More on persuading people, especially denialists – use consensus

NewImageby Rojer

The previous post discussed some of the science behind persuasion. It listed 6 shortcuts:

  • Reciprocity
  • Scarcity
  • Authority
  • Consistency
  • Liking
  • Consensus

Observe that facts and rational explanations do not appear. You persuade because people like you or they owe you an obligation, not simply because the facts are on your side.

Here is some more research, looking at climate deniers. They found that a group of deniers were unswayed when given all sorts of facts about climate change.

What did sway them? Emphasis on the consensus of scientific authority. Tell them that 99 out of 100 researchers acknowledge climate change and the denialists begin to listen. They respond to consensus.

Interestingly, denialists also tend to respond to authority more than the general population.

So, successfully persuading climate denialists could be accomplished by using authority and consensus.