What’s the Evidence on Using Rational Argument to Change People’s Minds? With Doctor Tom Stafford

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From the archive

This event last happened on 28 October 2014

Is it true that “you can’t tell anybody anything”?  From pub arguments to ideology-driven party political disputes it can sometimes people have their minds all made up, that there’s no point trying to persuade anybody of anything.  Popular psychology books reinforce the idea that we’re emotional, irrational creatures, but Tom Stafford argues against this bleak portrait of human irrationality.  He has investigated the psychological science of persuasion by rational argument, interpreting old studies and reporting some new ones which should give hope to those with a faith in reason.  Tom tells you how to most effectively change someone's mind, when people are persuaded by evidence (and when they aren't) and why evolution might have designed our thinking to work best in groups rather than on our own. 

Tom Stafford is a lecturer in Psychology and Cognitive Science at the University of Sheffield. He writes columns on the psychology of everyday life for the BBC and The Conversation. He is the author of several books including the best-selling Mind Hacks and the eBook The Narrative Escape.

In collaboration with the University of Sheffield Public Engagement with Research Team

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