Here's Research On How To Convince Someone They're Wrong

Let's just say I know what I'm going to do next time I want to make a point.

But really this video isn't just about how you can convince people — it's also worth thinking about this research in terms of how you've been convinced in the past. It's no secret that infographics and charts and data visualizations are taking over the web. Maybe this is one reason why.

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Dr. Bondar: Red alert, everybody!

Laci Green: Somebody is wrong on the Internet and we are not going to stand for this.

Dr. Bondar: Time to bring on the big guns.

Laci Green: Hey, everyone, Laci Green here for DNews with a special guest host, Dr. Carin Bondar. We're so happy to have you here on DNews, Carin.

Dr. Bondar: It's awesome to be here, thanks.

Laci Green: Of course, thanks for joining us. So, I want to know. Have you ever been in a debate?

Dr. Bondar: Oh, yeah, have you?

Laci Green: Yeah, we work on the Internet, right? It's hard to avoid. So recently a study coming out of Dartmouth sought to figure out the best way to convince someone that they're wrong, wrong, so wrong.

Dr. Bondar: And what's the one place that people hold on to their beliefs the most? It would be politics. It's an area of debate that it's acceptable to something called disconfirmation bias, or the tendency to deny information that conflicts with our pre-existing beliefs.

Laci Green: So to figure out how best to convince someone of the facts they tried to persuade those who called themselves liberals that Bush's Iraqi search had prevented further violence and to persuade conservatives that more jobs had been created under Obama.

Dr. Bondar: What they found was very interesting. Researchers tried to convince the participants by trying a few different methods. First, presenting the facts out loud, then in a text paragraph, then finally with a chart.

Laci Green: So, verbalizing the facts out loud was the least effective. People saw the facts as up for debate and responded with verbal counterarguments.

Dr. Bondar: The text was also similarly ineffective. But the charts...

Laci Green: Them charts. When presented with a chart or a graph or the facts were explained visually, people were much more likely to accept the information that conflicted with their foreign beliefs, and they were less likely to argue about it. So you know what this means, right?

Dr. Bondar: Charts all day, baby.

Laci Green: Yeah, are you with your parents? Boom, charts.

Dr. Bondar: In a Facebook debate during those elections. Pull out the charts.

Laci Green: Really hate someone and just want to prove them wrong. Charts on charts on charts.

Dr. Bondar: These researchers speculate that the reason the human brain and ego responds better to visual information is because it's our native language. The area of your brain that processes visuals is larger and more developed than the area that processes words.

Laci Green: So when we hear verbal information, like right now, for instance, our brain has to work harder to understand and remember the information. You're more likely to forget what was said and all of the little details. So just so we all remember this, can we get a chart open here, please?

Dr. Bondar: Beautiful.

Laci Green: Thanks for joining us for DNews, folks. What's your favorite debate strategy?

Dr. Bondar: Let us know in the comments below and don't forget to subscribe for more DNews.

Laci Green: See you next time.

There may be small errors in this transcript.

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