Why Facts Don't Stand A Chance Against Emotions

The Power of Emotions Over Cold Hard Facts


Persuade Gently

Learning about emotions helps you share ideas in a kind and effective way, making discussions smoother.

Develop Understanding

Mastering emotional intelligence helps understand feelings, helping you understand people's preferences.

Develop Your Empathy

Developing empathy in your communication helps you build stronger, more genuine connections and trust.

Refine your communication skills by learning to harness your emotional intelligence with one of the UK's most acclaimed management training courses.

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More Than Just A Course Of Lectures

What gets in the way of developing and holding on to new communication skills are old habits of thinking and speaking. Even if the advice is very good the reason why it rarely sticks are the mental habits people inevitably revert to, especially under pressure.

Unlearning those old habits and internalising a more effective and lasting approach to communication needs more than a short course of lectures on how to do it.

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What makes this training stand out is the exceptional support through one-to-one coaching sessions and continuous feedback. Changing behaviour is not an easy task as old habits are hard to break.

With a 40-year track record we can help you cultivate practical skills, and build your confidence to so you can successfully navigate real-world challenges, ensuring lasting behavioural improvements.


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Course Summary

Training Objectives

Have you ever wondered why people cling to their beliefs, even when faced with solid facts that prove them wrong? Research shows emotions often have a stronger impact on our decisions than logic.

This training course will explore the reasons behind this phenomenon and offer insights into how we might bridge the gap between emotion and fact. 

  • People often let their emotions lead when making choices, because feelings come quicker and stronger than logical thoughts. This means even if facts show something else, what one feels can have a bigger effect on decisions.
  • Our brains hold onto beliefs through cognitive biases, which make us ignore facts that don't match our views. Examples like the confirmation bias and availability heuristic show how we easily remember or believe information that supports what we already think.
  • The backfire effect is when showing someone facts against their beliefs makes them believe even more strongly in those views. This happens because challenging someone's beliefs often feels like an attack on their identity or values.
  • Conversations about tough topics need empathy and respect to really get through to people. Understanding where they are coming from and presenting facts calmly helps create an open space for true discussion rather than arguments filled with anger.
  • Emotional intelligence plays a big role in changing minds. It involves using empathy, listening well, and avoiding conflict to share new ideas softly so others might be more willing to listen and consider different points of view.

Develop Your Emotional Intelligence

You will learn a set of powerful emotional intelligence communication techniques so that you can manage difficult conversations, handle challenging situations, build relationships and set firm boundaries.

Transferable Skills

The goal of this training is to equip you with the tools you need to build strong, lasting relationships in your professional life, although because these skills are so transferable many clients report vast improvements in their personal relationships as well.

Develop Skills

This is a skills development rather than just a theoretical programme, so the emphasis throughout will be on you taking turn after turn, practising your skills, while receiving feedback and coaching about your effect on others.

Repeated Practice and Feedback

In your coaching sessions you will be helped to practise dealing with the kinds of situation you find challenging, again and again, until you are confident you can do it successfully.

Video Analysis

We'll combine practical, hands-on experience with video replay and analysis and discussion of the principles involved to help you gain both skills and understanding. Special attention is paid to your individual training needs, so you can practise your skills in real-life situations that you have to handle at work.

Sustained Change

That's why as well as your place in a small group, this training includes a generous amount of private and confidential one-to-one coaching sessions online, spread over several months, ensuring an exceptional level of support. This will ensure the changes you make are sustained over a longer period of time and any obstacles are overcome. Choose between online training available worldwide, or in-person face-to-face courses in the UK.

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For a list of upcoming course dates (for online coaching and face-to-face training), the locations of the next 3-day public courses in the UK and pricing Click here.

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The Power of Emotions in Decision Making

Emotions often steer our choices more than facts do. They can make us pick one path, even if logic points another way.

How emotions often override facts

People often let feelings lead the way, even when facts say something different. This happens because our emotions hit us faster than our thoughts do. So, before we have time to think it through, we've already made up our minds based on how we feel.

Facts demand time and energy to understand; emotions don't... They just appear, powerful and hard to ignore.

