OU Study: Use of the Word "Sheep" Effective in Defeating Reason

walliswallis

New Member
The power of a magic word is confirmed by the University of Oklahoma ...

After viewing the film, study participants were asked to complete a survey about their attitudes on the “official story” of the September 11 attacks. Subjects who received the inoculations were less likely to believe Loose Change: Final Cut versus the control group. However, the inoculations had less impact among subjects who had first been warned to be “independent thinkers” instead of “sheep.” This, Banas and Miller explain, "… may be derived from using the loaded terms ‘‘sheep’’ and ‘‘independent thinker,’’ both of which strongly align with core American values. Although independent thinking may be perceived as an attractive quality by participants, it was used in the metainoculation to promote the rejection of an empirically accurate and logically sound deconstruction of a rather outrageous conspiracy theory, thereby creating the type of influence participants were likely trying to avoid."

http://www.parapolitical.com/2013/02/a-vaccine-against-conspiracy-theory/
 

JRBids

Senior Member.
I don't know, I get told not to be a sheep all the time and my opinion doesn't change just cause someone thinks they're insulting me.
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
"metainoculation" seems to be a word they coined just for this research, meaning something like "inoculating against inoculation" - whereby they tell people to be independent thinkers so they distrust arguments.

Debunkers need to metametainoculate - get people to realize that when someone is telling them not to be a sheep, then it's a sign they are trying to get them to ignore solid evidence. :)

Seriously though, "priming" does seem to work in many ways, and even if you don't use it yourself, then it's good to be aware of when it's being used against you. You also want to ensure you don't use it inadvertently in a self-defeating manner.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Priming_(psychology)
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
Related, conspiracy theorists often seem fond of images that present a similar "don't be a sheep" message, which has a similar reinforcing effect, making them feel like part of a special club with special insights and abilities.

 
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Pete Tar

Senior Member.
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This was amusing and irritating at the same time. Physics or maths aren't different for everyone are they? What exactly are they suggesting people be taught?
 

Cairenn

Senior Member.
I guess that folks don't think about the reason why if you are traveling, and you want a quick burger, you look for those 'golden arches' for a Big Mac. You KNOW what it will taste like, about how much it will be. We choose chain stores because they are the same in Dallas, Duluth and Denver.

And that doesn't keep local chains from developing, (and then going national), like In and Out or Five Guys.

A standard is a foundation, not a ceiling
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
View attachment 2102
This was amusing and irritating at the same time. Physics or maths aren't different for everyone are they? What exactly are they suggesting people be taught?
Also, consider that in each individual school, the students are taught the same things from the same syllabus, and yet they all come out different from that one individual school. Even people who sit together in class for ten years will come out as radically different people.

So why would it be different at a state or national level?
 

Pete Tar

Senior Member.
I guess that folks don't think about the reason why if you are traveling, and you want a quick burger, you look for those 'golden arches' for a Big Mac. You KNOW what it will taste like, about how much it will be. We choose chain stores because they are the same in Dallas, Duluth and Denver.

And that doesn't keep local chains from developing, (and then going national), like In and Out or Five Guys.

A standard is a foundation, not a ceiling
Yeah, a successful society depends on some standard points of reference to know what people are talking about, and on which to build on. It still allows for infinite variation.
 
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