An online cartoon explains why we can't hear the political arguments of others
We know that the sciences of persuasion and motivation are crucial to understand in today's political arena. The use of "psychographics" - marketing to voters based on their psychological, rather than socio-economic markers ("demographics") - seems to have been core to the successful Brexit and Trump campaigns. So we at least need to keep up with the science of the "political mind".
But there are accessible and inaccessable ways to do this. And we've just found one of the most accessible ever. The Oatmeal is an online cartoonist who has created a quite brilliant scroll, explaining the "Backfire effect" . Here's an explanation of the effect:
We don’t treat all of our beliefs the same.
If you learn that the Great Wall of China isn’t the only man-made object visible from space, and that, in fact, it’s actually very difficult to see the Wall compared to other landmarks, you update your model of reality without much fuss. Some misconceptions we give up readily, replacing them with better information when alerted to our ignorance.
For others constructs though, for your most cherished beliefs about things like climate change or vaccines or Republicans, instead of changing your mind in the face of challenging evidence or compelling counterarguments, you resist. Not only do you fight belief change for some things and not others, but if you successfully deflect such attacks, your challenged beliefs then grow stronger.
The research shows that when a strong-yet-erroneous belief is challenged, yes, you might experience some temporary weakening of your convictions, some softening of your certainty, but most people rebound and not only reassert their original belief at its original strength, but go beyond that and dig in their heels, deepening their resolve over the long run.
Psychologists call this the backfire effect.
Yet The Oatmeal explains this through easy dialogue and fun cartoons. A model for public information in the hipster era.