Monthly Archives: January 2012

Persuasion Is Strategic Or It Is Not – Israeli Example

My Headline Persuasion Rule should drive any serious persuasion effort and it separates the mavens from the muggles instantly. Muggles extemporize, displaying either or both arrogance or authenticity. Mavens think a long while first. And they think about the Strategy, the Big Goal, because they know if you don’t get the Big Goal right, nothing else matters. Today I’ve got a serious, real world example of that strategic planning for persuasion.

Consider the strategy inherent to these questions.

1. Does Israel have the ability to cause severe damage to Iran’s nuclear sites and bring about a major delay in the Iranian nuclear project? And can the military and the Israeli people withstand the inevitable counterattack?

2. Does Israel have overt or tacit support, particularly from America, for carrying out an attack?

3. Have all other possibilities for the containment of Iran’s nuclear threat been exhausted, bringing Israel to the point of last resort? If so, is this the last opportunity for an attack?

This, according to a published article based on face to face interviews with key Israeli leaders is how they are thinking about responding when and if they believe Iran will possess nuclear weapons. The long article develops their strategic planning over the past ten years and the following tactics. In many ways, the article is a blueprint for thinking and acting, strategically and tactically. I highly recommend that anyone who pretends to persuasion maven status read it.

I observe and approve of the clear-eyed or hard-headed focus on concrete outcomes. The strategy produces observable, countable, physical changes. There’s no flowery self-persuasion as if you need to justify the strategy to yourself. It directly aims at doing explicit activities at an explicit group of Other Guys. A persuasion plan falls naturally out of the strategy behind these three key points.

The three key points also provide a great hierarchy of concerns. The first concerns sheer ability and enhancing that. The second concerns allies and public opinion. The third seeks alternatives to the first point. You know how to prioritize with this hierarchy and you also understand you need to address all three simultaneously.

The article then develops how this strategy has played out and is playing out in tactics, some of which I consider as persuasion plays rather than power plays. Even events that involve killing people function more persuasively than just the removal of a key Other Guy. Such violent acts frighten some Other Guys who remove participation or support for the Iranian project – that’s delay and damage. These acts also encourage internal dissenters and opposition. Finally, these acts force potential allies to think about the Iranian project.

It’s also interesting to note how talkative these Israeli leaders are right now. Normally you associate silence with Israel on issues like this. They do or don’t do what they do and always refuse public comment on everything. The fact of their public talk demonstrates a more clear communication application of persuasion than the persuasive effects of killing lead scientists. Consider this quote from Ehud Barak, the defense minister of Israel.

At various points in our conversation, Barak underscored that if Israel or the rest of the world waits too long, the moment will arrive — sometime in the coming year, he says — beyond which it will no longer be possible to act. “It will not be possible to use any surgical means to bring about a significant delay,” he said. “Not for us, not for Europe and not for the United States. After that, the question will remain very important, but it will become purely theoretical and pass out of our hands — the statesmen and decision-makers — and into yours — the journalists and historians.”

Here the Israelis are using fairly traditional persuasion – interviews with journalists – as a persuasive tactic in the service of the three key points. This interview and in particular this quote speaks directly to the second key point regarding allies. We see an Argument from Barak regarding the Iranian nuclear project and what should be done and that Argument is aimed squarely at allies, especially the US.

Regardless of your opinion on this issue, please see the persuasion planning and execution in it. Focus on the three key points that express the strategy and their implications for persuasion. Learn how to devise strategy that is this clear, behavioral, measurable, and operational.

Vodka Shots – Salt Shaken

Time magazine creates persuasion mayhem with salt.  First, they offer a good summary of a Cochrane review (look it up) on the outcomes of salt consumption.

Although lowering dietary salt resulted in a small dip in blood pressure, the researchers found no strong evidence that it reduced rates of death in people with high or normal blood pressure. One study suggested that restricting salt in patients with congestive heart failure could even potentially increase risk of death.

Okay, so a well done review and meta-analysis concludes reducing population consumption of salt has no impact on mortality.  Take your Falling Apples with a sprinkle of sea salt!

But.  In the same article, the Time writer notes:

Still, there is plenty of data — and consensus among experts — that excess dietary salt does affect blood pressure and cardiovascular health.

So.  The best scientific evidence we’ve got from the Cochran review claims no effect, yet there’s plenty of consensus among experts to claim there is an effect.

