How Can You Change Somebody’s Opinion?

I think I already knew this, but I wish it weren’t true.

ScienceSwitch

Facts don’t convince people. Especially if they already have an opinion of their own. I mean, you have probably come across people who conspicuously overlook the facts and put their opinions over yours, which is frustrating. So is there any way to successfully convince somebody and change their opinion?

Video – via AsapSCIENCE
Further Readings and References: Cornell Law School, The New Yorker, The Washington Post

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30 thoughts on “How Can You Change Somebody’s Opinion?

  1. ksbeth January 11, 2018 / 5:54 am

    i don’t think there is –

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    • Marilyn Armstrong January 11, 2018 / 11:54 am

      I think facts SHOULD convince people. That people “believe” in things which are absolutely untrue and dangerously so should worry all of us. Because it could spell the ultimate end of our lives as we know it.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. chandlerswainreviews January 11, 2018 / 10:14 am

    George V. Higgins used to deal with this dilemma quite often in his novels, but the outcome wasn’t, generally, particularly favorable. (Nor admirable.) Probably a bad example, and of no help at all.

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    • Marilyn Armstrong January 11, 2018 / 11:52 am

      As I said: opinions can vary and mostly, nobody gets hurt. But when thousands of confused mothers don’t vaccinate their children and disease kills a lot of babies and toddlers, then it’s not a matter of opinion.

      We can disagree about books and movies and TV shows and who was the better performer in which show, but whether or not smallpox is removed by vaccination, should not be up for debate.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. swo8 January 11, 2018 / 10:38 am

    Why can’t people have different opinions regardless of the facts?
    Leslie

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    • Marilyn Armstrong January 11, 2018 / 11:50 am

      Because sometimes, failure to believe in the truth gets very ugly. Like when a lot of mothers refuse to believe in vaccination and measles or whooping cough breaks out. Or small pox. Or we refuse to believe in climate change and the polar cap melts and Boston sinks several feet into the Atlantic. THAT is why. Some things are opinion and we can have differing opinions.

      Other stuff is fact. Ignoring it can and has been DEADLY and not just for one or two people, but tens of thousands of people.

      Liked by 1 person

      • swo8 January 11, 2018 / 12:00 pm

        But sometimes what seems like the truth is only the partial truth. When we were young they only had a few vaccines and they were pretty good. Now they give young babies a heck of a lot more of them in a very short time period. That has to have some questionable effect. So although some vaccines may be good perhaps such an onslaught at such an early age may have a negative effect. What is the truth anyway?

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        • Marilyn Armstrong January 11, 2018 / 12:29 pm

          No, it doesn’t have a questionable effect. None that has been proven by anybody anywhere by any method anyone has tried.

          This is myth and a dangerous one. We don’t have outbreaks of measles or pox or whooping cough or polio. They did when I was a kid and in fact, I had polio (mild case) as a baby and that is a lot of why my back is such a disaster. Now, though, kids can go into summertime and mothers aren’t locking their kids in the house to keep them from the danger of disease. Polio is gone, except for those pockets where mothers have some mental disturbance that there’s some other unknown side effect. The side effect IS the end of lethal diseases. You have no idea how much I resent this totally unproven concept putting me and mine in danger. Did you know there’s a major outbreak of whooping cough now because mothers have decided they shouldn’t inoculate their kids?

          Maybe it’s not THEIR kid who comes down with it. Maybe it’s me or my neighbor’s baby or some other old or young person who dies — and shouldn’t have.

          Are all the mothers who had no proof but didn’t vaccinate anyway going to get together to raise money for the funeral?

          Liked by 1 person

          • swo8 January 11, 2018 / 1:25 pm

            My mother had polio too, so I was one of those kids that was locked up. As for the Whooping Cough, I have a friend whose baby was vaccinated against it and got it anyway. I’m wondering if there could be some variants or gene modification in the diseases. One thing I will never get is a flu vaccine. I know of two people who got GB from it. My cousin nearly died and it took a whole year to recover. I’ll take my chances with the flu.

