Changing People's Minds: Building A Bridge

A direct, upfront message aimed at debunking an existing belief has little effect on swaying an opinion, but if the message first presents the old belief and the justifications behind it, followed by the facts that try to refute the same, a bridge is created, and the impact is greater.

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Communication

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Beliefs Are Tattooed In The Mind

A University Of Iowa research states that once people form their beliefs, they are not likely to change their minds on the face of new information that clearly proves that their long-held beliefs are completely wrong. They are far more likely to go on protecting and fighting for their beliefs.

Even if the new information is extremely compelling and the person has no choice but to change their opinion, it is a temporary change that reverts back fast.

  • Other people's opinions and feedback play a larger role than factual proof in debunking the existing thought patterns, beliefs and opinions of an individual.
  • While trying to tell right from wrong, like a multiple choice question, what other people are choosing plays an important role in the final choice.
  • Being an expert in a particular field also has the reverse effect, as one is less inclined to learn anything new, preferring the safety and comfort of the existing set of knowledge.

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RELATED IDEAS

Changing our minds

While most of us generally agree on the fact that individuals do not really change their mind, or at least not that easily, recent research has shown that this is quite inaccurate.

People seem to be willing to change their mind in order to adjust to a situation they did not want at all in the first place: that is to say, they try to find something good in what seemed extremely dark, so they can stand what they are going through at certain moments in their life.

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IDEAS

We’re swayed by anecdotes
Most of us are influenced more powerfully by personal testimony from a single person than by impersonal ratings or outcomes averaged across many people. This is the power of anecdote to dull our critical faculties. 

Anecdotal stories can undermine our ability to make scientifically driven judgements in real-world contexts.

Defining difficult people

We are social creatures who desire validation. We feel good when others share our belief system. But we feel dejected when others do not value our inputs, crush our ideas, or ignore what we have to say.

These difficult people act in undesirable ways and give us permission to pass judgement and offload responsibility by blaming them for undesirable outcomes.

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