The Best Way to Win an Argument? Shout Louder Than Everyone Else and People Will Assume You're Right

shouting

Are you having trouble persuading people to your point of view? Express yourself more stridently. That's what researchers at Washington State University discovered. Victoria Woollaston of the Daily Mail writes:

They analysed more than a billion tweets posted during various American sporting events, including the 2013 Super Bowl, to the test whether being accurate or being confident made Twitter users more popular.

Despite professional pundits and amateur fans making a similar amount of correct and incorrect predictions, the tweeters who 'yelled' louder were seen as more trustworthy and had more followers.

To test the theory, two economic students from the university studied the language used by sports pundits who often 'yell' for attention.

Jadrien Wooten and Ben Smith compared the tweets of professional pundits - celebrities with verified Twitter accounts - with amateur tweeters that claimed to have some sports expertise in their bio. […]

Words like 'vanquish,' 'destroy' and 'annihilate' posted in Tweets were considered to be confident words.

The researchers used these confident words in place of being able to measure loudness online.

The research found that the professionals were correct with their predictions 47 per cent of the time.

Whereas the amateurs made accurate predictions in 45 per cent of cases.

However, the professionals were more confident, scoring a .480 confidence rating compared to the amateurs' .313.

If a professional pundit accurately predicted every game of the baseball playoffs and series, the authors estimated his or her Twitter following would increase 3.4 per centr

While an amateur would get 7.3 per cent more followers.

A confident professional would increase his or her following by nearly 17 per cent, whereas a 'loud' amateur would get 20 per cent more followers.

Link -via Dave Barry

(Photo: Crosa)


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When I was in high school, they ushered all the students into the auditorium for candidate speeches prior to the student body elections. Several got up yelled their messages, pounding on the lectern, and working the crowd into a lather.

Then one candidate got up and quietly said, "I'm confident enough in what I have to say that I don't need to yell it."

That always stuck with me. I just wish I could remember if he won or not.
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The analysis is wrong because the underlying assumption is wrong. People do not follow pundits or amateurs because of perceived accuracy. They follow because of entertainment value. Confident, blowhard posts are far more entertaining than carefully worded, accurate ones.
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