What journalism might call Point Versus CounterPoint is only what a persuasion theorist would call Biased Versus Objective Processing.  You can certainly find experts who will point to cases that prove salt kills and then try to generalize that reductions in salt consumption at the population level would save lives.  Anyone, without or without those little letters following their name, who reasons like this is not a scientist, but rather merely mortal and in the throes of common sense, human nature, and most particularly, Biased Processing.

What’s the difference between Falling Apples and Change We Cannot Believe In?


Oh.  And, don’t forget the Bubble!


All Bad Statistics Are Persuasive Errors

Every field that aspires to science uses numbers to prosecute its business. If You Can’t Count It, You Can Publish It! So, numbers, particularly in the form of statistical analysis are a crucial part of science. Yet, as I’ve demonstrated numerous times in the Persuasion Blog, some science is mere sophistical statistics, those persuasive presentations of p < .0something, the rhetoric of research. The worse the science the better the persuasion, right?

Of course, this is just one fool’s opinion and he’s cherry picking examples to fit his argument. Show me something other than your sarcasm, Steve.

Okay. How about this demonstration of sophistical statistics.

We related the reluctance to share research data for reanalysis to 1148 statistically significant results reported in 49 papers published in two major psychology journals. We found the reluctance to share data to be associated with weaker evidence (against the null hypothesis of no effect) and a higher prevalence of apparent errors in the reporting of statistical results. The unwillingness to share data was particularly clear when reporting errors had a bearing on statistical significance.

This summary gives it up nicely. Three researchers reanalyzed the published statistics in 49 papers in either the 2005 issues of Journal of Personality and Social Psychology of the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, two well respected psychology journals. These particular papers were chosen because another research team had contacted the authors of the studies in a previous project, merely asking for a copy of the datasets used in the publications. Some of the 49 authors provided the data, some didn’t. After waiting five years (5 years!!!), the current team pulled the studies and checked the results sections for errors and inconsistencies.

As the researchers noted in the Abstract they found that authors who would not disclose data had more errors of statistical analysis and that the tests of statistical significance were much more likely to be extremely close to the p < .05 level. Here’s a pie chart that displays errors by data shared or not.

Even among researchers who shared the data, there were errors in their analyses, but just eyeballing the differences between the two groups, you can see that folks who refused to share data (after five years!) made more of all kinds of errors. And, the differences are Medium to Large Windowpanes, 35/65 to 25/75 differences, so they are obvious, practical, relevant. What’s more, authors who did not share had data with marginal results; they were more likely to report p values at or near the traditional .05 alpha while authors who shared data found results with much smaller alphas (> .001). Here’s a bar chart to illustrate.

You can see that the gray bars represent authors who did not share and that they had more errors at or near .05 and .01, traditional, almost ritualistic, markers of effect. You can understand why they were reluctant to share.  If you found results, but didn’t share your data, chances were good the results were small effects that you had to finagle to achieve even statistical significance. No wonder these authors found good reasons to withhold their data even after five years of waiting.

Oh, and if you’re not familiar with the publication ethics of publishing in these journals, you need to know that all authors have to sign a contract when they publish stating that they will share data when it is requested. This is not a matter of personal preference or taste; it is a professional standard of behavior with your signature of agreement and consent on it.

Authors who don’t share data are not doing good science. Their inaction violates both the letter and spirit of a contractual agreement they made when publishing. They obviously withhold data because they know they engaged in sophistical statistics and if anyone else ran the data, they’d expose the rhetorical research.

So, through a thoughtful research project on statistical analysis in peer review journals we actually learn a lesson about human nature and persuasion.

All Bad Science Is Persuasive!

Wicherts JM, Bakker M, Molenaar D (2011) Willingness to Share Research Data Is Related to the Strength of the Evidence and the Quality of Reporting of Statistical Results. PLoS ONE 6(11): e26828.


But Persuasion Has No Value!

Peggy Noonan observes about the Republican Presidential race to date.

The worst trend in politics that fully emerged during phase one? People running for president not to be president but as a branding exercise, to sell books and get a cable contract and be a public figure and have people who heretofore hadn’t noticed you now stopping you in the airport to get a picture and an autograph. In an endeavor like this you have nothing to lose and everything to gain. You’re not held back by any sense of realism as to your positions, you don’t have to worry about them being used against you down the road because there won’t be a down the road. You can say anything. And because you do you seem refreshing. People start to like you—you’re not like all the others, who are so careful. You rise, run your mouth for a month and fall.

