Friday 6th December 2019

    How to Talk to Someone Who Refuses to Accept Reality, According to Behavioral Science


    Ohio State University behavioral scientist Gleb Tsipursky points out that while conspiracy theories might be fringe examples, denialism itself isn't at all uncommon. One four-year study that involved interviews with more than 1,000 board members, found that, when a CEO is ousted, 23 percent of the time it's because he or she was unwilling or unable to accept some basic aspect of reality. When faced with threatening information, people often stick their heads in the sand.

    Knowing that you have company in your misery might provide some comfort when faced with a reality denier, but how do you actually confront one? Tsipursky's first and most important bit of advice is to forget facts. The problem is almost certainly one of emotions, not knowledge.

    He offers a down-to-earth example to illustrate: "At a company where I consulted, a manager refused to acknowledge that a person hired directly by her was a bad fit, despite everyone else in the department telling me that the employee was holding back the team." Why? "Facing facts would cause the CEO or the manager to feel bad."

    Continued here