If facts do not change people’s minds am I wasting my time speaking?
The effect of facts to change people’s minds
I read an article that attempted to lay out the reasons why facts change people’s minds. As a speaker, I use actualities to justify to my audiences why we need to transition to a more sustainable lifestyle.
Arriving at the realization that facts do not change people’s minds
The research showed that the initial impressions people form are remarkably perseverant in their minds. Even after the evidence for their initial beliefs had been totally refuted, people failed to make appropriate changes. On numerous occasions, studies have demonstrated reasonable-seeming people were often totally irrational.
Confirmation bias is the tendency for people to embrace information that supports their beliefs and reject information that contradicts them. One way to look at science is as a system that corrects for people’s natural inclinations. In a well-run laboratory, results must be reproducible by researchers with no motive to confirm them. Perhaps this is the reason the system has proven so successful. In the end, the methodology prevails. Science moves forward, even as we remain stuck with our bias.
The article pointed out that many people believe sociability is the key to how the human mind functions or, perhaps more pertinently, malfunctions. The authors cited research suggesting people experience genuine pleasure when processing information that supports their beliefs.
Now I know facts do not change people’s minds
From this revelation comes the question—if reality does not change people’s minds, as a speaker, should I waste my time trying to convince them? Perhaps there are other ways to communicate not using data and facts but emotions and stories. A topic for a future blog post.