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

More

Here's why closing inactive iPhone apps is actually a bad idea

Well now you know

by Matt Tate
25 Jul 2017

Man runs Football Manager for 1000 years and insane things happened

The future of football is a weird, wonderful place

by Dave Fawbert
18 Jul 2017

Robot is gifted with intelligence, immediately commits suicide

I NEVER ASKED FOR THIS [END TRANSMISSION]

by Gary Ogden
18 Jul 2017

Mario Kart VR is a real thing and it looks ridiculously fun

Imagine Rainbow Road

by Matt Tate
14 Jul 2017

People are freaking out over this totally stupid Super Mario puzzle

Who invented this?!

by Alex Finnis
14 Jul 2017

I went in search of the last trainers still hooked on Pokémon Go

Can the app still draw mass crowds one year on, or is it all just Pokemon G(h)o-st towns now?

by Hussein Kesvani
06 Jul 2017

You've been charging your phone completely wrong - here's how to do it

A phone battery is for life, not just for Christmas

by Gary Ogden
06 Jul 2017

The Crash Bandicoot remaster is a time machine to your childhood

Was it always this hard?!

by Matt Tate
05 Jul 2017

This 12-year-old CEO is here to show you how little you've achieved

He's also an actor and musician, and you probably hate him already

by Dave Fawbert
05 Jul 2017

Facebook are making it easier for you to find Wi-Fi

Here's how to use it

by Matt Tate
04 Jul 2017