1 Prompt – Changing Minds
Please review the assignment’s description and requirements
below. You can refer to this description at anytime during the module. In fact,
you’re encouraged to do so often.
1,500-1,750 (approx 5-6 pgs) MLA FORMAT
(To fulfill the prompt below, all points must be addressed
in your essay.)
In an expository essay, identify ways to overcome someone’s
resistance to ideas that challenge their own deeply held beliefs, positions, or
worldview–even when presented with evidence.
Choose a focus for your essay. You can choose one of the
Active Information Avoidance
To learn more about the above and to help you chose your
essay’s focus, scroll down to the lists of required readings at the bottom of
Choose up to four or five specific aspects to address. These
obstacles should come from the required readings and podcasts.
When choosing the focus for your essay, use the respective
reading/article to help you identify these four or five aspects.
That reading/article should also be the to focus your
essay’s discussions on
Example: If you choose to focus your essay on the backfire
effect, one aspect of this phenomenon is feeling attacked.
For each aspect, identify a way to overcome it. The
approaches you develop should be legitimate methods of persuasion. In other
words, they should NOT involve such tactics as lying, deception, coercion,
bullying, threats, manipulation or violence. Consider this: What approaches
could be used to convince someone to let go of their strongly-held beliefs?
Example: When developing a method to overcome the feeling of
being attacked when someone experiences the backfire effect, ask yourself what
you can do or say to help them not feel attacked so that they will believe what
you say or, at least, be more open to what you say.
– The essay must demonstrate critical thinking.
– EACH body paragraph should identify one obstacle and
discuss one approach to overcoming it.
– Be sure your methods of overcoming the psychological
phenomena (e.g. backfire effect) are not the same as any provided in the
– The essay should be written in the third person
– Be sure your writing demonstrates your understanding of
the obstacles (e.g. backfire effect) learned about through the readings and
How can you change someone’s mind?
Considering the challenges and obstacles of persuading
someone of something, how would/could it be possible to change someone’s mind?
How would/could these challenges and obstacles be overcome?
What does it take to persuade someone of something? What
is/are the best approach(es)?
Think about what it takes for someone to convince you of
something and whether this would be an effective means of change someone else’s
Also, think about any of your experiences of trying to
convince someone of something. What worked? What didn’t work? What would you do
differently that might’ve worked, instead?
What takes place when someone changes their mind? How can
you recreate this effect? What steps would need to be taken?
In total, your essay should have:
An introduction paragraph
4 or 5 body paragraphs
With a topic sentence
one relevant & supporting quote
and a quote frame
A conclusion paragraph
Your essay should be written in the 3rd person point-of-view
Avoid using 2nd person “you” perspective (you,
your, yours, yourself).
Please review the Point-of-View chart, as needed.
The essay should have four or five body paragraphs.
Each body paragraph should discuss one obstacle/challenge
and one way to overcome it
Use an appropriate and logical method of organization for
the body paragraphs.
Sources & Quotes
Use 2-5 sources only.
You are required to use at least one required reading (see
list below) as a source for your essay.
You can also use 1-4 outside sources for your essay. All
sources used (quoted or referenced) in the essay must be cited with in-text
citations and in the works cited page.
Each body paragraph should have one quote from one
Each quote should support or illustrate the topic sentence
Quotes should take up no more than three full lines in each
body paragraph. Be sure to avoid longer quotes so that the majority of the body
paragraphs reflect your own ideas.
(Note: The below readings are from David McRaney’s blog You
Are Not So Smart (Links to an external site.). While these articles are from
one author/host, the psychological concepts are common. McRaney’s texts were
chosen for their engaging quality and clarity.)
“The Backfire Effect” by David McRaney
(Links to an external site.) (Article)
“Tribal Psychology” by David McRaney
(podcast, article & transcript) (Links to an external site.)
“Confirmation Bias” by David McRaney
(Links to an external site.) (Article)
“Active Information Avoidance” from
You Are Not So Smart (Podcast) (Links to an external site.) [1:30-30:35]
Active Information Avoidance (Transcript) (Links
to an external site.)
Benjamin Franklin Effect and Cognitive
Dissonance (Podcast) (Links to an external site.) (Links to an external site.)
The Benjamin Franklin Effect by David McRaney