Want to Influence Others? Take the High Ground

Want to influence someone's opinion?

Just tell them it's moral.

According to a new study, if you want to strengthen your opinion, the way to do it is to imply you are taking the moral path.  But, as Dr. Phil would say, do you want to be right, or do you want to be happy?

Newswise.com reports that simply telling people that their opinions are based on morality will make them stronger and more resistant to counterarguments, the new study suggests.

Researchers found that people were more likely to act on an opinion – what psychologists call an attitude – if it was labeled as moral and were more resistant to attempts to change their mind on that subject.

The results show why appeals to morality by politicians and advocacy groups can be so effective, says Andrew Luttrell, lead author of the study and a doctoral student in psychology at The Ohio State University.
“The perception that an attitude we hold is based on morality is enough to strengthen it,” Luttrell says. "For many people, morality implies a universality, an ultimate truth. It is a conviction that is not easily changed.”

The key finding was how easy it was to strengthen people’s beliefs by using the ‘moral’ label, says Richard Petty, co-author of the study and professor of psychology at Ohio State. “Morality can act as a trigger – you can attach the label to nearly any belief and instantly make that belief stronger,” Petty says.

I've had many arguments lately about the presidential race.  People I've always respected believe in a candidate I don't, and never will.  It's changed some of my relationships.  I'm not sure my saying my opinion is based on morality (although I suppose I could, as the candidate I'm referring to is anything but) will change many minds.  I just hope so, in time for the election.  











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