Share all sharing alternatives for: Most civilization are poor at arguing. This 2 methods will make you better.

alashi / Getty images
Anyone who has argued with an opinionated family member or friend around immigration or gun regulate knows that is frequently impossible to persuade someone with strong views.

You are watching: How to win a fight with a conservative

That’s in part because our brain work difficult to ensure the integrity of our worldview: We look for out info to check what we currently know, and are dismissive or avoidant of truth that room hostile to our core beliefs.

But it’s no impossible to make your argument stick. And there’s been some great scientific job-related on this. Below are two tactics that, based upon the evidence, seem promising.

1) If the dispute you uncover convincing doesn’t resonate with someone else, uncover out what does

The answer to polarization and political division is not simply exposing human being to another suggest of view.

In 2017, researcher at Duke, NYU, and also Princeton ran an experiment whereby they paid a large sample the Democratic and also Republican Twitter individuals to read an ext opinions from the other side. “We found no proof that inter-group contact on social media reduces political polarization,” the authors wrote. Republicans in the experiment actually grew much more conservative end the course of the test. For free in the experiment grew slightly an ext liberal.

Whenever we interact in political debates, us all tend to overrate the strength of debates we uncover personally convincing — and also wrongly think the various other side will be swayed.

On gun control, because that instance, liberals are convinced by stats like: "No other developed country in the civilization has nearly the same rate of total violence as does America." and also they think other world will discover this compelling, too.

Conservatives, meanwhile, frequently go to this formulation: "The only method to protect against a negative guy through a pistol is a an excellent guy v a gun."

What both political parties fail to recognize is that they"re arguing a suggest that their enemies have no only already dismissed but may be inherently deaf to.

"The message that space intuitive to world are, for the many part, no the effective ones," Robb Willer, a professor the sociology and also psychology at Stanford University, said me in 2015.

Willer has shown it"s at least possible to nudge our political adversaries to consider concepts they"d normally refuse outright. In 2015, in a collection of 6 studies, he and also co-author Matthew Feinberg found that when conservative plans are framed roughly liberal values like equality or fairness, free become an ext accepting that them. The very same was true of liberal policies recast in terms of conservative values favor respect for authority.

So, his research study suggests, if a conservative want to convince a liberal to support greater military spending, that shouldn"t appeal come patriotism. He have to say something like, "Through the military, the disadvantaged can accomplish equal standing and overcome the obstacles of poverty and inequality." Or at the very least that"s the basic idea.

In a an ext recent initiative Willer and also a co-author found, in a country representative sample, that conservatives would certainly be an ext willing to support a hypothetical liberal candidate because that president if that candidate provided language that reflected conservative values. Because that instance, conservative who review that the candidate’s “vision for America is based upon respect because that the values and also traditions that were handed down to us...” were an ext likely to say they supported him than when the candidate’s message was framed with liberal buzzwords.

How to persuade the various other side: use their morals against them

Willer’s work-related is based on moral structures theory. It"s the idea that human being have stable, gut-level morals that affect their worldview. The liberal ethical foundations incorporate equality, fairness, and protection that the vulnerable. Conservative moral structures are an ext stalwart: They favor in-group loyalty, ethical purity, and also respect because that authority.

Politicians intuitively usage moral structures to excite like-minded voters. Conservative politicians recognize phrases favor "take our nation back" get followers" hearts beating.

What moral structures theory tells us, however, is that these message don"t translate from one ethical tribe come the other. "You’re essentially trying to to convince somebody who speaks French the some position while speak German come them," Willer says. "And the doesn’t resonate."

Willer cautioned the it"s tho extremely daunting to convert a political opponent fully to her side, also with these techniques. "We found statistically far-ranging effects," that says. "They’re reliable. Yet in regards to magnitude, they are not large."

The chart below shows how well the ethical reframing worked for each plan area in Willer’s study. To be clear, there"s only so much that reframing in terms of values can do: the can"t turn an anti-Obamacare conservative into a proponent, but it can soften his stance and also get the to listen to counterarguments.

Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin Still, it’s far-ranging that Willer found any positive results at all, considering the challenge political researchers usually have in getting partisans come sympathize v the other side on issues such as wellness care, army spending, same-sex marriage, and English as an official language.

Willer"s conclusions might not cure American democracy, however they can help, let"s say, lower tensions in a heated family members argument.

Here’s one example. If you’re trying to convince a conservative that the merits of kneeling for the national anthem in protest, emphasize the classic values roughly political and spiritual freedom. Willer suggests, “arguing that the starting fathers were deeply concerned with protecting our rights to society protest.” (Though that hasn’t used this discussion in his tests, directly.)

Feinberg has followed up on the occupational with one experiment using moral reframing throughout the 2016 presidential election. In his study, as soon as he framed an argument against Trump in terms of loyalty (a conservative ethical foundation), conservative participants reported they were less likely to assistance him.

“For instance, the loyalty message suggested that trump card ‘has consistently behaved disloyally towards our nation to serve his very own interests’ and also that ‘during the Vietnam War, he dodged the draft to follow his father right into the advancement business,’” Feinberg and his co-author compose in the study.

Feinberg found a similar effect once framing an argument against Clinton in terms of fairness, a liberal ethical foundation. The fairness dispute mentioned “while so countless Americans have actually suffered during the current recession that the wall Street banks helped cause, Clinton has accepted millions the dollars native them in exchange for giving a couple of speeches” and also claimed Clinton “is willing to sacrifice fairness and equality to achieve her own goals.’”

Liberal participants that were shown this debate felt cooler toward Clinton, and also indicated they were much less likely to vote for her.

2) Listen. Her ideological opponents want come feel favor they’ve been heard.

Willer and also Feinberg’s work suggest there’s a means to readjust minds ~ above policy. But what around on prejudice? How can you effectively argue a human out that a prejudicial opinion? since as’s German Lopez defines in great detail, just calling world racist is a strategy sure to backfire.

In 2016, the newspaper Science published a remarkable bit of insight: It"s possible to minimize prejudice, and sway opinions top top anti-transgender legislation, v one 10-minute conversation. What"s more, the researchers uncovered that the change of heart can last at the very least three months and also is resistant come anti-transgender attack ads.

It worked due to the fact that the canvassers in the study did a straightforward thing: lock listened.

Dave Fleischer, a longtime politics organizer, calls the deep canvassing. The an essential to that is that Fleischer has the voter do most of the talking.

Instead that pelting voters with facts, "we questioning open-ended questions and then we listen," Fleischer called me in 2016. "And then we proceed to asking open-ended questions based upon what they just told us."

In talking about their own lives, the voters interact in what psychologists speak to "active processing." The idea is that world learn lessons much more durably once they come to the conclusion themselves, not when someone "bitch-slaps you v a statistic," claims Fleischer. Overall, it"s a job designed to allude out our common humanity, i m sorry then opens up the door to reducing prejudice and changing opinions.

See more: How To Schedule Vaccine At Javits Center, Vaccine Command Center

How “deep canvassing” works

Here"s a video clip example the deep canvassing. It"s of a actual voter and also a canvasser native the management LAB, a regimen of the Los Angeles LGBT Center. The woman in the video starts turn off ambivalent ~ above transgender issues. Yet through deep canvassing, the activist is may be to turn her around.