Our brains are wired to respond strongly to emotions. Think about a time you felt scared or really happy – these moments stick in your memory better than a list of facts you read somewhere.

That's why emotional arguments catch our attention more easily than logical ones. Even if the evidence is clear and makes sense, if it doesn't match what someone feels deep down, they might not accept it.

Life shows us over and over that what we feel can shadow what we logically know to be true.

Emotions vs. logic

Emotions often speak louder than logic in our minds. It's like having two voices inside us, one driven by feelings and the other by facts. Most times, the emotional voice wins, especially when our heart disagrees with what our brain knows to be true.

This battle happens because emotions are powerful forces that shape how we see the world around us.

In every person's life, there comes a time where emotion trumps logic.

Logic tries to explain the present facts calmly and logically. But humans generally rely on emotions to make quick decisions. We forget or ignore logical arguments if they contradict what we feel strong about.

So, even when faced with solid proof or truth that challenges our beliefs, emotions can block it out - making changing someone's own mind really tough.

The role of cognitive biases

Cognitive biases twist our thinking in sneaky ways. They shape how we see the world and make decisions, often without us even knowing. These biases can lead us to ignore facts that don't fit what we already think or feel.

We naturally favour ideas that support our current beliefs and might overlook information that challenges them.

They also play tricks on our memory. For example, after hearing a story, we're more likely to recall details that confirm what we already thought was true. This makes changing people's minds hard because their brains hold onto old beliefs tightly.

Biases like these affect everyone, making conversations about controversial topics difficult.

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Now by involving people he takes them with him

Why Facts Don't Change People's Minds

Even with clear facts, people often stick to their old views. They see why facts don't stand a chance against emotions and easily swap what they feel for hard evidence.

Cognitive biases

Cognitive biases are like shortcuts our brains take when making decisions. They shape how we see the world and can make facts seem less important than emotions.

  1. Confirmation Bias - We love to agree with people who say what we think is right. This means we often only listen to information that matches what we already believe. If we think a certain food is healthy, we're more likely to notice articles saying just that, ignoring any contrary evidence.
  2. Anchoring Bias - The first thing we hear sticks with us. If you learn the price of a dress before knowing it's on sale, the original price will influence how you perceive the deal, even if you find out it's cheaper later.
  3. Availability Heuristic - This is about how easily something comes to mind. If you can quickly think of examples of something happening, like shark attacks, you might think they're more common than they really are.
  4. Bandwagon Effect - It feels good to fit in. So if lots of people believe something or act in a certain way, we're more likely to join in too, even if it goes against the facts.
  5. Dunning-Kruger Effect - Sometimes, the less we know, the more confident we feel about our knowledge on a subject. This can stop us from seeing reality because we don't doubt ourselves enough to check the facts.
  6. Negativity Bias - Bad news hits harder than good news. We'll remember an insult more vividly than a compliment and give it more weight in our minds, even if both are equally true or important.
  7. Outcome Bias - Judging a decision based on its outcome rather than how it was made can lead us astray. For example, just because someone won money by gambling doesn't mean it was a wise choice.
  8. Status Quo Bias - Change can be scary, so staying with what's familiar - even if it's not best - often feels safer than trying something new.
  9. Sunk Cost Fallacy - The more time or money we spend on something, the harder it is to let go or admit defeat, even when continuing isn't rational.
  10. Optimism/Pessimism Bias - Some always hope for the best outcome; others expect the worst. This changes how we weigh risks and benefits and can distort our view of the real odds.

Broadly speaking, these biases influence our lives daily but becoming aware of them helps us question our own minds and make space for facts alongside feelings.

Brain biology

Our brains have a special way of reacting to emotions. This reaction can be so strong, it sometimes makes facts seem less important. The parts of the brain that handle feelings often work faster than the parts that think logically.

So, when facing new information, our emotional response can jump in before our logical side catches up.

Emotions speak louder to the brain than cold hard facts.

This means even when presented with clear evidence or data, people might stick to what they feel is right. Their immediate emotional reactions guide their decisions and views more firmly than any fact could.

