Fooling People into Passionate Belief

What you believe in may not be as strong of a belief as you might have thought. Researchers have found that people can be tricked into believing the opposite of what they claim to believe  and will even create well supported arguments in opposition of their initial beliefs.

People were asked to answer questions regarding their opinion on moral issues using a clipboard with two sheets of paper.  The first sheet of paper secretly contained two statements glued on top of each other.  When the unsuspected victim of adhesive magic flipped the page to fill out the second sheet, a strong adhesive on the back of the clipboard removed the first statement, revealing a second, identical looking statement holding the opposite stance.

After flipping the page back over they were asked to read the statements aloud and discuss why they answered the way they did.  Reserachers found that:

“About half of the participants did not detect the changes, and 69% accepted at least one of the altered statements. People were even willing to argue in favour of the reversed statements: A full 53% of participants argued unequivocally for the opposite of their original attitude in at least one of the manipulated statements”

More than half the people changed their mind and even argued for the opposite stance they had just completely disagreed with moments before.

Researchers state that this shows how inaccurate questionnaires actually are. It also reveals how incredibly complex our opinions and beliefs actually are, and how easily we can be swayed one way or another.

The conclusion this study brought me to personally is that 53% of people have absolutely no clue what they are talking about when they tell you their opinion.  But we all knew that, didn’t we?