While it’s terrible leadership, it’s fabulous persuasion. Jeepers, getting national exposure through multiple media channels over several months! Books! t-shirts! Fridge magnets. Speaking gigs. Celebrity appointments to boards, committees, public events! Persuasion is democracy’s greatest tool . . . and test.

Who’d think running for President would be a persuasion play?

A maven!

P.S.  When I was in the Fed explaining a potential persuasion play over a conference table, the folks in the room looked aghast at me for my suggestion and I told them, there are no values in persuasion, only change. They laughed. Noonan displays similar sincerity here and while I would not dispute her as a citizen, as the blog persuasion expert I must observe: Tah, to you!

Persuasion knows the Other Guy is free to choose.

Folk Rock Persuasion Rules

Neil Young wrote it and sang it with Buffalo Springfield  (YouTube).  The opening lyric exactly expresses the act of persuasion.

Oh hello, Mr. Soul, I dropped by to pick up a reason.
For the thought that I’d caught in my head is the event of the season.
Why in crowds just a trace of my face should seem so pleasin’.
I’ll cop to the change but a stranger is putting the tease on.

“A stranger is putting the tease on” nicely sings the Rule:

All Bad Persuasion Is Sincere.

P.S.  Hey, kids.  Neil Young, the artist, is a stranger putting the tease on.  Consider that.

P.P.S. Guitar players know why the song riff sounds like a couple of Rolling Stones songs (Satisfaction, Let’s Spend the Night Together), plus other near hits. It’s in E with a movement from B to C# to D, a classic blues boogie line. You can show newbies that trick and within a couple of minutes they sound like a blues man. It’s hard to get good on guitar (just listen to me play!), but it’s easy to get okay which explains why you see so many guitars in people’s houses.

Teen Tobacco and Automated Persuasion

You may already know about this and if you do, have you shared it with other people? Do so. Now.

The National Cancer Institute has an online tobacco cessation program for teens. It includes text to cell phone quit coaching and other helpful and private services.

These automatic communication programs have limited success rates whether using telephone, email, web, or now text and coming soon apps for smartphones. But, they do produce change in a few people and cost almost nothing to operate. Low effectiveness, sure, but incredible efficiency.

If you have a kid who smokes, point her to the website. If you know someone who knows a kid who smokes, point him to the website. WATtapping here can make a very small, but important change.

P.S. I found this at this JAMA article.

Bridget M. Kuehn. Texting Teens to Quit. JAMA. 2012;307(4):351.

doi: 10.1001/jama.2012.4

JAMA. 2012;307(4):351. doi: 10.1001/jama.2012.4

FYI – Facebook Sets IPO for Next Week

Facebook could file papers for the IPO as early as this coming Wednesday, but that timing is still being discussed, said a person familiar with the matter. The company is currently looking at a valuation of $75 billion to $100 billion, this person said.

This from the Wall Street Journal. I will not be buying Facebook if only to maintain a foolish consistency between my public disdain for the company and my wallet. Please understand my concerns.

Facebook is a huge Reception/Exposure machine. Hundreds of millions of people look at Facebook everyday for several minutes. Anyone can place a message in that channel anytime with a high degree of targeting. Facebook delivers a lot of Exposure, but still not as much as the formerly great broadcast networks like CBS or even the great cable nets like ESPN.

People are still thinking that activities like Facebook are the new interpersonal, the new relational when it’s just another kind of technological device people use for communication. Sure, it can function as a relational or interpersonal tool and sure, some people might function relationally or interpersonally only through Facebook. But, the fundamental things like kisses and sighs will always apply: That’s why they are fundamental. Facebook is like phone sex and anyone who thinks that phone sex will triumph over the back seat of Your Father’s Oldsmobile understands neither technology nor human nature.

The persuasion problem with Facebook is that you get WATtapping, those tiny twitches of social meaning, mouse clicks. If you can tie your TACTs to WATtapping, Facebook makes sense. Music, ebooks, games. Sure. WATtapping TACTs.

However, if your TACTs require a larger behavior than “click,” Facebook is at best an adjunct to your main approach. I appreciate all the activist groups on Facebook and other social media, raising awareness for their cause and I’m sure they feel good about the experience. But, look at all the cases of failure. OWS. Al Gore’s Climate Day. George W. Bush selling his book.

If Facebook survives into the future it’s going to be more like the Dollar Store than Bloomingdale’s or even Walmart. Lots of penny transactions.

