Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation
Top

How to win any argument (using science)

argue.png

Anyone who's so much as glanced at a YouTube comments section will know the internet loves a good bicker. A casual observation posted to Facebook can leave you neck deep in outrage, cynicism and on the wrong end of a comparison with Hitler. 

So you'll undoubtedly appreciate the research of Cornell University students that promises to greatly enhance your ability to "win" online arguments - and do a great deal better in real-life confrontation.

The researchers analysed a data set gathered from two years of debate on the Reddit thread ChangeMyView - a fertile source of online spats. The researchers set to identify the "mechanisms of persuasion" that users would employ to shift the opinion of others. By monitoring variables such as use of language, points when people entered an argument and the degree of back-and-forth exchange, the researchers were able to outline some key elements of winning an online bout. 

Here are their findings in summary:

  • Join the argument early. In arguments that attracted as many as 10 participants, the first two "challengers" were three times more likely to see their point win out.
  • Look to use different language to view first offered. That doesn't mean you should reply to English in French - but that if you look to use a different set of descriptors or change the tone of an argument with a different lexicon, you'd stand a significant chance of winning the day. Keep a thesaurus to hand.
  • Stay calm, and don't attempt to be overly "happy". An argument carried more weight if the individual took time with their response, and didn't try to keep things too up-beat. 
  • If someone's using first person plural pronouns ("we", "us"), get out of there. The study found that this sort of language is usually linked to someone who doesn't have a malleable point of view.
  • Back up your points. Which might sound obvious, but many would wade into arguments without having further evidence or sources to lend weight to their point of view. If you're just shouting off an opinion you made up on the spot, you won't do well.

So no, you're not win an argument with your other half about whether your neighbour's dog is called Muttley or Matt - but you will win an argument as to why Labradors are a better breed than terriers.

They just are, okay? 

[Via: LadBible]

Related

twitter.jpg

How to turn off Twitter’s new 'Facebook' style timeline

shutterstock_124146607.jpg

New study suggests violent video games won't mess up your kids

Finalpizzaplanehead.jpg

The US Army’s latest weapon is a three-year-old pizza

Comments

More

The only Vines worth preserving

The most important cultural artefacts of our time

by Tristan Cross
17 Jan 2017

Hurrah: The Nintendo Switch now has a price and release date

Here's everything you need to know about the new console

by Tom Fordy
13 Jan 2017

The best underwater photographs of 2016 are staggeringly beautiful

Aquatic snaps that made a splash

by Dave Fawbert
12 Jan 2017

Using Google Maps actually does ruin your sense of direction

"Make a U-turn where possible"

by Dave Fawbert
11 Jan 2017

Netflix releases 8-bit game featuring Narcos and Stranger Things

Goodbye, productivity.

by Emily Badiozzaman
10 Jan 2017

The original Game Boy is coming back

Time to dust off your Pokemon Red & Blue cartridges

by Jamie Carson
10 Jan 2017

Watch Steve Jobs launch first iPhone 10 years ago

Today marks 10 years since Steve Jobs presented the world with this iconic product, but it could have been so different

09 Jan 2017

The best gadgets to launch at the biggest tech conference in the world

Christmas 2017 can't come early enough

by Joe Ellison
05 Jan 2017

This is why hitting the snooze button is bad for your health

If you snooze, you really do lose

03 Jan 2017

16 best fitness gadgets to help you get into shape for 2017

Gadgets to get your sweat on with

by David Cornish
03 Jan 2017