Would you argue with you?

Would you argue with you?

I'm sure you'll agree that as HR and L&D professionals, having a range of  skills to influence and reason with people is key - given that a large part of our role is to sell ideas, get buy-in and affect change .

Yesterday I spotted an article about a recent study which could add to your range. The article is called 'The Selective Laziness of Reasoning' and is available by clicking here. An observation that caught my eye in the article is "many people will reject their own arguments – if they’re tricked into thinking that other people proposed them."

Would you say this is simply further proof of what some would call 'reverse psychology' or is this more meaningful?

If I were you, I wouldn't follow the link - it'll take too long to load and then it'll take you ages to read ;)

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Gary is The Professional Development Community Manager

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  • Thanks for that. It's a very interesting article.

    It relates to some other interesting points, too:

    • The extent to which the same mental mechanism is being used to construct arguments vs the mechanism to evaluate them.
    • Whether we could extrapolate to suggest that the act of rejecting some responses (truely other people's responses) primed you to reject your own (supposedly other person's response)
    • Whether the words used in expressing one's opinion ('I know what I meant, although I didn't say it well) matched the same level of scrutiny that you give to someone else's words (i.e. that you presume the words to be an exact representation of their intended meaning). That is, it may be that although you knew the intent of what you said earlier you don't recognise that particular phrasing of the ideas later
    • The importance of critically thinking and accurately expressing what you say and write and not just critically thinking what you hear or read.

    (I myself have no biases at all, so I feel completely comfortable dismissing their results as they only seem to have experimented on Americans. Experiments on US citizens are automatically suspect because...Trump. *laughing*)

    • Fascinating, isn't it?

      And what about the doppleganger effect: if i read something that is written using syntax that I'm familiar with (e.g. syntax that I wrote), am I not predisposed to warm to that rather than a passage of text that wasn't written by me?

      Your point about critical thinking is particularly valuable in the education. As a facilitator I'm keen to encourage critical thinking to help students know how to evalaute what they read objectively. 

  • This is a great article. Thanks for sharing.

    I am still picking my Jaw up from floor - 'It turned out that almost 60% of the time, the volunteers rejected their own argument, and declared that it was wrong. They were especially likely to reject it when they had, in fact, been wrong the first time.'

    • Yeah, why is that? If we boiled it down, is it human nature to be disagreeable? But maybe that's not a bad thing - maybe there is an evolutionary advantage to wanted to form one's own opinion.

      I wonder what the rejection rate would be if additional variants were added such as having some arguments delivered verbally? And then would we be more likely to agree/disagree with different orators? 

      I think all of this helps us to avoid falling into the trap of only thinking about a message we need to get across but to, in addition, to consider that even the best message in the world is only as good as the way it is recieved.

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