Mere information provision doesn’t change people’s minds. But there might be another way…

A Brain for Business

How politics makes us stupid – Vox. Worth a full read – summarises an important literature on why information provision alone will not cause people to change their minds on issues they feel deeply about.

Money quote:

[Dan] Kahan calls this theory Identity-Protective Cognition: “As a way of avoiding dissonance and estrangement from valued groups, individuals subconsciously resist factual information that threatens their defining values.” Elsewhere, he puts it even more pithily: “What we believe about the facts,” he writes, “tells us who we are.” And the most important psychological imperative most of us have in a given day is protecting our idea of who we are, and our relationships with the people we trust and love.

More on Dan Kahan.

So how can you change people’s minds about something they are profoundly and emotionally connected to, and which invests their lives with meaning and connectedness? The brilliant Gerd…

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Author: Shane O'Mara

Neuroscientist

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