Why Changing Somebody’s Mind, or Yours, Is Hard to Do Our opinions are castle walls, built to keep us safe. We want to fit in, to bond with others, and to earn the respect and approval of our peers. How do the visuals support Kolbert's main claim? One way to visualize this distinction is by mapping beliefs on a spectrum. And that’s an admission that most minds aren’t willing to make. Years ago, Ben Casnocha mentioned an idea to me that I haven't been able to shake: The people who are most likely to change our minds are the ones we agree with on 98 percent of topics. Nyhan’s work has shown that correcting people’s misperceptions often doesn’t work, and worse, sometimes it creates a backfire effect, making people endorse their misperceptions even more strongly. These are more often disputes over values, Kahan says, about what kind of society people want and which group or politician aligns with that. In a 1967 study, researchers had undergrads listen to some pre-recorded speeches, with a catch—the speeches were pretty staticky. 4 … “For desired conclusions,” he writes, “it is as if we ask ourselves ‘Can I believe this?’, but for unpalatable conclusions we ask, ‘Must I believe this?’” People come to some information seeking permission to believe, and to other information looking for escape routes. They want to save face and avoid looking stupid. So some researchers have suggested motivated reasoning may have developed as a “shield against manipulation.” A tendency to stick with what they already believe could help protect people from being taken in by every huckster with a convincing tale who comes along. Not that news articles are never biased, but a hypothetical perfectly evenhanded piece of journalism, that fairly and neutrally represented all sides would still likely be seen as biased by people on each side.
There are facts, and there are beliefs, and there are things you want so badly to believe that they become as facts to you. Doctors continue to preach the ills of dietary fat despite emerging research to the contrary.
I think once they’ve hit denial, they’re too far gone and there’s not a lot you can do to save them.”. My heart rate would skyrocket, I would tense up, and my answer would reflect the disdain with which I viewed the antagonistic question (and the questioner).
These days, he dedicates part of his practice to working with former cult members and family members of people in cults. As my colleague Robinson Meyer reported, in recent months there’s been an uptick in progressive fake news, stories that claim Trump is about to be arrested or that his administration is preparing for a coup.
The opposite was true for those who opposed capital punishment. 7, Each time you attack a bad idea, you are feeding the very monster you are trying to destroy. At least not when it really counts. The closer you are to someone, the more likely it becomes that the one or two beliefs you don't share will bleed over into your own mind and shape your thinking. SHARE. The gap is too wide. Since then, I’ve discovered a significant problem with this approach. So what would get someone to change their mind about a false belief that is deeply tied to their identity? Researchers used a group of students who had different opinions on capital punishment. The further away an idea is from your current position, the more likely you are to reject it outright. Facts usually don't change minds because people's beliefs pre-determine which facts they consider valid or relevant. The economist J.K. Galbraith once wrote, “Faced with a choice between changing one’s mind and proving there is no need to do so, almost everyone gets busy with the proof.”, Leo Tolstoy was even bolder: “The most difficult subjects can be explained to the most slow-witted man if he has not formed any idea of them already; but the simplest thing cannot be made clear to the most intelligent man if he is firmly persuaded that he knows already, without a shadow of doubt, what is laid before him.”. “Because it threatens their worldview or self-concept,” they wrote. “If you negate a frame, you have to activate the frame, because you have to know what you’re negating,” he says. In Atomic Habits, I wrote, “Humans are herd animals. Written by Ozan Varol Sep 8, 2017 . Instead, show him how renewable energy will provide job security to his grandchildren.
Farhad Manjoo’s book, True Enough: Learning to Live in a Post-Fact Society, sounds like it could have come out yesterday—with its argument about how the media is fragmenting, how belief beats out fact, and how objective reality itself gets questioned—but it was actually published in 2008. Curiosity is the driving force. What is the main idea or point of the article?
Changing others’ minds, or our own, is a tricky business. A group of researchers at Dartmouth College wondered the same thing.
You can't jump down the spectrum. The answers are based on science and general facts. Written by Ozan Varol Sep 8, 2017 . If you had asked me this question—How do you change a mind?—two years ago, I would have given you a different answer.
But what does it mean if a person agrees with the statement?”. Or, something else? In my early years in academia, I would tend to get defensive when someone challenged one of my arguments during a presentation. Sorry, we cannot sign you up right now. Ask yourself, “What fact would change one of my strongly held opinions?” If the answer is “no fact would change my opinion,” you’re in trouble.
“The more that people trust those who are like themselves—the more they trust people in their own town, say—the more they distrust strangers.”. And media coverage makes that worse. Does she want readers to behave in a different way? “When I was doing fieldwork in small villages in Africa, I've seen examples of people who have a strange belief,” he says. Surprised?
Presumably, you want to criticize bad ideas because you think the world would be better off if fewer people believed them.
Surprisingly, this "appeal to the facts" strategy isn't much more effective than the schoolyard taunt approach. This insight not only explains why we might hold our tongue at a dinner party or look the other way when our parents say something offensive, but also reveals a better way to change the minds of others. Convincing someone to change their mind is really the process of convincing them to change their tribe. If you had asked me this question–How do you change a mind?–two years ago, I would have given you a different answer. So people high on the particularized-trust scale would be more likely to believe information that comes from others in their groups, and if those groups are ideological, the people sharing that information probably already agree with them. Kahan has previously written that whether people “believe” in evolution or not has nothing to do with whether they understand the theory of it—saying you don’t believe in evolution is just another way of saying you’re religious.
We friend people like us on Facebook. Another example is nagging. please attached is the question a, Who is the audience that Kolbert is addressing? Part of the problem is that society has advanced to the point that believing what’s true often means accepting things you don’t have any firsthand experience of and that you may not completely understand. With a book, the conversation takes place inside someone's head and without the risk of being judged by others. In a famous study, Festinger and his colleagues embedded themselves with a doomsday prophet named Dorothy Martin and her cult of followers who believed that spacemen called the Guardians were coming to collect them in flying saucers, to save them from a coming flood. We all tend to identify with our beliefs and arguments. And that’s it. But of course there are areas where facts can make a difference. As you’ve probably guessed by now, those who supported capital punishment said the pro-deterrence data was highly credible, while the anti-deterrence data was not. The challenge is to figure out what that thing is and adjust your frequency. That was when Shaw realized he was being lied to. “I think that would reduce virality, and then you could imagine that would perhaps cut down on sharing false information,” Manjoo says. They assemble an array of facts that support their own position and will thus convince other people of the error of their ways. And in the study at least, it worked. A possible solution, and one that I’ve adopted in my own life, is to put a healthy separation between you and the products of you.
In areas where you lack expertise, you have to rely on trust. And in modern America, one of the groups that people have most intensely hitched their identities to is their political party.
“Most people have no reason to have a position on climate change aside from expression of their identity,” Kahan says. Sometimes the speeches were about smoking—either linking it to cancer, or disputing that link—and sometimes it was a speech attacking Christianity. TheAtlantic.com Copyright (c) 2020 by The Atlantic Monthly Group. Share a meal. Written by You could hear the dissonance humming within them. Facts Don’t Change People’s Minds. Spreading a tall tale also gives people something even more important than false expertise—it lets them know who’s on their side. How do such behaviors serve us? It was something he chose. It makes me think of Tyler Cowen's quote, “Spend as little time as possible talking about how other people are wrong.”. One shoves the other backwards. Ozan Varol is a rocket scientist turned law professor and bestselling author.
Convince your own mind (or your friend) that your prior decision or prior belief was the right one given what you knew, but now that the underlying facts have changed, so should the mind.
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