The Backfire Effect: Why arguing on the Internet is Futile

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by vrDrew, May 28, 2013.

  1. vrDrew macrumors 65816

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    #1
    Over the years I've participated in quite a number of "spirited debates", on a variety of topics (everything to motorcycle helmets to the identity of MacBeth's real author.) And, to be honest, I don't think I've ever changed anyone's mind. I think a lot of people could probably say the same thing.

    Why is this? Why is it, that no matter how authoritative and conclusive the evidence we present, those with differing opinions simply fail to be swayed? Answer: A psychological phenomenon called the Backfire Effect.

    Participating in online debates can be still be a rewarding experience. Many commenters are witty, funny, knowledgeable, and articulate. But participate in the interest of adding to your own knowledge. Because expecting to fundamentally change someone else's mind is an exercise in futility.
     
  2. Shrink macrumors G3

    Shrink

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    #3
    Yes...Yes...Yes....:D
     
  3. Apple fanboy macrumors Core

    Apple fanboy

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  4. Shrink macrumors G3

    Shrink

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    #5
    He's so cute!:p

    Those Brits with their dry sense of humor...:D
     
  5. maxosx macrumors 68020

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    #6
    Sounds like a negative outlook which has little to do with the medium.
     
  6. ravenvii macrumors 604

    ravenvii

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    #7
    Interestingly, I *did* change my mind via debates here. I was a staunch Ayn Rand idealist until I learned the absurdity of my standpoint.

    Granted, I didn't really *participate* in the debates directly, but I did read them.
     
  7. Sydde macrumors 68020

    Sydde

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    #8
  8. Mousse macrumors 68000

    Mousse

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    #9
    A question for married guys and guys with girlfriends...

    [​IMG]

    For me, I guess it's for the slim, slim chance of winning an argument.:D:p
     
  9. lostngone macrumors demi-god

    lostngone

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    #10
    Because it is a lot easier to walk away from a computer?!?!
     
  10. Renzatic Suspended

    Renzatic

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    #11
    I was thinking less severe repercussions.

    Like I could say all of you here have fat ankles and weird looking feet, and none of you could do a thing about it. Oh, you could say some nasty words in response, maybe even report me to the moderators at the extreme end of things. But those are little repercussions that don't affect me in any direct physical way whatsoever. I can deal with those.

    ...unlike being smothered by a pillow in my sleep.
     
  11. skunk macrumors G4

    skunk

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    #12
    Besides, in the words of a great cartoon, "All that 3D stuff gives me a headache".
     
  12. Renzatic Suspended

    Renzatic

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    #13
    Having a pillow being pressed against your face is about as 3D as you can get. [​IMG]
     
  13. AhmedFaisal, May 28, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 16, 2013
  14. skunk macrumors G4

    skunk

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    #15
    That's what they all say.
     
  15. localoid macrumors 68020

    localoid

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    #17
    I do it for the neurotransmitter "high" I get from arguing... err, I mean debating.
     
  16. dec. Suspended

    dec.

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    #18
    I absolutely agree with the article. The other day I was thinking about the whole cell phone/tablet-"war" thing (fandroids VS iSheep) and why it did escalate so much throughout the entire online world until I realized that this applies to pretty much ANY subject that allows taking a side (is there one that doesn't?). I've never met a person who has changed his opinion during a discussion, an "I can't find the link to my source" is about as much as you can tickle out of the other.

    Edit: This doesn't mean that there is no cell phone war. Fandroids sux.
     
  17. Renzatic Suspended

    Renzatic

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    #19
    No you don't.
     
  18. localoid macrumors 68020

    localoid

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    #20
    And to you, I emphatically retort: "Yuh-huh!"
     
  19. Renzatic Suspended

    Renzatic

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    #21
    You got a link to back up that statement, or are you just some yuh-huh fanboy? :mad:
     
  20. localoid macrumors 68020

    localoid

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    #22
    Of course I can prove it. But I'd have to send you a urine sample to test.
     
  21. GermanyChris macrumors 601

    GermanyChris

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    #23
    "The first adherents of a creed prove nothing against it"--my avi
     
  22. tshrimp macrumors 6502

    tshrimp

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    #24
    There also is the question...when arguing/debating on a message board do you post things that you would not say to that person if you were face to face?


    I can't say I never have, but I can say I try not to.
     
  23. TedM macrumors 6502

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    #25
    I'll agree with this. I also think propaganda is a big part of the issue as well. People take news as facts. But each news station has an agenda these days, so formulating your opinion and defending it becomes much harder. I personally like to read both sides arguments and opinions before coming to my own opinion, otherwise I'm left with only a limited picture of the truth.
     

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