This question popped into my head the other day: when did I last change my mind about something important? It was prompted by a conversation with friends on Twitter about whether direct action was a useful form of campaigning, and over time I realised I’d been a bit too dogmatic about my views on this in the past.
I changed my mind.
What this made me wonder, though, was the process by which I came to change my mind: how did this happen? What was most effective? Who did the alternative messages come from? What information had I seen etc.
For those of us interested in change (including public sector reform), the ability to understand persuasion and the reasons why people change their minds should be absolutely uppermost in our minds. Yet I don’t think I can actually recall a time when the psychology of changing your mind has been talked about at events or conferences.
Going back through some of this literature in order to understand and then apply it seems useful to me. I’d be grateful for any pointers people have.
In the meantime, some writing on this that I’ve found of interest:
- Communication is not what you say, it’s what people hear
- Persuasion is emotional first, rational second (from which this Blaise Pascal quote: “People are generally better persuaded by the reasons which they have themselves discovered than by those which have come into the mind of others”)
- Understanding the “latitude of acceptance”.