Friday, December 13, 2019

Jul 10 19, 9:54 am

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Ways to win an argument

by | Feature

Jul. 10, 19 | 9:54 am

Recent psychological research offers evidence-based ways on how to win an argument, The Guardian, a UK-based daily, said in a report published online.

Here they are:

1. Ask how instead of why. Many arguments are usually based on false premises, spoken with great confidence but with a minimal understanding of the issues at hand, said David Robson, science writer specializing in psychology, neuroscience and medicine, in a piece for the British newspaper.

Which is why, “You need to get the ‘other side’ focusing on how something would play itself out, in a step by step fashion,” he quoted Prof. Dan Johnson at Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia as saying. Robson said exposing the opponent’s “shallowness of their existing knowledge prompts a more moderate and humble attitude” in the discussion.

2. Fill their “knowledge gap” with a convincing story. Discrediting a conspiracy theory or fake news needs a “convincing, coherent narrative that fills all the gaps left in the other person’s understanding,” said the report. Robson added: “The persuasive power of well-constructed narratives means that it’s often useful to discuss the sources of misinformation, so that the person can understand why they were being misled in the first place.”

3. Persuade your opponent to take an outside perspective. Another simple strategy to encourage a more detached and rational mindset is to ask your conversation partner to imagine the argument from the viewpoint of someone else. This strategy, says The Guardian, “increases ‘psychological distance’ from the issue at hand and ergo, cools emotionally charged reasoning.”

4. Be kind. In a nutshell, says Robson: “People are generally much more rational in their arguments, and more willing to own up to the limits of their knowledge and understanding, if they are treated with respect and compassion. Aggression, by contrast, leads them to feel that their identity is threatened, which in turn can make them closed-minded.”

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