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  • Three people are at a dinner party.

  • Paul, who's married, is looking at Linda.

  • Meanwhile, Linda is looking at John, who's not married.

  • Is someone who's married looking at someone who's not married?

  • Take a moment to think about it.

  • Most people answer that there's not enough information to tell.

  • And most people are wrong.

  • Linda must be either married or not marriedthere are no other options.

  • So in either scenario, someone married is looking at someone who's not married.

  • When presented with the explanation, most people change their minds

  • and accept the correct answer,

  • despite being very confident in their first responses.

  • Now let's look at another case.

  • A 2005 study by Brendan Nyhan and Jason Reifler

  • examined American attitudes regarding the justifications for the Iraq War.

  • Researchers presented participants with a news article

  • that showed no weapons of mass destruction had been found.

  • Yet many participants not only continued to believe that WMDs had been found,

  • but they even became more convinced of their original views.

  • So why do arguments change people's minds in some cases and backfire in others?

  • Arguments are more convincing when they rest on a good knowledge of the audience,

  • taking into account what the audience believes,

  • who they trust,

  • and what they value.

  • Mathematical and logical arguments like the dinner party brainteaser work

  • because even when people reach different conclusions,

  • they're starting from the same set of shared beliefs.

  • In 1931, a young, unknown mathematician named Kurtdel presented a proof

  • that a logically complete system of mathematics was impossible.

  • Despite upending decades of work by brilliant mathematicians

  • like Bertrand Russell and David Hilbert,

  • the proof was accepted

  • because it relied on axioms that everyone in the field already agreed on.

  • Of course, many disagreements involve different beliefs

  • that can't simply be reconciled through logic.

  • When these beliefs involve outside information,

  • the issue often comes down to what sources and authorities people trust.

  • One study asked people to estimate several statistics

  • related to the scope of climate change.

  • Participants were asked questions,

  • such ashow many of the years between 1995 and 2006

  • were one of the hottest 12 years since 1850?”

  • After providing their answers,

  • they were presented with data from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change,

  • in this case showing that the answer was 11 of the 12 years.

  • Being provided with these reliable statistics from a trusted official source

  • made people more likely to accept the reality that the earth is warming.

  • Finally, for disagreements that can't be definitively settled

  • with statistics or evidence,

  • making a convincing argument

  • may depend on engaging the audience's values.

  • For example, researchers have conducted a number of studies

  • where they've asked people of different political backgrounds

  • to rank their values.

  • Liberals in these studies, on average, rank fairness

  • here meaning whether everyone is treated in the same wayabove loyalty.

  • In later studies, researchers attempted to convince liberals

  • to support military spending with a variety of arguments.

  • Arguments based on fairness

  • like that the military provides employment

  • and education to people from disadvantaged backgrounds

  • were more convincing than arguments based on loyalty

  • such as that the military unifies a nation.

  • These three elements

  • beliefs, trusted sources, and values

  • may seem like a simple formula for finding agreement and consensus.

  • The problem is that our initial inclination is to think of arguments

  • that rely on our own beliefs, trusted sources, and values.

  • And even when we don't,

  • it can be challenging to correctly identify what's held dear

  • by people who don't already agree with us.

  • The best way to find out is simply to talk to them.

  • In the course of discussion,

  • you'll be exposed to counter-arguments and rebuttals.

  • These can help you make your own arguments and reasoning more convincing

  • and sometimes, you may even end up being the one changing your mind.

Three people are at a dinner party.

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B1 US TED-Ed married convincing presented people trusted

How can you change someone's mind? (hint: facts aren't always enough) - Hugo Mercier

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    卓子鈞 posted on 2018/07/27
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