It's like having an emotional shield guarding beliefs against facts that don't fit.

Belief perseverance factors

Belief perseverance is the tendency to stick with an initial belief, even after new information proves it's wrong. It shows how strong emotions can hold ideas in place, making facts seem less convincing.

Often, we see this play out in heated debates or deeply held opinions on topics like politics or health. Our minds find comfort in familiar thoughts, pushing away anything that disagrees.

This habit makes changing minds tough, especially when emotions are involved. People generally don't like admitting they were wrong, so they hold onto old beliefs even tighter. This means that presenting facts calmly and with empathy becomes key in trying to gently shift perspectives without causing anger or defensiveness.

Availability heuristic

The availability heuristic makes us think that the things we hear about most often are more common than they are. Our brains give more weight to what's easy to remember. So, if you see lots of news stories about shark attacks, for example, you might start to think they happen all the time.

But actually, they're pretty rare.

This way of thinking affects our choices and fears without us even realising it. We end up worrying too much about stuff that's unlikely to happen and ignoring bigger risks just because they don't get as much attention in the media or from our friends.

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The Backfire Effect: Why Facts Don't Always Change Minds

The Backfire Effect shows us why facts sometimes can't change what people think. It happens when new information makes someone hold onto their old beliefs even more tightly.


The backfire effect is a term from psychology. It describes what happens when showing facts to someone does not convince them. Instead, it makes their own beliefs even stronger. This can happen even if the facts totally go against what they thought was true before.

This effect shows how powerful emotions are in shaping what we think and do. Minds often reject new information if it conflicts with deep-seated views. So, instead of changing minds, presenting evidence might just lead folks to dig their heels in deeper into what they already felt was right.


Sometimes, no matter how solid the facts are, emotions hold a stronger sway. This can be seen in various scenarios where despite clear evidence, people choose to follow their feelings. Let's have a look at a few examples that paint this picture:

  1. Political debates often get heated and personal. Voters might stick with their preferred party even when facts show another candidate might serve their interests better. It's more about the emotional bond they feel than the cold, hard facts.
  2. Marketing strategies play on our emotions. A commercial showing a happy family enjoying dinner together can persuade us to buy a particular brand of pasta sauce over another, despite lacking any concrete proof it tastes better.
  3. In personal beliefs and values, people frequently disregard scientific findings if they clash with their pre-existing views. For instance, someone might reject evidence about climate change because it feels overwhelming or threatens their way of life.
  4. Social media ecosystems create echo chambers where users see only content that aligns with their existing beliefs. Even when presented with factual corrections, individuals may dismiss them outright if they challenge their comfort zone.
  5. Health advice from experts sometimes falls on deaf ears when it counters what someone wants to believe about their habits. Smokers might ignore warnings about lung cancer risks because quitting feels too hard or because they cling to anecdotes of long-lived relatives who smoked.
  6. Consumer loyalty to brands can defy logic - for instance, sticking with a phone manufacturer known for frequent faults because of an emotional attachment formed through years of use or marketing that resonates on a personal level.
  7. Historical narratives taught in schools are sometimes questioned later in life but not abandoned because they form part of one's national identity—a deeply emotional connection.

Each example shows how powerful emotions can be, often leading us away from fact-based decisions toward choices that feel right on a gut level - even when evidence suggests otherwise.


Facts often lose the battle against emotions. This happens for various reasons.

  1. Cognitive Biases: These are like shortcuts our brains take that can steer us away from thinking clearly. We might favour information that backs up what we already feel, ignoring what doesn't. This makes it tough to change our minds, even when faced with strong facts.
  2. Emotional Connections: People have strong ties to their beliefs because they're linked to emotions. When facts challenge these beliefs, it feels like an attack on oneself, leading to resistance against changing those beliefs.
  3. Fear of Being Wrong: Admitting that one's belief could be wrong is scary for many. It's easier to stick with what we know than face the unknown or accept that we've been mistaken all along.
  4. Group Identity: Often, our views tie us to a group - say, political or social circles; challenging these views might risk losing one's place in these groups or damaging relationships within them.
  5. Echo Chambers: Thanks to today's technology, people can surround themselves only with information and opinions that match their own. This makes encountering or accepting conflicting facts even harder.
  6. The Backfire Effect: Sometimes, when presented with facts opposing their views, people dig their heels in even deeper instead of reconsidering their stance. They might see the attempt at correction as an attack rather than help.
  7. Overload of Information: In a world bursting with information and different sides to every story, it's overwhelming trying to sift through what’s true and what’s not. Emotions offer a simpler route – if it feels right, it must be right.
  8. Simplification Over Complexity: Emotional responses are often immediate while understanding complex facts takes effort and time - something not everyone is willing or able to invest in.

