Last year Alix Spiegel did a 7-minute piece for National Public Radio in the States on, “How Politicians Get Away With Dodging The Question.”
The piece was about a research study by Todd Rogers, a behavioural psychologist at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government who wanted to know what people thought about politicians that answered something completely different from the question that was asked. Politicians use this technique called “the pivot” about 70 percent of the time and most people seem non the wiser. Rogers came to the conclusion that people are only capable of detecting dodges and seeing the politician as being untrustworthy if “the pivot” is very obvious. Most people don’t seem capable of detecting subtle evasions.
Teaching students to recognize “the pivot” as an answering tactic seems like a critical life skill.
Older students may like to listen to and example of “the pivot” in action by listening to “Energy Minister Explains Why Bills Go Up” on CBC’s radio program “Ontario Today.” http://www.cbc.ca/ontariotoday/2013/11/26/wednesday-the-price-of-power/
For an analysis of Bob Chiarelli’s “pivots,” visit Tom Adams’ “Ideas for a Smarter Grid.” http://www.tomadamsenergy.com/2013/11/29/bob-chiarelli-ducks-ontarios-electricity-questions/