Apr 11, 2016 03:26 AM EDT

Prejudice At Work: A Ten Minute Face To Face Conversation May Fix It

By Jane Reed

A new scientific study has been focusing on how a ten minute face-to-face conversation may actually help change the mind of an individual. Will this help them seem less prejudiced?

It is no secret that the LGBT community has been fighting off discrimination and prejudice in the United States. According to ABC, the study, which has been published in the journal Science, looked into the Miami area on what their views are regarding transgenderism after an ordinance was passed to protect transgender people from discrimination. Those conducting the study were sent to find out if they could find and counteract any backlash to the ordinance.

Those conducting the study, or canvassers, approached each Miami resident by listening, sharing and prodding them to open up about their own lives. The canvassers then explained that they could vote for a repeal of the nondiscrimination ordinance and then asked voters to explain their views on transgender people. These canvassers then attempted a new kind of persuasion to get the resident to reconsider transgender issues. They asked voters to talk about a time when they were judged negatively for being different.

The conversation opened up a window into people's experiences in relation to transgender issues. The study authors explained, "The intervention ended with another attempt to encourage active processing by asking voters to describe if and how the exercise changed their mind."

The whole conversation only took 10 minutes. After 3 months, lead author David Broockman reported that those voters who took part in the initial introduction stages of transgender issues were exhibiting positive feelings towards transgenders.

Broockman, an assistant professor at Stanford University Graduate School of Business, said the findings don't point to a "trick" at getting people to agree with you, but seem to show tapping into people's empathy can allow them to reconsider their position.

"It's not as easy as here's a script," Broockman told ABC News. "Similar to cognitive behavioral therapy, some of the ideas are if you ask the right questions and have [people] think through their own opinions and behaviors, that can help people lead them to change their own minds."

While more research is still needed to improve this kind of social science, it is clear that talking it out can help reduce prejudice in any environment. As a manager or supervisor, be sure to invest time in your employees' by allowing an open conversation.

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