I don't know how general this is, but I do think it's an important factor that I don't see discussed.

Another point is peer effects. I remember at school my physics teacher used to use proof by intimidation where he would attempt to browbeat and ridicule students into agreeing with him on some subtly incorrect argument. And he wouldn't just get agreement because he scared people, the force of his personality and the desire to not look foolish would genuinely convince them. And then he'd get cross for real, saying no, you need to stand up for yourself, think through the maths. But if you can't fully think through the soundness of the arguments, if you are groping around both on the correct and the incorrect answer, then you will be swayed by these social effects. I think a lot of persuasion works like that, but on a more subtle and long-term level.

I think a lot of persuasion works like that, but on a more subtle and long-term level.

Yes, I agree.

Open thread, Nov. 17 - Nov. 23, 2014

by MrMind 1 min read17th Nov 2014329 comments

4


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