- Book Review - Change of Heart: What Psychology Can
Tell Us About Social Change
- This Week’s Sermon from Rev. Frank and Mary Hoffman
1. Book Review - Change of Heart: What Psychology Can Tell Us About
Change of Heart: What Psychology Can Tell Us about Social Change,
by Nick Cooney. $22, approx. 250 pp.
Nick Cooney, a current animal
activist who has been involved in several progressive campaigns,
discusses the vast literature that explores how and why people change
their minds and/or behaviors. He notes that most animal advocates fail
to take advantage of this wealth of information that could make them
more effective at reducing nonhuman animal suffering. Most advocates
rely on their own experiences and views, yet the fact that animal
advocates are a minority indicates that they might err if they use
their own psychology to guide strategies.
Cooney notes that
effective advocates keep their target audiences in mind, often
modifying their messages to highlight those arguments and
considerations that will resonate best. Environmentalists will likely
be moved by different arguments for a plant-based diet from those who
are very interested in healthy living. In addition, people are more
receptive to new ideas when they feel that they and presenters have
much in common. Therefore, when addressing a conservative audience,
conservative attire and speaking style can be important.
Cooney’s personal experience, finding common ground, rather than
arguing, is often most effective. For example, in a campaign to use
eggs from cage-free hens at a college, his initial interactions with
the college’s decision-makers were aimed at assessing their needs and
concerns. It turns out that there was much more concern for the
environment and sustainable living than for hens’ welfare, and his
subsequently discussions and presentations emphasized how cage-free
egg production is far more environmentally friendly and sustainable.
There is much more scientifically grounded, sound advice in this book.
I strongly recommend it for those who are dedicated to helping
Stephen R. Kaufman, M.D.
2. This Week’s Sermon from
Rev. Frank and Mary Hoffman
The Grace of Pentecost