Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Understanding Psychology To Help Animals

In an earlier post, we linked to the issue of confirmation bias as a problem vegans face when determining what is effective in creating change.

Here is another good post on understanding what people believe, with clear implications on how they make decisions. It can be summarized by Simon and Garfunkel: "A man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest" (although the post: "Why it's hard to change people's minds" really is worth a read).

This information is useful in helping us have constructive interactions with non-vegetarians. But it is also insightful in understanding why so many vegans passionately believe every claim they've heard that seems somewhat pro-veg (health, global warming, etc.).

In the end, we can create maximum change if we seek out what is true, indisputable, and effective, and present this in an appropriate manner. As we write in A Meaningful Life:

Effective advocates understand [the] evolution of people’s views, and, furthermore, recognize they can’t change anyone’s mind. No matter how elegant an argument, ultimately, real and lasting change comes only when others are free to explore new perspectives. Of course, there is no magic mechanism to bring this about. The simplest way to encourage others to open their hearts and minds is for our hearts and minds to be open, believing in our own potential to learn and grow.
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