Want to influence others? Stop being so rational!
“Ongoing discoveries in psychology and neuroscience increasingly support the notion that human reasoning is rife with emotion. In fact, our preexisting beliefs often have far more influence over our logical conclusions than facts or hard data. Turns out that despite our neocortex and higher level reasoning abilities, we’re not so rational after all. Especially when it comes to ideas or information that threatens our deeply held views of the world.
Scientists have also discovered that humans apply our fight-or-flight reflexes not only to predators but to data itself! When we encounter ideas or information that contradict what we believe to be true, the brain perceives it as a threat and instantly shifts into fight-or-flight mode. We either reject the information out of hand (flight) or argue vociferously against it (fight).
This leads to two common behavioral phenomena. The confirmation bias, in which we give much greater credence to evidence and data that bolster our beliefs. And the disconfirmation bias, in which we vigorously dispute arguments, information, and points of view that contradict our own. It also helps to explain why some people continue to hold on to their beliefs even in the face of overwhelming contradictory evidence.
The bottom line is that we all wear blinders in certain situations. If we want to persuade someone or get them to accept new evidence, we need to set the stage by appealing to emotion first, facts and logic second. The key is presenting the evidence in a context that doesn’t trigger a defensive emotional reaction.
To influence others in this context: ….”