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

WhatsApp is about to stop working for millions of smartphone users

And it's bad news for Nokia or Blackberry users

by Tom Fordy
02 Dec 2016

Delete yourself from the internet with this handy website

And just like that, he was gone.

by Sam Diss
28 Nov 2016

Get on ‘Sindr’ the Catholic Church’s confession app

Swipe to find God in your area

24 Nov 2016

Apple to replace faulty batteries on iPhone 6s devices

21 Nov 2016

These are the worst passwords on the web

Best check yours isn't one of them

17 Nov 2016

What does Facebook really know about you

From ads to linked apps to everything in between

by David Cornish
17 Nov 2016

This Chrome extension will warn you of fake news stories

A handy Google Chrome tool for the post-truth era

by David Cornish
17 Nov 2016

An awesome paper cycling helmet wins Dyson design award

Only £4, and it'll save your life

by David Cornish
17 Nov 2016

Here are all the fake images people have idiotically been sharing

Delete these

by Tristan Cross
16 Nov 2016

Super Mario Run is coming to your mobile phone

Nintendo's mobile platformer finally gets a release date and price

by David Cornish
16 Nov 2016