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Stand up for your ideas and also respect theirs

Rejecting Contradictory Facts: A Psychological Defence

It's tough to accept facts that go against what we hold dear. Our brains often choose comfort over the challenge of new truths, acting as a shield against discomfort.

The Echo Chamber Comfort

People often find comfort in their own echo chambers. Here, they hear and share ideas that match what they already think. This echo chamber makes them feel safe and right. It acts like a warm blanket of shared views, where different opinions can't break through.

In the echo chamber, your words bounce back with agreement; outside it, they're lost in the wind.

This setup can make folks stick to their thoughts even harder. They look for validation from those who agree with them. When everyone around agrees, it feels good and strengthens belief in one's own ideas.

So, challenging facts have a tough time getting through this wall of shared beliefs.

The Quest for Validation

We all want to feel like we belong and are understood. This drive leads us on a quest for validation from our own life and those around us. We tend to accept facts and ideas more easily if they come from sources we respect or agree with.

Social media has made this easier, creating spaces where everyone agrees with us. This echo chamber effect makes it hard for contrary facts to break through.

Finding common ground is what matters most in getting our points across. People often reject facts not because they don't understand or support them but because these facts threaten their sense of belonging.

To change minds, showing understanding and respect is key, even before presenting the facts. This approach opens doors for real discussions instead of arguments filled with emotion, anger and rejection.

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Brain Biology and its Impact on Decision Making

Emotions can really change how we make decisions. This is because our brain reacts strongly to emotions, making us see things differently.

The influence of emotions on the brain

The brain works in amazing ways, and emotions play a big part. They can change how we see things, making us focus on what matches our feelings. This means if we're happy, we might notice more good stuff around us.

But when sad or angry, the negative seems everywhere. It's like emotions have their own filter for what we pay attention to.

Emotions shape our reality by highlighting what aligns with how we feel.

Self-awareness is key here. Knowing why you feel a certain way helps you understand your reactions better. This insight is crucial for working through strong feelings instead of letting them cloud your judgement or decision-making process.

The importance of self-awareness

Self-awareness is key in understanding how emotions influence decisions. It helps us see why we choose certain paths over others, even when facts suggest a different route. By being self-aware, we can spot our emotional triggers and learn to control them better.

This skill allows for more balanced choices, blending emotion with fact.

Knowing oneself also keeps our minds open to new information. It shields us from blindly following beliefs just because they feel right or comfortable. With strong self-awareness, we're more likely to question our initial reactions and consider other perspectives.

This openness is vital for personal growth and making well-rounded decisions in life and business.

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Overcoming the Backfire Effect using Emotional Intelligence

To beat the backfire effect, using emotional intelligence is key. It's about connecting on a human level and sharing facts in a calm way.

Listening respectfully

Listening respectfully means giving your full attention to someone else's words. It shows you value what they're saying, even if you don't agree. By doing this, you create a safe space for open conversation.

This approach lets one person and the other person feel heard and respected.

Listening is an art that requires attention over talent, spirit over ego, others over self.

Using empathy and avoiding anger are key. They help in seeing things from another's perspective. This way, emotions can become bridges rather than walls between people.

Using empathy for Perspective Change

Using empathy helps us see things from another person's view. It means feeling what they feel and understanding why they think a certain way. This can change how we see our own ideas and help others feel heard.

When we really get where someone is coming from, arguing lessens and talking becomes easier.

