WATT Poultry USA - February 2018 - 18
18 ❙ WATTPoultryUSA
between opposing sides
Overcoming disagreements counts on understanding biases on both sides
and listening to what both parties argue and seeking out common values.
Persuading people to change their mind is exceedingly
difficult, but there is a formula that can be followed to
make it a bit easier.
Tamar Haspel, a food columnist for the Washington
Post, spelled out seven tactics to improve communication
between parties who strongly disagree. Haspel, appearing as part of the 2017 Sustainable Agriculture Summit
in Kansas City, Missouri, on November 15, 2017 spoke
about how people's minds become made up on controversial issues like climate change or the use of genetically
modified organisms (GMOs) in the food chain.
Even though the majority of the science is conclusive,
people are still dug in on their side of the issue. Changing
how the discussion is approached - and changing the
mindset about the other party's arguments - can help make
conversations between opposite sides more productive.
The elephant in the room
The primary thing to understand, Haspel said,
is how people form their opinions. She used the
metaphor of the elephant and the rider. The rider
represents logical thought. The elephant represents
impulse and instinct. People like to think the rider
is in charge - that they are making decisions and
forming value judgements based on rational deduction - but in reality people are more likely to
choose based on feelings, emotions and intuitions.
The elephant leads the rider.
Furthermore, everyone is susceptible to confi rmation bias. This is favoring of facts and sources
that back up a preconceived opinion and the rejection of facts that challenge it. Because of this,
people actively seek out information sources that
confi rm their views.
Even though we live in an age of widely available
and easily accessible information, people are more polarized than ever due to these two factors. This condition is a tough obstacle to clear, but it is possible.
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