Through two randomized experiments, a new study has found that op-ed pieces have significant effects on people’s views among both the public and policy experts.
Click Study shows newspaper op-eds change minds | YaleNews for the rest of the article.
My Note (AE): From a cognitive/psychological frame, I enjoyed this article. From a “hope for humanity” point of view, I really did not. The line between legitimate persuasion and mass indoctrination/manipulation is a very thin one. The suggestion that it is this easy to change the minds of others (all seemingly with little to no in-depth research on the part of those whose minds were changed) is, indeed… troubling. In our modern mass culture, we have increasingly (1) undervalued objectivity and critical thinking/research/analysis/vetting as we have concurrently (2) over-hyped the benefits of emotionalism, subjectivity, relativity, and an otherwise “anything goes, do/feel/believe what you want” mentality. As a result, we have the ill effects of “information overload” being combined with an unhealthy dose of ‘blindly accepting whatever one hears, or reads, from these seemingly authoritative/intellectually-sound (but often erroneous/misleading) sources.” The antidote? Keeping in mind that Op-ed pieces, TV talking heads, articles of any kind, etc., should be used as a springboard into a deeper dive and not as the end-all-be-all on the subject at hand.