What Psychology Can Teach Us About Spreading Social Change

What is the best way to communicate with people about social issues to maximize the likelihood that they will modify their behavior as a result? It turns out there are “correct” answers to this question. These answers lie in decades of in-depth psychology research.

Say you want someone to go vegan. Should you tell them facts about factory farming or a story about one individual animal? Should you share graphic images of factory farmed animals, or cute images of rescued pigs? Does the guilt based messaging that we see so often on Facebook actually work? Do incremental steps (like going meatless on Mondays) make people more or less likely to go all the way (vegan)? Are pledges and public commitments effective? Watch to find out:

Watch the video on YouTube.

Nick Cooney is the founder of The Humane League, mastermind behind Farm Sanctuary’s Compassionate Communities Campaign, and author of the new book Change of Heart. In his book Nick writes about what psychology can teach us about spreading social change. If we all start learning and applying these concepts and begin thinking more critically about the advocacy we do, we can become significantly more effective without any additional effort.

Why is this so important? Many of you have seen the terror in a pig’s eyes as she is forced down an ramp towards the slaughter line. Frantic, she is pushed forward toward the sound of shrill squeals as the pigs before her get bolts to their heads and are hoisted by their legs onto a moving rail where they are dipped into boiling water and have their throats slit. We owe it to her, and all the others that will face a similar end, to be the most effective advocates we can be.

Together, we can start a Change of Heart revolution.


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