Prof. William D. CRANO, PhD - Persuading the Unpersuadable. Understanding Resistance to Unexpected Positions of Fellow Political Partisans

Although social psychologists have developed a powerful arsenal of persuasive methods, we often are completely ineffective in converting people on the extreme ends of the political spectrum. We can influence those near the middle point of our well-crafted measures, but our analytic models are either untested with extreme groups, or these groups are included in overall analyses, and the lack of movement by the extremes is hidden by the general analyses we conduct. However, sensitivity analyses often reveal the impotence of our persuasive methods of those most in need of moderating their attitudes. We are left with the possibility that most of our successful persuasion research is based on changes induced among those who hover around the indifference point on the focal attitude. The failure of extreme contending groups represents a threat to democratic government. The present research is an initial attempt to find ways to open the door to more open-minded communication between extreme groups. In this presentation, I will demonstrate an initially heartbreaking and unexpected failure of a beautiful study. Serendipity (along with necessity) being one of many mothers of invention, forced us to consider a data pattern commonly misinterpreted by users of common crowd-sourcing models (e.g., MTurk). This led to an investigation of factors underlying resistance to the pairing of a message source with an unexpected statement. Some follow-on research has helped us understand our originally anomalous (i.e., un-hypothesized) finding, and have led us on a search for other factors that may allow us to pontificate bravely (or at least with straight faces) on tactics that may prove useful in persuading the unpersuadable.

1 marzo 2023 ore 11.00 - Aula “Ezio Ponzo”

© Università degli Studi di Roma "La Sapienza" - Piazzale Aldo Moro 5, 00185 Roma