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            • Marilyn Armstrong January 11, 2018 / 2:16 pm

              There are always variations on everything. You can take your chances with the flu, but since I started getting flu shots, I have successfully avoided my annual case of pneumonia. Some people are sturdy and manage to not get sick … other people are not as healthy and they DO get sick. You can also be a carrier and manage to spread disease around without getting particularly sick yourself.

              What is GB?

              I know people still believe they get the flu from shots. They don’t, you know. They may get the flu ANYWAY, but they will get a milder case. Vaccines are not (yet) perfect, but I’m really happy to not worry about smallpox and measles and yes, flu.

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              • swo8 January 11, 2018 / 4:00 pm

                GB is Guillain-Barré syndrome and it causes paralysis. I can see where the flu shot would be necessary if you do have health issues, Marilyn. You can get G.B. from the flu too but you have to catch the flu first. We seem to be lucky. Haven’t had a cold or flu for several years. So for us the risk is more from the vaccine. I agree I’m glad there’s no more smallpox and well – both of us already had the measles – but polio will I’ll be glad to avoid that one.

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                • Marilyn Armstrong January 11, 2018 / 5:09 pm

                  You have NO idea how grateful I am for the flu vaccine. I used to get deathly ill every year, inevitably followed by pneumonia. I once broke a rib from the coughing. You can’t catch the flu from the vaccine, by the way. It is “killed” vaccine. You can sometimes get the flu anyway, though because the flu can be stronger than the vaccine. At the least, the vaccine will reduce the symptoms. Also, there is frequently more than one flu going around. They develop the vaccine based on what they THINK is going to be the flu of the year, but sometimes, they are wrong. Or sometimes, there’s more than one flu going around — and this year is one of those years. We’ve been lucky so far, but we get a super sized flu shot because of our age and me because of my heart. So far, so good. Last time I got the flu it was right before I was supposed to go in for heart surgery and of course, I got pneumonia and they had to delay the surgery — and even when I got there, they had to pump out my lungs which were full of gunk from the flu.

                  You HAVE been lucky. Just … be careful. I used to have a friend who drove VERY fast. She pointed out that she’d never had an accident and I always said “With you, it’ll just take one.”

                  It just took one.

                  Liked by 1 person

                  • swo8 January 11, 2018 / 6:21 pm

                    Thanks for the concern and warning, Marilyn. That would have been awful timing for you heart surgery. I can see where it’s coming from.

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                    • Marilyn Armstrong January 11, 2018 / 7:06 pm

                      For some people, the flu is a really bad cold. For others, it’s life and death. My health has not improved with time and I try not to complain about it all the time. It is what it is and I deal with it as best I can like most people I know. But it is infuriating that there’s an actual minor epidemic of whooping cough because mothers decide they don’t want to inoculate their kids … and then grandpa dies of a disease he should never have contracted. There’s personal choice … but there IS a greater good too. I feel that un vaccinated kids should be home schooled. Fine, you don’t want to vaccinate? Your choice. But don’t send your sick kid to my kid’s school.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • swo8 January 12, 2018 / 10:37 am

                      Good point and well taken.

                      Liked by 1 person

  4. Martha Kennedy January 11, 2018 / 1:24 pm

    I’ve been in a debate with my Chinese brother. We’re in a culture battle but I don’t think he knows it. Confucianism + Maoist Marxism = reliance on authority AND Marxism = Materialism. Those philosophies have inescapably influenced his life and are his philosophical starting point even if he thinks he’s rejected them — just like there’s no way I can stop being “Baptist” just by rejecting it. He actually believes that people like Descartes, Hegel and Kant know more than any “arm chair” philosopher can know. I’m amused because we are all the product of some of that philosophy. We also exist in our own context which has been affected by all that. Added to it, no one knows the answer to the question. Because of where he’s from and when, he doesn’t factor in his individual self and all that entails and vice versa. It is impossible for me to convince him that he is part of what he is thinking about. It’s pretty interesting but I’ve backed out of the conversation as it is hopeless. 🙂

    Like

    • Marilyn Armstrong January 11, 2018 / 2:25 pm

      I’m very comfortable with opinions and things where life and death aren’t the outcome of a wrong decision. Unfortunately, these days that line is getting a bit thin and the results scare the pants off me.

