I am giving a talk on 28th October at Off the Shelf, Sheffield’s festival of words. Here is the blurb:
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.
Mostly I’ll be picking up on ideas I outlined in my Contributoria piece: What’s the evidence on using rational argument to change people’s minds? Tickets are £7.50/£6 (cons), the venue is the Showroom Cinema, Paternoster Row, S1 and we start at 7pm (I talk for 45 minutes then there is time for questions). Book tickets by calling the Showroom on 0114 275 7727 or go to showroomworkstation.org.uk The full festival programme is available as a PDF.
2 thoughts on “Talk, 28 Oct 2014: The power of reason”
To my knowledge I have twice in 53 years managed to change someone’s mind (that is, the other person admitted that what I said changed their mind on the issue under discussion). In both cases I used myself as an example of how their opinion might have unintended or unexamined negative effects. In each case we had substantial shared values on other issues.
If there is no use reasoning with people, why are they trying to prove there is no use reasoning with people?