Facebook provides people with a sense of having a megaphone in a network, but look at the effects. Individuals and groups are not hitting large success with persuasive behavior change through Facebook. Any success is always confounded with many other huge factors. Take Arab Spring. Yeah. All those smartphones and twitter. The fact that the US Military has been on the ground since 2003 doesn’t make any difference at all. And, why no North Korean Spring? Cuban Spring? Why did Arab Spring take down the Pharoah and the Colonel, but still can’t remove the Dynastic Son in Syria?

Muggles love that Wisdom of the Crowd wisdom without thinking carefully about Crowds, Wisdom, and the actual outcomes. Add groovy new technology like an iGizmo in a cool social platform and the infatuation is complete.

I also observe the great live database of personal and social information that Facebook provides. Anyone who wants a snapshot or even a movie of people can acquire that from Facebook. It’s a fabulous surveillance and analysis tool. But realize that Facebook as marketing database is not Facebook as persuasion tool. Facebook is a research resource and not the actual persuasion play to achieve your TACT.

Finally, investors are sick of this slow market. S&P 500 is trading around 1300 which is 250 points under the 2008 high. Globalization is still popping along and while nearly 9 percent of Americans are unemployed, the 91% employed are working over time. We’re tired of fear and can’t wait for a greed market. If Facebook positions itself properly it could be not only the New New Thing, but also the start of the next great bull market. Wouldn’t you buy that IPO?

Thus, Facebook may well be worth $100 billion even if you can’t use it to persuade your spouse to give you a back rub. And that tells you something about the Moral Consequences of Peace and Prosperity, even in down times. When shared photo albums and back fence chatter is worth a hundred billion bucks, you know there’s a lot of fat out there.

Vodka Shot . . . to Better Science

My former office mate, Tim Levine, weighs in on the never ending battle for Better Science with his latest attempt to right the wrongs in journal publication.  Tim’s focus is upon proper thinking with statistics and he provides a nice example ripped from the pages of journal research to illustrate.  Tim’s lesson is easy, fun, and popular, but does require counting, and alas, will probably leave the great unwashed only refreshed, but still filthy.

Tim’s right.  People don’t think correctly with statistics and merely default to the p < .0something as the Eureka moment when there’s more going on.  If only you’d count just a little longer, a little closer, a little harder.

Tim’s most important observation is this:

The null hypothesis is almost never literally true.

Stated another way, you can almost always invent good news even when there is really no news at all.  Null hypotheses are like dead snakes – you still think they could hurt you.  And, when you trip over a rock to avoid the dead snake, you have evidence that snakes are dangerous, even when dead, thus proving dead snakes are a threat which is publishable, but missing the science that fearful people are clumsy.

Tim offers five recommendations that generally counsel patience, replication, and objectivity.  Of course, none of those things will earn promotion or tenure and until we remove that from the equation we’ll continue with the fearful work that populates all journals.  Man, if you cannot break the Laws of Statistical Analysis, you will not publish, but will perish.  You must trip over rocks in your anxiety about the dead snakes in your data; that’s the path to success, but not to science.

Tim Levine (2011).  Statistical Conclusions Validity Basics: Probability and How Type 1 and Type 2 Errors Obscure the Interpretation of Findings in Communication Research Literatures.  Communication Research Reports, 28 (1), 115-119.


P.S.  You can imagine how well Tim and I got along as office mates, both of us snickering over the foibles, follies, and failures of our colleagues.  It’s a wonder either of us got out of grad school alive.  Mad dogs, Englishmen, and methodologists!

For What It’s Worth

There’s something happenin’ here.
What it is, ain’t exactly clear.

Let’s turn Buffalo Springfield inside out and follow their classic, For What It’s Worth (YouTube), into climate change. The Wall Street Journal has published a signed editorial with sixteen scientists who affirm that Global Warming does not exist and that CO2 poses no threat to the environment.

A candidate for public office in any contemporary democracy may have to consider what, if anything, to do about “global warming.” Candidates should understand that the oft-repeated claim that nearly all scientists demand that something dramatic be done to stop global warming is not true. In fact, a large and growing number of distinguished scientists and engineers do not agree that drastic actions on global warming are needed.

The sixteen signers then note the risks for public disagreement with Global Warming advocates. They cite one outstanding case.

