I’ve argued before that you need to emotionally hook learners even before you cognitively activate related knowledge. I reckon that learners are more likely to be open to any manipulation you might provide if they understand viscerally why something’s important before they are informed cognitively. Some new research might support this argument.
An article points to a theory proposed by two philosophers that interprets a broad range of cognitive phenomena in terms of human communication and argumentation. In particular, some reliable flaws exhibited in our thinking, such as confirmation bias, are hypothesized to exist because we’ve evolved to be able to argue for our beliefs. We argue, therefore we are.
This isn’t to say that we can’t evaluate arguments effectively under the right contexts (when we have no bias or when we’re searching for ‘the truth’), but that when we’re creating arguments we are likely to be suboptimal from a logical standpoint, but very good at trying to marshal the evidence in a particular direction when we care. As the authors make clear.
My particular take on this, however, is that we should ensure to marshal a convincing case about why this learning is important or our learners may make a convincing case to the contrary. Hook the learner’s interests and motivations, and the rest of the work will be easier.
And, of course, I’m making my case in the same way they argue we should, but that doesn’t undermine the quality of the reasoning ;).