THRee people are at a dinner party. Paul,who’s married,is looking at Linda. Meanwhile,Linda is looking at John,who’s not married. Is someone who’s married looking at someone who’s not married? Take a moment to think about it.
三个人正在参加一个晚宴。 已婚的保罗正在看琳达。 与此同时，琳达正在看约翰，他没有结婚。 有人结婚看着没有结婚的人吗? 花点时间考虑一下。
Most people answer that there’s not enough information to tell. AND most people are wrong. Linda must be either married or not married—there are no other options. So in either scenario,someone married is looking at someone who’s not married. When presented with the explanation,most people change their minds and accept the correct answer,despite being very confIDEnt in their first responses.
Now let’s look at another case. A 2005 study by Brendan Nyhan and Jason Reifler examined American attitudes regarding the justifications for the Iraq War. Researchers presented particIPants with a news article that showed no weapons of mass destruction had been found. Yet many participants not only continued to believe that WMDs had been found,but they even became more convinced of their original views.
So why do arguments change people’s minds in some cases and backfire in others? Arguments are more convincing when they rest on a good knowledge of the audience,taking into account what the audience believes,who they trust,and what they value.
那么为什么在某些情况下论据会改变人们的思想而在其他情况下会适得其反呢? 当他们依靠对观众的良好了解， 考虑 观众的信念，他们信任的人 以及他们重视的内容时，争论更具说服力。
Mathematical and logical arguments like the dinner party brAInteaser work because even when people reach different conclusions,they’re starting from the same set of shared beliefs. In 1931,a young,unknown mathematician named Kurt Gödel presented a proofthat a logically complete system of mathematics was impossible. Despite upending decades of work by brilliant mathematicians like Bertrand Russell and David Hilbert,the proof was accepted because it relied on axioms that everyone in the field already agreed on.
Of course,many disagreements involve different beliefs that can’t simply be reconciled through logic. When these beliefs involve outside information,the issue often comes down to what sources and authorities people trust. One study asked people to estimate several statistics related to the scope of climate change. Participants were asked questions,such as “how many of the years between 1995 and 2006 were one of the hottest 12 years since 1850?” After providing their answers,they were presented with data from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change,in this case showing that the answer was 11 of the 12 years. Being provided with these reliable statistics from a trusted official source made people more likely to accept the reality that the earth is warming.
当然，许多分歧涉及不同的信念 ， 这些信念不能简单地通过逻辑来协调。当这些信念涉及外部信息时， 问题通常归结为人们信任的来源和权威。 一项研究要求人们估算一些 与气候变化范围有关的 统计数据。与会者被问到一些问题， 例如“1995年至2006年间有多少年 是1850年以来最热的12年之一?” 在提供答案后， 他们获得了政府间气候变化专门委员会的数据， 在这个案例中显示答案是12年中的11年。 从一个值得信赖的官方消息来源 获得这些可靠的统计数据，使人们更有可能接受地球变暖的现实。
Finally,for disagreements that can’t be definitively settled with statistics or evidence,making a convincing argument may depend on engaging the audience’s values. For example,researchers have conducted a number of studies where they’ve asked people of different political backgrounds to rank their values. Liberals in these studies,on AVERAGE,rank fairness— here meaning whether everyone is treated in the same way—above loyalty. In later studies,researchers attempted to convince liberals to support military spending with a variety of arguments. Arguments BASEd on fairness— like that the military provides employment and education to people from disadvantaged backgrounds— were more convincing than arguments based on loyalty— such as that the military unifies a nation.
最后，对于无法通过 统计或证据 明确解决的分歧，提出令人信服的论据 可能取决于吸引受众的价值观。 例如，研究人员进行了许多研究 ，他们要求具有不同政治背景的人 对其价值进行排名。 平均而言，这些研究中的自由主义者对公平性进行排名 - 这意味着每个人是否都以同样的方式对待 - 高于忠诚度。 在后来的研究中，研究人员试图说服自由主义者 用各种论据支持军费开支。 基于公平的论据 - 就像军方为 处境不利的人提供就业和教育 - 比基于忠诚的论证更有说服力 - 比如军队统一一个国家。
These three elements— beliefs,trusted sources,and values— may seem like a simple formula for finding agreement and consensus.The problem is that our initial inclination is to think of arguments that rely on our own beliefs,and values. And even when we don’t,it can be challenging to correctly identify what’s held dear by people who don’t already agree with us. The best way to find out is simply to talk to them. In the course of discussion,you’ll be exposed to counter-arguments and rebuttals. These can help you make your own arguments and reasoning more convincing and sometimes,you may even end up being the one changing your mind.