How Political Opinions Change

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sciborg2

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« on: November 26, 2018, 06:19:29 pm »
How Political Opinions Change

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Our political opinions and attitudes are an important part of who we are and how we construct our identities. Hence, if I ask your opinion on health care, you will not only share it with me, but you will likely resist any of my attempts to persuade you of another point of view. Likewise, it would be odd for me to ask if you are sure that what you said actually was your opinion. If anything seems certain to us, it is our own attitudes. But what if this weren’t necessarily the case?

In a recent experiment, we showed it is possible to trick people into changing their political views. In fact, we could get some people to adopt opinions that were directly opposite of their original ones. Our findings imply that we should rethink some of the ways we think about our own attitudes, and how they relate to the currently polarized political climate. When it comes to the actual political attitudes we hold, we are considerably more flexible than we think.

A powerful shaping factor about our social and political worlds is how they are structured by group belonging and identities. For instance, researchers have found that moral and emotion messages on contentious political topics, such as gun-control and climate change, spread more rapidly within rather than between ideologically like-minded networks. This echo-chamber problem seems to be made worse by the algorithms of social media companies who send us increasingly extreme content to fit our political preferences.

We are also far more motivated to reason and argue to protect our own or our group’s views. Indeed, some researchers argue that our reasoning capabilities evolved to serve that very function.  A recent study illustrates this very well: participants who were assigned to follow Twitter accounts that retweeted information containing opposing political views to their own with the hope of exposing them to new political views. But the exposure backfired—increased polarization in the participants. Simply tuning Republicans into MSNBC, or Democrats into Fox News, might only amplify conflict. What can we do to make people open their minds?

The trick, as strange as it may sound, is to make people believe the opposite opinion was their own to begin with.
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TLEILAXU

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« Reply #1 on: November 26, 2018, 08:20:30 pm »
Annoying that the link to the original article is broken.

H

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« Reply #2 on: November 26, 2018, 08:30:29 pm »
Annoying that the link to the original article is broken.

Scroll down on this site.
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TaoHorror

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« Reply #3 on: November 26, 2018, 09:08:01 pm »
Fascinating stuff - would've liked a bit more detail on their experiment, they left it simply as "provided false feedback" - like how did you do that? While I'm open to finding this true, a bit more detail on the test would've been nice.
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H

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« Reply #4 on: November 26, 2018, 09:20:01 pm »
Fascinating stuff - would've liked a bit more detail on their experiment, they left it simply as "provided false feedback" - like how did you do that? While I'm open to finding this true, a bit more detail on the test would've been nice.

You can find it in the actual research paper above.

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During a manipulated trial, the participants’ rating was always moved across the midline of the 0–100% scale, thus shifting the participants stated attitude from agreeing to disagreeing with the statement (or vice versa). The manipulated rating was randomly placed between 15% and 35%, or between 65% and 85%, depending on the direction of the manipulation (see Figure 1). Additionally, each scale was coupled with a change button, so while filling out the survey, as well as when going over the ratings with the experimenter, the participants always had the option to change a rating should they feel that it did not reflect their attitude toward a particular issue. If the participants hesitated, or behaved like something was wrong, the experimenter informed them that they could change their response by clicking change and then draw another rating. A manipulation was automatically registered as corrected when the participants clicked the change button and drew a new rating on the scale.
“I am a warrior of ages, Anasûrimbor . . . ages. I have dipped my nimil in a thousand hearts. I have ridden both against and for the No-God in the great wars that authored this wilderness. I have scaled the ramparts of great Golgotterath, watched the hearts of High Kings break for fury.” -Cet’ingira

TaoHorror

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« Reply #5 on: November 27, 2018, 12:03:00 am »
Oh, thank you, sorry I missed that.
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TLEILAXU

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« Reply #6 on: November 27, 2018, 02:25:14 pm »
Thanks mr. H!