In 2003, Dr. Chris de Freitas, the editor of the journal Climate Research, dared to publish a peer-reviewed article with the politically incorrect (but factually correct) conclusion that the recent warming is not unusual in the context of climate changes over the past thousand years. The international warming establishment quickly mounted a determined campaign to have Dr. de Freitas removed from his editorial job and fired from his university position. Fortunately, Dr. de Freitas was able to keep his university job.

Of course, Buffalo Springfield anticipated this outcome when they sang.

Paranoia strikes deep,
Into your heart it will creep.
It starts when you’re always afraid,
Step out of line and the man comes and takes you away.

This may be the largest public retort to the scientific consensus claim from Global Warming advocates. While there have always been scientists who disputed those advocate claims, they tended to do science rather than persuasion and felt no need to sign silly petitions as if they were voting on gravity. Now, at least 16 are willing to make a high profile persuasion play in public.

Even still, the Buffalo Springfield lyric hits it.

There’s something happenin’ here.
What it is, ain’t exactly clear.

Something is happening both in the science and persuasion of climate change, but it ain’t exactly clear. This editorial is a terrible challenge to the Scientific Consensus Cue so beloved of advocates. They now must devolve into a credentials swamp, shouting My Experts Are Experts and Your Experts Aren’t! an argument no citizen wishes to hear. When advocates are fighting over CVs, they have lost whether they realize it or not.

The safest persuasion play for advocates is Silence. Don’t even acknowledge the signed editorial exists. Just keep flowing on the great wave of Truth. Ignore that Other Guy Behind the Curtain. Persist with the Al Gore PowerPoint Show and all those confident claims of Scientific Consensus. This editorial and each contrary voice changes nothing.

That’s the persuasion play. And, best of all, it requires no science!

Stop, children, what’s that sound,
Everybody look what’s going down.

Good Do Gooding

If you’re a Do Gooder a key application of Do Gooding is with  intolerance, discrimination, and prejudice.  You want Other Guys to play nice regardless of race, religion, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, ice cream preference, and on and on with the litany of ways we differ from one another.  Hmmmm.  How do we get the Other Guys to Do Good?

The Sincere approach is to know that as a Do Gooder you’ve got Right on your side, so go forth boldly, Do Good speaking Truth to Intolerance and away you go, the Good, Done.  Except such Do Gooding rarely Does Good and indeed, as we will see, makes things Worse.  Almost like an ancient Greek tale, er, meme, where Do Good leads to Done Bad.

Consider this extended example from a test brochure given to Canadians to combat prejudice.

Cracking Down on Prejudice in Our Society

In today’s society, you must control prejudice. In other words, being Canadian means having an anti-prejudiced attitude.  For instance, The Human Rights, Citizenship and Multiculturalism Act prohibits discrimination in employment based on the grounds of race, color, ancestry, place of origin, religious beliefs . . .  Employers have an obligation to create a ‘no prejudice’ workplace, and companies face legal liability for workplace prejudice or discrimination.  The same standards are being set in the education domain.  In fact, a recent government policy initiative by Human Resources and Skills Development Canada requires that educators demand anti-prejudice classrooms. Teachers and students caught displaying racist attitudes and behavior can face serious consequences, such as termination or expulsion . . . There are also social perks to controlling racism – for instance, low prejudiced people tend to be better liked than racists.  The better we are at reducing prejudice, the more we are likely to fit in with today’s antiprejudice norms.  Research studies reveal that people with prejudiced attitudes are at risk of being excluded or ostracized.  In one recent study, most people reported that their social groups at work and at school disapproved of prejudice and racism, and people feared being looked down upon if they made prejudiced or racist remarks . . .  In today’s multicultural society, we should all be less prejudiced.  We should all refrain from negative stereotyping.  It is, after all, the politically and socially correct thing to do, and it’s something that society demands of us.

Now, you may chose to rewrite portions of this excerpt that you find heavy handed, charmless, or bleak, but if you don’t change the persuasion force behind the words, you will fail at Do Gooding and make things worse.  The key problem with this brochure is the Attributional impact it has.  The motivation for tolerance comes not from an Internal Attribution to ourselves, but rather from an External Attribution from social norms and potential punishment from other people.

Legault, Gutsell, and Inzlicht (pdf) randomly assigned Canadian students to different brochures in their persuasion experiment that tested Attributional force – Internal versus External – for its effect on attitudes.  Participants either got that External Attribution like the excerpt above or an Internal Attribution brochure like this.

