Friday, July 27, 2007

Power of the Mind 

PR cannot persuade a convinced mind. If someone holds a concept absolutely, no evidence will change the individual's belief. Interestingly, that was the conclusion of this study on the effects of cell phone microwaves on health. Even though the study showed that individuals could not tell when the tower was actually transmitting versus when it was not, there were those who suffered "real symptoms" from non-existing microwaves. The power of their belief made them sick.

There are other cases in modern life where belief causes symptoms. There is a belief that power lines cause tumors. There are those who react badly to smells, even though there is an infinitesimal presence of organic chemicals in them. These individuals have banded together in the past to stop services such as electrical delivery or to halt the use of perfume because of its effect on them. They have symptoms but they reject outright that it might be in their heads. When the science on the topic is ambiguous, they can gain powerful political support and change or make law that in retrospect should have been left alone. We aren't Spocks. Persuasion deals with the whole man -- emotion and reason. There are times when emotion triumphs reason, and persuasion must answer in kind.


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