Using facts to undermine a political opponent’s argument won’t win you any fans. Researchers found that if they presented conservatives with a statement from President Bush about chemical weapons followed by facts from a liberal site discrediting the statement, conservatives dug in. They were even more likely to tow the conservative line in opposition to facts if they saw the source of the opposing facts as coming from a source hostile to conservatives. This is now known as “The Backfire Effect“.
Next time you’re arguing with a loved one, presenting facts in the face of their opposition may win the battle but not the war. You’ll only have caused them to dig their heels in deeper. Maybe. It would be interesting to see this same study conducted with liberals.