180. David McRaney – How Minds Change: The Surprising Science of Belief, Opinion, and Persuasion

David McRaney is a science journalist fascinated with brains, minds, and culture. David is the creator of the blog, the book, and the podcast called “You Are Not So Smart.” His most recent book is “How Minds Change: The Surprising Science of Belief, Opinion and Persuasion.” In this book, David writes “You are about to gain a superpower. A step-by-step script of how to change people’s minds on any topic without coercion, by simply asking the right kinds of questions in the right order.” That’s a pretty bold claim, but David has traveled the world to learn from experts in communication and human behavior such as scientists and psychologists. He’s also talked to 911 truther cult members, flat earthers, all kinds of people who believe just about everything to find out why they believe what they believe and when they stop believing it, what caused them to stop believing it and to believe something else instead. It’s not exaggerating to say that it very well could change your life.

In this conversation, we explore disagreements, opinions, attitudes, beliefs, and how they’re different. We talk about the fact that humans are ultra-social creatures and how the groups we belong to influence what we believe. We talk about identity and about the potential that each of us has to change the world. I love this book and I’m super grateful to David for being a guest on The School for Good Living.

“What if instead of trying to win an argument as to whether or not one of us is seeing this properly and the other is not… we enter into a conversation of why you think we see this differently?”

This week on the School for Good Living Podcast:

  • Why we disagree
  • How our brains lie to us to try and disambiguate new things
  • How we think differently alone versus in a group
  • How cognitive empathy can help us to change our minds
  • How we can change who we know ourselves to be
  • What is a threshold to conformity and what does it say about our natural ways of finding community

Resources Mentioned

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