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In the midst of a debate, reciting facts and hard data is not the failsafe strategy we often expect. This is especially true of political debates, largely due to the widespread polarization of the American public, as misinformation is compelling more people than ever before their chosen spheres of reality.

If you feel like you’re hitting a wall while verbally engaging with someone close, there is a better strategy for overcoming the seemingly relentless breakup: Illustrate your point of view with a story. ON a lot of research shows how a poignant or gripping anecdote can transform the heart and mind by evoking empathy rather than willingness to fight.

Here’s why you might consider approaching a debate with a story that illustrates your broader point of view.

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Nobody likes to be taught

I am not claiming that facts are bad (in fact, they are just the opposite), but when a person is extremely adamant or irreversible to your position, reciting various numbers or data points may seem papal or worse, you disregard them. There’s a reason people argue about how much they hate to be Talk on Reddit threads. This is because promoting mutual respect is an essential part of making your point of view heard and accepted.

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Every controversial discussion has a give and take. That is, when you put forward a detailed argument based on verifiable facts, you need to give your opponent the same courtesy to listen politely even if his reasoning is mixed up. However, if it feels defiant to defiantly shout facts out, then you should probably opt for a different, less obvious approach.

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Stories evoke empathy

Illustrating a point with a personal story can make someone’s heart beat faster than raw facts just can’t. It’s actually a matter of brain chemistry. A study from 2013 Paul Zak, professor of economics, psychology, and management at Claremont Graduate Center, California, explored the connections between compelling narratives, empathy, and bond building. As Zak wrote, telling a story that attracts attention can stimulate the production of Oxytocin in the brain– a neuropeptide most commonly associated with increased production during childbirth, but also in moments of social appreciation and attachment:

As social beings who regularly connect with strangers, stories are an effective way of conveying important information and values ​​from one person or community to the next. Personal and emotionally compelling stories are more brain engaging and memorable than just giving a set of facts.

If you come up with an anecdote, it is more likely that you will become accessible to your point of view regarding the disenfranchisement of voters about a woman who was sentenced to five years in prison for voting on paroleinstead of a series of talks about the evolution of gerrymandering. As Zak wrote for her Harvard Business Review In 2014, oxytocin is produced when people are presented with examples of kindness:

Oxytocin is created when we are trusted or when we are friendly, and it motivates cooperation with others. It does this by increasing our sense of empathy and our ability to experience other people’s emotions.

We are often better off engaging with a person’s ability to empathize than listing facts in an ostensible attempt to gain an argument.

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Empathy is more convincing than facts

It might be a little crazy that straight facts are less convincing than they should be, but empathy prevails when it comes to getting someone to understand your point of view. A study published on Monday in the Procedure of the National Academy of Sciences drives this house on. In 15 different studies, Yale University researchers challenged people from across the political spectrum with differing viewpoints on contentious issues such as gun control and abortion, and found that the most important means of creating common ground was personal experience.

As the authors write abstractly, personal experience wins as an argumentative tool when differences of opinion depend on more moral questions, for example questions that directly affect people’s lives in concrete ways:

Studies show that people believe in the truth of both facts and personal experiences in non-moral disagreements; However, when there is a moral disagreement, subjective experiences seem truer (ie, less to be doubted) than objective facts.

It’s not so much that facts can’t win an argument. However, showing how these facts manifest themselves in real, lived experiences can only improve your chances of getting your good point across.