Why it’s Important to Reduce Prejudice in Our Society

As a society, we hold the virtues of tolerance and nonprejudice in a very special place – they are important because they increase open-mindedness and social justice.  Social justice is  the vital ingredient in a free, fair, and peaceful society.  When equality and equity among human beings are achieved, there is less reason for any group or individual to be unhappy . . . It is also important to be nonprejudiced because it is so     interesting to interact with and learn about people from other cultural and social groups.  We live in a wonderful and diverse cultural community.  That diversity makes our society great because it brings a wealth of knowledge and experience together. When we let go of prejudice, the rich diversity of society is ours to enjoy . . . Not to mention, being open-minded is a real advantage to our mood and well-being.  When there is less racial and cultural tension, people are happier and healthier, and better able to do the things they enjoy . . . You are free to choose to value nonprejudice.  Only you can decide to be
an egalitarian person . . . In today’s increasingly diverse and multicultural society, such a personal choice is likely to help you feel connected to yourself and your social world . . .

Again, you may rewrite what you find saccharine, effete, or silly, but as long as you maintain that Internal focus on self motivation for behavior, the manipulation will produce the desired effect.  Consider this bar chart from just one experiment.


Now, more importantly, the statistical outcomes.

As illustrated in Figure 1, participants in the autonomy-brochure condition displayed significantly less prejudice than did those in the no-brochure condition, F(1, 66) = 14.49, p < .001, eta2 = .18. Conversely, those who read the controlling brochure actually demonstrated greater prejudice than those in the no-brochure condition, F(1, 66) = 4.34, p < .04, eta2= .07. As hypothesized, using control to motivate prejudice reduction backfired, and was more detrimental than not motivating participants at all. The support of autonomous motivation to regulate prejudice, however, caused a reduction in prejudice.

Sure, it’s statistically significant – here’s your sign – but note the effect sizes in those eta2 values.  They translate into Medium+ Windowpanes, around 30/70.  And, see the detail.  The Internal Attribution brochure produces an obvious benefit over the No Message Control and the External Attribution brochure produces a less obvious, but still near Medium Windowpane harm compared to the No Message Control.  Thus, attribution moves people in opposite directions compared to Control, one producing greater benefit, the other greater harm.

Legault et al. ran a second experiment to replicate and extend the basic finding and also conducted useful moderator studies with path models to refine the conceptual model, but I want to hit the main point.  Doing Good requires more than a pure heart, social courage, and a brochure.  Sincerity alone can make things worse, casting yourself into the ancient Greek nightmare where you kill what you love.  If you do not understand and apply persuasion principles properly you will kill your father, marry your mother, but live forever in tale, narrative, or meme!

As we’ve noted several times in the Persuasion Blog and the Primer, Attribution Theory is a powerful persuasion play that is almost always available as either an active tool or an important element in understanding the Local.  How do you want the Other Guys to explain their world?  Failure to ask this question or to answer it correctly dooms change whether from Do Gooders or Do Badders.

Realize here that the External force of that first brochure not only activates an external locus of control, but could also easily elicit Reactance, that Like Hell!, knee-jerk response people display when they perceive an unfair restriction on their actions.  Scan over the comments at the Free Republic website, a conservative net community, about this very study and see examples (most ironic – gee, conservatives with a sense of humor?) of that reactant effect.

Now, if you are a zealot, you find satisfaction of some sort when your political adversaries react against you, but, hey, you aimed at changing people, you knucklehead, and all you succeeding in doing was alienating not only adversaries but a bunch of Other Guys as well.  You may sniff about the Evil Opposition, but then, of course, you are running afoul of the Rule:

Great Persuaders Don’t Need Rich Uncles, Kindness from Strangers, or Third Party Vote Splitters.

Here the Rule means only muggles complain about their opponents as if you can win only when you have no competition.  But, then, that’s the basic tension between Sincerity and Persuasion.  When you know you have Truth or Beauty or Justice it is difficult hide it under Peitho’s robe.  You don’t hide your light under a basket!  Yet, as this report demonstrates, along with other examples from literature as described in the Blog and Primer, beacons of light are often unpersuasive and worse still can easily activate more dissent, confusion, and conflict.

You need to understand the difference between what you value and how you persuade on those values.

Legault L, Gutsell JN, Inzlicht M.  Ironic Effects of Antiprejudice Messages: How Motivational Interventions Can Reduce (but Also Increase) Prejudice.  Psychol Sci. 2011 Dec 1;22(12):1472-7. Epub 2011 Nov 28.

doi:  10.1177/0956797611427918