David McRaney is an author, science journalist, lecturer, and the creator of the blog You Are Not So Smart, which became an internationally bestselling book, later followed by You Are Now Less Dumb.
He hosts the popular YANSS podcast and speaks internationally about irrational thinking and delusion.
And David has a new book called “How Minds Change: The Surprising Science of Belief, Opinion, and Persuasion.”
This is a big show, covering a lot of ground. He and Melanie discuss the psychology of changing minds, both our own as well as others. How to have conversations that might be difficult is part of the thread.
As David said, “It’s more about how you’re approaching the conversation.”
And he gets into the particulars of what contemporary interdisciplinary scientific research says is most effective at helping us approach a difficult conversation and maybe even persuade someone to change their mind.
David’s got an intriguing interdisciplinary approach, encompassing the fields of psychology, sociology, conflict, tribal psychology, and yes ... even more.
As he writes in his book, “How Minds Change”:
Societies aren’t fixed. Large social systems, though they seem stable, are always changing in subtle ways that are imperceptible to the people living within them. Even if thresholds remain constant in a way that prevents a cascade from building momentum within a single group, all manner of circumstances can affect the average number of connections between groups, altering the conditions in ways that randomly create percolating vulnerable clusters. Any society can, without its knowledge, change from one in which a global cascade is impossible to one in which it could happen at any time. Repeated shocks to the system that before seemed futile now have the potential to change the world.
Change can creep along with no signs of meaningful progress for decades. It makes the status quo seem like it was unanimously agreed upon, stable and eternal. It makes mind change seem impossible — until one day, a lucky strike causes so much change that everyone’s thresholds are met within a percolating cluster. Then the culture-wide spread begins. A social change cascading this way reach everyone except those who have difficult-to-meet thresholds who are part of a cluster that is disconnected from the network, cult, an insulated religion, or a remote community.
Living from happiness includes many moving parts, including psychological resilience and the ability to adapt as change happens. Especially important skills to cultivate in this rapidly accelerating era of
David’s an engaging, articulate, super-smart, and fun guy. Listen in to the pod, and let us know your thoughts: firstname.lastname@example.org.