The Rural Schools Association of New York

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The “Backfire” Effect: Communication in An Age of Doubt

A significant amount of my dissertation research finds that a number of people in local communities do not believe administrators when they claim cuts to programs are necessary, when people question salaries, benefits, and don’t understand state mandates. The back fire effect emerges especially hard when data presented runs counter to a group’s “gut feelings” and often harden the incorrect belief. It takes a dedicated amount of work and a long term process to tell the story in a way that can move people’s opinions.

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