Here’s a sentence you’ll never hear from a master persuader:
“Well, there are studies showing that [blank]…”
The [blank] is a point of view someone is trying to prove or convince others of and most of the time this statement fails to do so. There are several ways that people are persuaded…
- Appeals to their own experience and biases.
- Compelling rhetoric.
- Anecdotal evidence; 3rd party reports, testimonials, and storytelling.
- And (sometimes) investigation of empirical evidence; statistics, data, and science.
Claiming that “studies” exist to support your point does none of these things.
If you say this without giving supporting, specific details about the study anyone worth convincing will successfully challenge the validity of the nameless study you are citing. While this seems like terribly common sense, you hear people say it all the time, during discussions, debates, and even on interviews.
Is to remember just a few specific details of the study and the data produced.
- The country or university it was conducted at?
- Date or time period over which the study was conducted?
- Specific statistics or data from the study.
- Books you read that referenced the study.
If you’re like most people you probably are not great at remembering this kind of specific information. What a great opportunity to practice memory systems when you most need to be persuasive!
The solution is to create some associations using bizarre visualizations between the point you are trying to make, the study, and a few supporting details.
This requires creating a top-level association link between the original topic or opinion you are trying to prove and the supporting studies.
Then we need to associate the supporting details to the studies.
Let’s use some of the studies which demonstrate the veracity of Dual N-Back software as a tool for becoming smarter as examples…
Top Level Items to Link: HighIQPro, Dual N-Back, the University of Bern in Switzerland, LMU in Germany, University of Michigan, and the University of Minnesota.
Top Level Visual Associations: HighIQPro > Dual N-Back: High IQ, imagine a high person with an impressive IQ, like a scientist in a white coat smoking a joint, imagine that the scientist turns around and has two (dual) backs with a giant # symbol on them.
Dual N-Back > the University of Bern in Switzerland: Think of a guy with two backs, who walks into a barn (Bern) to open a Swiss bank account, then the barn collapses on him.
The University of Bern in Switzerland > LMU in Germany: Imagine a bank (where people have secret Swiss bank accounts) in a barn (Bern), in the vault of the bank, imagine Ludwig (LMU) Beethoven, playing piano, as he plays piano the keys break off the piano and fall out of a B-17 and bombs a German city, Munich.
LMU in Germany > University of Michigan: Imagine something German, like the Autobahn, that you are racing on until you reach Michigan a land that is being flooded by giant lakes
The University of Michigan > the University of Minnesota: In the land that is being flooded by giant lakes, the lakes are full of not water but soda, which are poured into the lakes by millions and millions of mini sodas (Minnesota).
University: University of Bern, Switzerland
Detail from Study: Magnetic resonance imaging study showed that prefrontal cortex activation increases continuously as a function of memory load brought on by Dual N-back training.
Association: Start with a bank in a barn, now imagine that giant magnet in the sky sucks the barn-bank up into the air, and then hovers over a Grand Prix race, it drops the barn-bank on the front of a race car and crushing the cortex of the driver (whatever a cortex makes you imagine). But instead of stopping the destroyed race car continuously increases its speed around the race track since the driver is dead, a giant hard drive (memory) is now sitting in the driver’s seat.
University: LMU in Germany
Detail from Study: Working memory training generalizes to other tasks which are Executive Function intensive (from the Abstract).
Association: Imagine racing in a high performance BMW on the Autobahn, suddenly ahead of you on the road are a bunch of Executives (wearing business suits) having fun (Executive Function) and a General. You speed through them!
University: University of Michigan
Detail from Study: Two groups showed improvements in Matrix Reasoning (task switching tests).
Association: Imagine that two groups of people are stranded on some great lakes, while they are being attacked by those two white dreadlocks guys from the Matrix 2 movie. Then a giant bottle of seasoning (‘sounds like’ for Reasoning}
University: University of Minnesota
Detail from Study: Promotion-focused people are better motivated to practice self-regulation by promotion framed tasks conversely prevention-focused are better people motivated by what they ought to do.
Association: You are throwing a bunch of mini sodas, at a person focused on a promotion, a guy in a cubicle looking at the corner office through binoculars, who is inside a picture frame. For prevention-focused imagine another guy in a frame who is fighting an otter (ought) with a fire extinguisher (prevention!)
Obviously, this is a lot when all written out and maybe even seems like an overwhelming amount of cognitive-creative work to do, but let’s not forget the adage “Opinions are like assholes, everyone’s got one.” A master persuader discussing (or debating) science, politics, or health, can authoritatively cite specific details to support their opinions. This person’s opinion will never be perceived as cheap or common.
If you want to take your semantic recall ability to the next level, try the SuperMemo app — this well-designed free software employs an uncanny algorithm that hacks your forgetfulness.
A software tool +25 years in research and development to enable limitless knowledge acquisition and retention…
It’s helped me to learn two languages at this point.