Čeprav znanstveniki tako radi verjamemo v racionalnost ljudi in racionalnost debat na podlagi trdih dejstev (podatkov), pa zanemarjamo, da smo ljudje čustvena bitja. Zanemarjamo, da se nas v debatah bolj dotaknejo osebne zgodbe, izkušnje drugih, kot pa sstatistični podatki. Zadnje raziskave in empirična dejstva potrjujejo, da se v političnih debatah ljudem zdijo bolj prepričljivi tisti posamezniki, ki debato usmerijo na svoje osebne izkušnje, sploh če so utemljene na trpljenju, kot pa tisti, ki suhoparno navajajo dejstva ali statistične podatke.
To govori v prid uspešnosti populistov, ki dejstva, ki jim praviloma ne gredo v prid, označijo kot “fake news”, in zmagujejo z argumenti, ki temeljijo na čustvih in poudarjanju posamičnih primerov (ki so lahko neznačilni v množici vseh primerov). To pomeni seveda težke čase za znanstvenike in tiste, ki bi radi politične argumente gradili na dejstvih. Očitno bodo morali prilagoditi taktiko in svojo retoriko utemeljiti na osebnih primerih, ki pa bi morali biti reprezentativni – se pravi, odražati dejansko stanje. S tem pa seveda pridemo na mehek teren manipulacije. Ampak politični spindoktorji to že dolgo vedo. In naš predsednik vlade tudi, saj tudi zato svojo retoriko večinoma bazira na svojih osebnih travmah ter anekdotah.
New research suggests the answer can be found in stories, not statistics. People respect those they disagree with more when their position comes from a place of personal experience, not facts and figures, finds a new series of experiments published Monday (Jan. 25) in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. This is especially true when the personal stories are rooted in experiences of harm or vulnerability.
“In moral disagreements, experiences seem truer than facts,” said Kurt Gray, a psychologist and director of the Center for the Science of Moral Understanding at the University of North Carolina.
For the new research, Gray and his colleagues focused on how facts versus experiences affected people’s perceptions of their opponent’s rationality and their respect for that opponent. Over 15 separate experiments, they found that, although people think they respect opponents who present facts, they actually have more respect for opponents who share personal stories.
The researchers tested this idea in multiple ways. First, they told 251 participants to imagine speaking to someone they disagreed with on a moral issue, such as abortion, and asked the participants to write about would make them respect their opponents’ opinions. Just over 55% said opinions based on facts and statistics would increase respect, while a smaller percentage — 21% — said personal experiences would do the trick. In a second, nationally representative study, researchers asked 859 participants to imagine interacting with one opponent who based their opinions on facts and one opponent who based their opinions on experience. The participants rated the fact-based opponent as more rational and said they would respect that opponent more than the one who argued from experience.
But follow-up studies revealed that most of the participants had it backward. In actual face-to-face interactions, online debates and debates between talking heads on television, experience-based arguments actually garnered more respect between opponents than arguments based on facts.
In one study, the researchers had someone pose as a passerby who was engaging people in political discussions about gun rights and gun control. In the resulting 153 face-to-face conversations about guns, independent coders rated the responses to the topic as more respectful when the faux activist based their opinions on experience over facts. The same was true in the YouTube comments. In 300,978 YouTube comments on 194 videos about abortion, the conversation was more respectful when the videos focused on personal experiences instead of facts and statistics; commenters used a more positive tone, more positive emotional words, and more words associated with affiliation and togetherness.
Similarly, people were more respectful of New York Times op-eds based on personal experiences rather than stats, and opponents on CNN and Fox News interviews between 2002 and 2017 were more respectful, and treated their opponents as more rational, when the conversations were based on experience.
Further experiments found that stories were most associated with increased respect when the experiences were relevant, harm-based and personal. People respected opponents most when they’d been through something themselves, followed by when they shared the experience of a friend or family member, and they were least impressed when someone based an argument on a stranger’s anecdote or story they’d read about.
Then, the researchers explored the idea that perhaps some people’s experiences seemed more trustworthy than others. First, they asked 508 participants to read fact- or experience-based arguments from people who agreed and disagreed with them on guns. The results showed that people doubted political facts presented by their opponents far more than facts presented by someone they agreed with. There was not nearly as large of a gap in doubt, however, between experiences presented by opponents and experiences presented by someone on the participant’s side.
Ultimately, people can always come up with a way to doubt or discount facts, Gray said, but personal experiences are harder to argue away.
“It’s just so hard to doubt when someone tells you, ‘Look, this terrible thing happened to me,'” he said.
Vir: Live Science