't share your ideas
are part of your out-group. Studies have been done to show that
if you can find a way to relate to people and have them see you in a different light
to see you as a part of their in-group, they're much more likely to listen to you
than if they think you're nothing like them.
Find the group that you're both part of, and use that as a point of personal connection.
Now, if you ever wanna to challenge your own opinions, or become more aware of those opinions contrary to your own,
then you should definitely check out vubble.
A really awesome new company that I love which uses machine learning to
send you stuff you'll like, but with a twist of also sending stuff
that will nudge you outside of your filter bubble.
It's a cool tool that first analyzes you and your interests through questions, pictures, and videos,
and then helps you flex your mental muscles
with some stuff that wouldn't normally be in your feed.
It's a really nice way to expose yourself to a broader view of the world online
And it's completely free!
You can check out the chatbot on Facebook by clicking the link below,
and then click in the get started button to launch the chatbot.
Help mind your feed, and feed your mind.
And subscribe for more weekly science videos every Thursday.
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How Can You Change Somebody's Opinion?

17727 Folder Collection
kiki published on May 5, 2018    林恩立 translated    Lilian Chang reviewed
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