2010-08-04

The Strength of Minority Opinions

A link from Discovery News led me to a very interesting study on the strength of "Minority Opinions". Basically the original study by Dr Richard Petty goes into explaining why people may hold onto dissenting views stronger than expected. It would seem that the brain is more likely to hold onto an opinion if it knows that it is in the minority than if it is in the majority. It will be interesting to see if someone extends this with brain imagery to see if it is a different zone than the partisan filters we all come equipped with.

Mainly I find this interesting because it could explain why some of our long standing Fedora arguments go on and on. The infamous fast innovation/risky updates poll may have made some people more likely to feel they were correct because A) the arguments for/against it were 'weak' to them, and B) they ended up in the minority. Since they had already made a choice before the poll, they felt more vindicated afterwords than before. There are probably many other examples one could find, but what I would like to point as learning lessons is:

A) Make sure that your arguments/reasons are 'strong' before you present them. This can be hard for subjective things but having clear and reasoned examples can help greatly.

B) Make sure that your polling, presentation of results occurs early versus late in the process.
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