Therefore, you assume that anyone who disagrees with your conclusions probably just doesn’t have all the facts. If they did, they’d already be seeing the world as you do.
This is why you continue to ineffectually copy and paste links from all of your most trusted sources when arguing points with those who seem misguided, crazy, uninformed, or plain wrong. The problem is that this is exactly the same approach that the other side thinks will work on you.
MORE IDEAS ON THIS
Beliefs aren’t ideas stored in your brain, possessions on a shelf, or files in a biological computer. Belief is a process. To believe or doubt is the result of neurons in associative networks delivering an emergent sensation of certainty, or lack thereof. The speed of change is inversely proporti...
Imagine attempting to reach the Moon with a ladder and, upon failing, giving up in frustration because now you believe the Moon is unreachable. When we use the wrong tools and approaches, the people on the other side of the issues we care about can seem impossible to reach. That’s why I used to a...
Disambiguation is what brains do when confronted with novelty and uncertainty. We use what we think we know to disambiguate the ambiguous. I love that term, especially because it comes from reading comprehension: the act of deriving meaning through context when a word, phrase, or entire essay cou...
Even among the people who seem furthest away from what you consider the ground truth, change is a moonshot away once you understand the nature of resistance and the proper techniques to avoid it. The ability to change our minds, update our assumptions, and entertain other points of view is one of...
The strongest motivation to resist change is the fear of shame and ostracism. As social primates, humans value being good members of their groups much more than they value being right—factually, morally, or otherwise—so much so that as long as we have a group that satisfies our needs, we will cho...
Persuasion is not coercion. It is also not an attempt to defeat your intellectual opponent with facts or moral superiority, nor is it a debate with a winner or a loser. Persuasion is leading a person along in stages, helping them to better understand their own thinking and how it could align with...
There’s a term in psychology that pairs well with disambiguation “naïve realism.” This is the certainty one feels when blind to the fact that you are disambiguating, meaning your interpretation doesn’t feel like an interpretation. Since subjectivity often feels like objectivity, naïve realism mak...
David McRaney is a science journalist, author, and host of the You Are Not So Smart podcast. He shares 5 key insights from his new book, How Minds Change: The Surprising Science of Belief, Opinion, and Persuasion.
Debates have winners and losers, and no one wants to be a loser. But if both sides feel safe to explore their reasoning, to think about their own thinking, to explore their motivations, then we can each avoid the dead-end goal of winning an argument. Instead, we can pursue the shared goal of lear...
Brains resist change to some degree because updating when you shouldn’t is dangerous (you might become wrong). But since not updating when you should is also dangerous (you might stay wrong), the brain walks a tightrope, changing its mind carefully given a variety of motivations and goals.
“We must avoid debate and start having conversations. Debates have winners and losers, and no one wants to be a loser. But if both sides feel safe to explore their reasoning, to think about their own thinking, to explore their motivations, we can avoid the dead-end goal of winning the argument.”
How Minds Change (the process)
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