By: Alex Fradera
Published: October 13 2016, Research Digest (The British Psychology Society) https://digest.bps.org.uk/2016/10/13/what-are-the-implications-of-believing-its-impossible-to-alter-other-peoples-beliefs/
Level of difficulty: **
WATCH AND LISTEN
· The dangers of willful blindness https://www.ted.com/talks/margaret_heffernan_the_dangers_of_willful_blindness
BEFORE YOU READ
Read the text carefully and indicate which paragraphs the following subtitles refer to:
· The Introduction
· Beliefs and Willingness to Advocate
· Understanding the Contradiction
1. We understand from the first paragraph of the text that the focus of the text is whether or not behavior can be manipulated / feelings can be flexible/ opinions can be changed / tendencies can be transformed.
2. What conclusion can be drawn from paragraph two? Be precise
3. Read the Omair Akhtar’s experiment carefully. Did the immediate outcome of the experiment prove or disprove the researchers’ original hypothesis? How do you know?
4. Further examination of the data came up with a surprising and seemingly illogical result. Believing in the permanence of opinions not only……….. but also………………..
5. Read the two paragraphs concerning the second online experiment. Why were those who believed that attitudes were fixed more willing to take on the death penalty opponents? There are two answers; find both.
6. What conclusion can we draw from both experiments?
7. Read the example of the run up to the US election. We understand from the paragraph that
· The desire to be heard helps bring people together
· The desire to be heard can lead to radicalization
· The desire to be heard sways public opinion
· The desire to be heard energizes the public
8. It is implied in the same paragraph that the opinions thus shared become more pessimistic/ more entrenched / more stable/ more immutable/ more extreme
9. We understand from the last paragraph that confrontation with single minded opponents can be avoided if
· We accept that we have different mindsets
· We agree to disagree
· We are open to suggestion
· We try and reduce frustration
· We agree to change our minds
WHAT ARE THE IMPLICATIONS OF BELIEVING IT IS POSSIPLE TO ALTER OTHER PEOPLE’S BELIEFS? KEY AND TEACHERS’ NOTES
This text is a straight forward, well-organized scientific reading passage and as such is very well suited for class work. Thanks to the subject matter, I have been able to write a wide variety of questions.
BEFORE YOU READ
Introduction: paragraphs one and two
Beliefs and willingness to advocate: paragraphs 3, 4 and 5
Understanding the contradiction: paragraphs 6, 7 and 8
Conclusion: paragraph 9
KEY TO THE QUESTIONS
1. Opinions can be changed
2. Whether belief is fixed or malleable is a tricky topic to study (The first sentence of the paragraph is unacceptable)
3. It proved it; “just as we suspected might happen”
4. Not only tips us towards convincing others but also deters us from trying to convince them.
5. Because they saw it as chance to stand up for their views; OR Because they were animated by the chance to be heard.
6. Whether we are motivated to engage in advocacy depends on a combination of how we view the purpose of advocacy and our beliefs about human certainty.
7. The first (The last sentence)
8. More entrenched
9. We are open to suggestion (The phrase means that it is possible that we may change our minds)