Here is a recent opinion article published in the New York Times on how to reason with unreasonable people. We copy it here as we find it resonates with many aspects of our work as “green advocates” within ESD, especially when dealing with resistance to change.

According to the author Adam Grant the key lies in truly understanding their perspectives. As Grant notes: “When we try to change a person’s mind, our first impulse is to preach about why we’re right and prosecute them for being wrong. Yet experiments show that preaching and prosecuting typically backfire—and what doesn’t sway people may strengthen their beliefs. Much as a vaccine inoculates the physical immune system against a virus, the act of resistance fortifies the psychological immune system. Refuting a point of view produces antibodies against future attempts at influence, making people more certain of their own opinions and more ready to rebut alternatives.”

Read the full article  The Science of Reasoning with Unreasonable People (it is open accessed but requires an account in NYT)

Credits: Adam Grant, New York Times