YANSS 234 – How to create better online environments in which arguing and deliberation is more likely to change people’s minds

Deliberation. Debate. Conversation. Though it can feel like that’s what we are doing online as we trade arguments back and forth, most of the places where we currently gather make it much easier to produce arguments in isolation rather than evaluate them together in groups. The latest research suggests we will need much more of the latter if we hope to create a new, modern, functioning marketplace of ideas. In this episode, psychologist Tom Stafford takes us through his research into how to do just that.

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Our guest in this episode is psychologist Tom Stafford whose latest research takes lessons learned from the Wason Selection Task, a problem 90 percent of people get wrong in isolation but that most people get right when allowed to discuss their reasoning in groups, and applies them to virtual conversation spaces with fascinating results.

Dr. Tom Stafford

Tom Stafford studies learning and decision making at the University of Sheffield. “Much of my research looks at risk and bias, and their management, in decision making. I am also interested in skill learning, using measures of behaviour informed by work done in computational theory, robotics and neuroscience. More recently a strand of my research looks at complex decisions, and the psychology of reason, argument and persuasion.”

He is the author of Mind Hacks and For Argument’s Sake, and he helps run the blog Mind Hacks. He’s written for BBC Future, The Guardian, Lifehacker, and many other publications.

He also created The Tea Taste Test – explaining why statistics are important to psychology, using a controversy of how to make a cup of tea.

Links and Sources

iTunes – Stitcher – RSS – Patreon –  SoundcloudOmnySpotifyAudibleAmazon

Previous Episodes

Tom Stafford’s Website

Tom Stafford’s Substack

Tom Stafford’s Twitter

Research Discussed in the Episode

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