Empathy opens the door to new ways of thinking for both sides. It moves us past fighting to find common ground. This method makes it more likely for facts to be seen in a different light, without the hate or anger that often comes with debating.

Fostering Openness

To make someone open to new ideas, start by listening. Really listen to what they have to say, without planning your next argument in your head. This shows respect and makes them more likely to hear you out, too.

It's all about creating a space where everyone feels safe writing and sharing their thoughts.

Emotions play a big role here. If people feel understood and valued, they're more open to considering different viewpoints. So, use empathy and kindness as tools to encourage openness.

This doesn't mean giving up on facts but presenting them in a way that connects with the other person's feelings and experiences. The goal is not just winning an argument but finding common ground and understanding each other better.

Avoiding arguments and anger

Avoiding arguments and anger means keeping cool and not letting feelings take over. We listen more and talk less to understand others. It’s about showing respect, even if we disagree.

This helps everyone stay calm and open-minded.

We use kindness and patience instead of getting mad or upset. Keeping conversations friendly makes it easier for people to hear our side. This way, sharing thoughts can bring us closer instead of pushing us apart.

Using appeals to emotional argument

Emotional appeals reach deep into our feelings. They make us act because they touch our hearts. It's using strong stories or reminders of joy, fear, or love that connect with someone on a personal level.

This method is powerful in getting the point of a message across. For example, sharing a touching story might change minds faster than just listing facts.

To use emotional appeals well, one must know their audience. What moves them? Sadness? Happiness? Understanding your audience, this helps tailor messages that truly speak to people. By doing so, writing becomes not just words but something that can stir emotions and inspire action.

Establishing Common Values

Finding common values helps people connect on a deeper level. It makes it easier to share ideas and understand each other. This is essential when trying to overcome the backfire effect.

Talking about shared beliefs and goals can make conversations more open and less defensive.

Present facts calmly after identifying these shared values. This approach can make the other person more willing to listen. They might see your points as relevant to their own life, making your less persuasive arguments more persuasive.

This way, even tough discussions can lead to positive changes and mutual understanding.

Presenting facts calmly

Talking in a calm way helps people listen better. It makes it easier for them to understand and accept facts, even if those facts go against what they already think or feel. To do this well, you need to share information without causing upset or anger.

This means choosing words that don't attack but instead invite conversation and thought.

It's also smart to explain things simply and clearly. Avoid using hard words or too many details that might confuse someone or make them lose interest. By keeping your tone friendly and your explanations easy to follow, you can help others see things from a new point of view.

This article encourages everyone to stay open-minded and ready to learn more about the topic at hand.

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Now he listens before jumping to conclusions

Societal Implications of the Backfire Effect

The backfire effect splits society. It makes people cling to their views, even when faced with facts that prove them wrong.

Emotion-Driven Polarisation

People often split into groups because they feel strongly about their views. This splitting is called polarisation. It happens when people's emotions push them to disagree more and more with anyone who has different opinions.

Instead of facts, what they feel inside guides them. This leads to society being divided into "us" vs "them.".

This division makes it hard for people to listen and understand each other. Emotions like anger or fear can make these divides even wider. People seek others who agree with them, creating echo chambers where only similar views are shared.

This means that even when new information comes along, it might not really change people's minds in their minds if it does not fit with what they already feel or want to believe.

The Dangers of Disregarding Facts and logical argument

Ignoring facts can lead to harmful choices. Society might split more as people stick to their views, not listening to reason. This divide makes it tough for folks to see eye-to-eye or solve big issues together.

Also, when we brush off facts, mistakes repeat themselves. History has shown us that ignoring the truth can lead down dark paths. So, paying attention to the facts is key for a safe and united society.

Dismissing real information also stops progress. If everyone just holds on tight to what they already think, new ideas don't get a chance. It's like blocking the path to better solutions for our problems.

Imagine trying to fix something but using the wrong tools because you didn't check which ones are needed - it just doesn't work out well.

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The Power of Emotional Appeals

Emotional appeals grab our hearts, making us more likely to listen. They often speak louder than cold hard facts, pulling us in and keeping our attention.