      On the other hand, philosophical beliefs? I’m fine with that stuff.

      Every time I have to get my pacemaker evaluated, I am reminded that life isn’t always about opinions. Facts are sometimes important.

      I once had this weird conversation with the wife of a friend. I have an issue where, for unknown reasons, I do not have enough salt in my body. I can’t drink plain water or even fruit juice. I either have to be permanently thirsty, or drink sports drinks because I need the stuff in it. I have learned to love that stuff, icky though it is.

      She said “What did they do about this in the old days?”

      I looked at her. “We died.”

      “Oh,” she said.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Martha Kennedy January 11, 2018 / 2:41 pm

        Yep. I keep wanting to say to him, “It doesn’t matter.” But it does to him somehow. A good song about life and death and reality “My Shits Fucked Up” by Warren Zevon. Some things are really real.

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        • Marilyn Armstrong January 11, 2018 / 2:51 pm

          Don’t know Warren Zevon, but I love the song’s name. Because EVERYONE’s shit is fucked up. Even if we think we are perfect. Oh wait … I AM perfect and so are you!

          I believe.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Martha Kennedy January 11, 2018 / 4:10 pm

            Listen to it if you get the chance. I think he was brilliant song writer. He died of cancer caused by asbestos

            Like

  5. omniclassic January 11, 2018 / 5:23 pm

    ” I mean, you have probably come across people who conspicuously overlook the facts and put their opinions over yours, which is frustrating.”

    In all fairness, the “frustration” comes mostly if you believe that your opinion is the right one. Unfortunately, opinions are often not based on facts but more on what we label as “Gut Feelings” and that’s hard to deal with. To make things worse other’s opinions are felt just as strongly as your own, right or wrong.., but who’s to say?

    Like

    • Marilyn Armstrong January 11, 2018 / 5:59 pm

      I’m not talking about opinions about movies or books or ideas. I’m talking about facts like — you know — the earth revolves around the sun. Anyone who has non-fact-based opinions can believe whatever they want, as long as it isn’t going to blow up the earth, melt the ice caps, or allow disease to run rampant. I draw the line at things that might just kill me.

      Like

      • omniclassic January 11, 2018 / 11:09 pm

        I dunno people seem to be able to believe or disbelieve anything, even if the facts are directly presented to them. We have a president who is a prime example. People all around him loaded with facts, and even one with a full set of “alternate facts”, which he feels quite comfortable with picking and choosing through, that is choosing the ones that match with his own ideas of how things should be.., or are in his head. Only a really rational person will alter an opinion if he/she is presented with information to the contrary. Ultimately it’s up to the particular individual to change his mind.., you can’t beat him/her into submission. So here we are, back at being frustrated.

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        • Marilyn Armstrong January 11, 2018 / 11:26 pm

          I’m not arguing about whether or not there are a lot of stupid people who will believe anything just because. I’m simply saying that it’s a damned pity because that kind of stupidity is killing us. Literally and figuratively.

          Like

          • omniclassic January 11, 2018 / 11:50 pm

            I agree 100% with you and this isn’t an argument. I’m just pointing out a few “facts” about human nature that we sometimes feel helpless to do anything about.

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            • Marilyn Armstrong January 12, 2018 / 12:13 am

              Helpless. Yup. That’s the word. Helpless. I’m not optimistic about this, either. People are getting more stupid every day.

              Like

  6. evelyneholingue January 13, 2018 / 2:00 pm

    I think we only change our opinions when we face a situation or a person or more who challenge the idea we had. We can only change when we decide it. No one can ever make anyone change her opinions by force. But the good news is that many of us accept to change when realizing it’s time or necessary or that we were wrong.

    Like

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