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Can I Change Your Mind?

Margaret Heffernan challenges the widespread belief that there’s no point talking to people you disagree with because they will never change their minds.

There’s a widespread belief that there’s no point talking to people you disagree with because they will never change their minds. Everyone is too polarized and attempts to discuss will merely result in greater polarization. But the history of the world is defined by changes of mind –that’s how progress (or even regress) is made: shifts in political, cultural, scientific beliefs and paradigms. So how do we ever change our minds about something? What are the perspectives that foster constructive discussion and what conditions destroy it?
Margaret Heffernan talks to international academics at the forefront of research into new forms of democratic discourse, to journalists involved in facilitating national conversations and to members of the public who seized the opportunity to talk to a stranger with opposing political views:

Eileen Carroll, QC Hon, Principal Mediator and Co-founder, Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution
Jon Connor-Lyons, participant, Britain Talks
James S. Fishkin, Janet M. Peck Professor of International Communication and Director, Centre for Deliberative Democracy, Stanford University
Danielle Lawson, Post Doctoral Research Scholar, North Carolina State University
Ada Pratt, participant, Britain Talks
Mariano Sigman. Associate Professor, Torcuato Di Tella University, Buenos Aires
Cass R. Sunstein, Robert Walmsley University Professor, Harvard Law School
Jochen Wegner, Editor, Zeit Online
Ros Wynne-Jones, columnist, Daily Mirror

Presenter: Margaret Heffernan
Producer: Sheila Cook
Editor: Jasper Corbett

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28 minutes

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