How emotional arguments can be more convincing than logical ones

Emotions hit harder than cold facts. They reach deep, tapping into our personal lives and experiences. This makes emotional arguments grab attention fast. People connect with stories and feelings far more easily than numbers or abstract concepts.

Telling a person about the statistics of climate change might not sway them. But show them pictures of affected wildlife or tell a story of them stories of people losing homes to rising seas? Now, you've got their heart listening - and often, that's where decisions come from.

In this way, understanding the target audience helps tailor emotional appeals that speak directly to their values and concerns.

The importance of understanding the target audience

Knowing your audience helps you hit the right note. If you get who they are and what they feel, your message lands better. You can then use emotional appeals that connect directly with their hearts.

Facts matter, but how people feel about those facts matters more. So, tailoring your words to match their emotions boosts the chance of getting your point across.

This understanding shapes every word you say or write, making sure it's not just heard but felt deeply. It's like picking exactly the right key for a song – get it wrong, and it sounds off; get it right, and it resonates.

This way, by accessing the main types of emotions within them, you ensure that feedback is positive and the course of conversation leads where you intended.

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The Role of Fear in Decision Making

Fear often makes people forget logic. It can make scary messages seem very real and important, stopping us from thinking clearly.

How fear can shut down logical thinking

Fear can make our minds go blank. It hits like a loud noise, making it hard to think straight or remember facts. Our brains focus on the fear, pushing logic out of the way. This happens because our mind tries to protect us from danger.

So, instead of thinking clearly, we react quickly without much thought.

This reaction is part of being human. Fear grabs our attention and holds it tight. It makes us see risks everywhere, even if they're not real. We might ignore important information because fear tells us to run or fight, not stand and ponder.

This shows why facts don't always win against emotions; fear is a powerful force that can darken clear thinking in an instant.

The impact of fear-based messaging

Messages that scare us can really stick in our minds. They grab our attention and make us feel like we have to act fast. This happens because the brain focuses more on staying safe than on sorting fact from fiction.

So, if someone tells us something scary, we're likely to listen and react before we even think about whether it's true.

Such messages often make people ignore facts that don't fit with what they're scared of. It’s easier for folks to reject new information than to face their fears and question them.

This is why fear-based messaging is so powerful - it plays directly into how our brains work, making emotions win over reason almost every time.

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She now feels more confident in tackling people

Why Facts Don't Stand A Chance Against Emotions - Conclusion

Facts often lose the battle against emotions. People generally feel before they think, and what they feel can shape their views more than any hard evidence. Hearts win over heads, making it tough for facts to change minds.

Emotions drive us, coloring our decisions with personal biases and fears. So, next time you wonder why facts don't seem enough, think about how emotions are playing their part.

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He's now far more aware of his impact on others

Why Facts Don't Stand A Chance Against Emotions - FAQs

1. Why do emotions often win over facts?

Well, it's simple really. When people feel strongly about something, those feelings can overshadow the cold, hard facts. It’s like when you believe something because it feels right, even if the evidence says otherwise.

2. Can facts ever change how we feel?

Sometimes, yes... but not always. If someone is really set on what they believe, showing them facts might not change their mind at all. It’s a bit like trying to convince your friend that broccoli is better than chocolate – good luck!

3. What makes emotions so powerful?

Emotions are like the boss of our brain; they call the shots more often than we think! They help us make quick decisions without having to stop and think too hard about all the details.

4. How can understanding this help us?

Knowing that emotions can outshine facts helps us get why people might not always listen to reason... It reminds us to be patient and try different ways of sharing information that might appeal more to how they’re feeling.

5. Why do emotional arguments often overpower logical arguments?

When people encounter an emotional argument, it resonates on a personal level, quickly accessing deep-seated feelings. This immediate access overwhelms the logical argument's slower appeal to reason. In a crucial moment, an emotional argument can capture the audience's attention, bypassing their ability to process a logical argument rationally. This article explores the idea that our own mind is quicker to identify and react to emotional cues than to logical details. Even if a logical argument is sound, the emotional argument often prevails because it connects to what we've already believed or felt at some moment.

People who feel understood are more receptive

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