Contact: The power of disclosure to reduce prejudice, shift attitudes, and change minds forever

Can you change a person’s mind on a divisive social issue? For instance, let’s say you meet someone who is very opposed to same-sex marriage and has felt that way for years. In one conversation, could you flip his or her opinion in the other direction?

The latest science says…hold on to your socks…yes. But it will require two things: contact and disclosure.

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In this episode you will about the contact hypothesis – a series of conditions required to reduce prejudice and change minds. Studied by sociologists, psychologists, and political scientists since the 1950s, the hypothesis has been incomplete – until now.

In the first half of the show you’ll travel to Mississippi to meet professional mind changers working to shift attitudes on LGBT rights. You’ll also visit the county where no one is gay and an anti-same sex marriage convention before hearing a former pastor explain how even Jesus once changed his mind.

NOTE: THE FINAL SEGMENT HAS BEEN REMOVED. DETAILS HERE.

Then, in the second half, you’ll meet a man in Los Angeles who conducted 12,000 conversations in a quest to perfect the most powerful version of contact possible. According to the scientists who’ve studied his methods, he may have finally advanced the contact hypothesis – because the evidence suggests that in one, 22-minute chat, Dave Fleischer can change people’s minds on issues they’ve felt strongly about for decades, and change them forever.

Links

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Previous Episodes

Boing Boing Podcasts

Cookie Recipes

Sources in Order of Appearance

Rob Hill

HRC Mississippi

All God’s Children Commercial

John Oliver on Same-Sex Marriage in Mississippi

NYT: Where The Closet is Still Common

CNN: The Country Where No One is Gay

The Nature of Prejudice by Gordon W. Allport

Betsy Levy Paluck

Gallup’s Poll About Religion in Mississippi

38th Avenue Baptist Church in Hattiesburg, Mississippi

The LGBT Center of Los Angeles

The Leadership Lab

Donald Green

Michael LaCour

The Research: When Contact Changes Minds

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