It's not that they manipulated the questions in advance -- it's that they reversed the meaning of the questions after the respondent had answered them. Even under these conditions, the majority of respondents were then prepared to support the position which they had, ostensibly, only a few minutes ago opposed and vice versa.
But ... This feels like the behavioural economist trick - getting people to behave morally or not in dividing up a pot of money. It turns out that people have comfort zones, areas of expertise where they are good at applying their skills and moral compasses. So in the economists trick, taking people out of the lab and making moral decisions at work they become more comfortable and less liable to change their minds
I suspect that if you asked a Palestinian aid worker just back from gaza their views and then bait and switched them, you might find they spot the move ! I also suspect the same person could be tricked over the morality of sugar tarrif duty in the US and Iowas farmers.
> in this format...
and we didn't really care, we would probably defend the misquotation (unless we explicitly remember what we actually said.)
when was the last time you said: "If I said that, I was completely wrong: I feel the opposite on this matter."
that would leave someone looking like someone completely unreliable whose opinion shouldn't matter in the slightest. no shit people don't want to be that person and will protect what they think people believe they have said.
you could show this with a second study, in which people are asked to defend a statement others heard them make, but where the defendend KNOWS that what the other HEARD is not what they SAID. It's easier and probably in many cases will happen, that you defend what you know the other person thought you had said.
THIS IS WHY "DISRUPTIVE LISTENING" (sorry, I don't remembe rthe correct word at the moment, the meaning is "actively pretending to hear something else") WORKS SO WELL.
In other words. If you are told, "There is no way we can ever be interested", and you repeat to the caller, "so if I understand you you are saying that there is no way you can put it in this month's budget"
then the person will quite likely agree with that statement. You just changed their meaning and yet they will not contradict you.
I wouldn't either.
(Cue political jokes)
to justify the title, "how to confuse a moral compass" the methodology would have to remove the justification or public discourse aspect, and show that someone's internal or private belief actually changed due to the conversational obligation to defend what they are misquoted as saying. i.e. you would have to find out what they thought to themselves privately before and after.
maybe a way to do this would be to have an "outside friend" who is more trusted than any of the people involved in this fake context, and see if they would report a different opinion to this friend that they think has no connection or knowledge of the immediate social context, due to the misquotation in the immediate social context.
As it is,the methodolgy does not justify the conclusion. (as summarized for us, I didn't click through to the paper.)