The renowned Argentinean neuroscientist Mariano Sigman has been studying the way the human mind makes decisions for years. Today it explains matter, with one foot in psychology and another in politics, how people form opinions ... and how we change them, talking.
His latest experiment, carried out in collaboration with Dan Ariely of Duke University (USA) and Joaquín Navajas of university College London (United Kingdom), inherits from the political tradition of deliberative democracy. In this model, decisions are taken from the exchange of plural and informed opinions. The investigators ' version consisted of assembling 10,000 strangers in a stadium to debate, in groups of three, controversial issues of ideology and morality.
"We are very sceptical about the ability that dialogue can have, that speaking we can agree," says Sigman, who was born in Buenos Aires and grew up in Barcelona. In fact, half of the people who held opposing and seemingly irreconcilable opinions ended up agreeing. The key? A mediator. But not a lukewarm mediator, but a moderate person, and also convinced: "A person in the center, screaming loud and confident that there is more than one meritorious argument," he explains.
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