11 slides to change a mind

Fascinating insight tonight about the process of persuasion upon one man. A man of whom I am less and less persuaded by, but who is necessarily persuasive in ways few can claim to be. But this story is how Boris was turned around to the reality of climate-change.

This is not my story to tell. Here’s the full background in carbonbrief.org. Judge for yourself how compelling a case was made in just 11 slides.

When it comes to being persuaded, the most important factor for those most intellectually astute is to offer them the most robust argument from both perspectives, to enable them to independently evaluate if a different conclusion is to be drawn. Moderate fear may work, but no more. When it comes to influence both propaganda and advertising demonstrate the factors of “who says what to whom, and with what effect” – in essence the key factors in play. At least according to Hovland-Yale’s model (1953).

That assumes external factors have been the most persuasive. Innate motivation is alternatively considered in a number of theories. Elaboration Likelihood Model suggests an individual may either take in the detailed assessment centrally, or peripherally in less detail and more focus on the credibility of those conveying the message. Balance Theory would attribute attitude change to association – sources, trustworthiness, expertise. Social Judgement Theory examines the psychology distance of one attitude to another. Cognitive Dissonance theory could explain both increasing resistance or relief at hearing a better perspective – dependent upon wider beliefs or concerns – and only if a choice was to be freely made rather than compelled.

All potentially valid factors and explanations we can perhaps have in mind in experiencing the powers of influence we each witness, make, or receive, each and every day.

11 slides must be particularly compelling if they alone have turned a mind so far from one perspective to another, on such an emotive issue, and in such a short time.

I’m going to be the optimist and conclude the case is indeed that powerfully made. Others may conclude a more cynical factor was in play.