3 Questions: Affective, Cognitive Argument

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What Is an Affective Argument?

An affective argument is one that speaks to our gut, to our heart. This is the kind of argument where a person may “think” that it does not strike them right. “Strike them right” is a feeling. People typically react from their gut first, so if our arguments are not aimed towards the affective, we are simply losing out.

Now, I know some people think that they are reacting from their minds, but the chances are very good their feelings got involved first and informed their minds. This all happens very quickly, so it is easy to “think” we are reacting from our minds. Remember, it strikes the gut, the heart first, and then rushes into the mind.

What Is a Cognitive Argument?

A cognitive argument is one that speaks to the mind. This is the kind of argument we often carefully craft so that no one can argue against it. It is airtight. Emotion has been removed. Or so we think. Again, chances are very good others are reacting from their affective sides first. Do not lose hope! If we address their affective side first, we soften them up for the cognitive follow-up. Both are important.

What Is an Example Argument Combining Both Affective and Cognitive?

Probably the shortest, most incredibly effective affective, cognitive argument all rolled into one are these three simple words: you know me. You know me. When we say these words to another person, we are actually touching them in their gut, in their heart first. All their experiences with us come pouring out, so hopefully the experiences are more good than bad.

Instantly, the feelings spread out into the brain, and they start thinking about such things as how we do great work on time, are enjoyable to be around, etc. They can also be thinking about how we are such a pain to deal with, or that our work is substandard. Three very powerful words.

The key to any argument we want to be as effective as possible is to address the affective side first, and then follow up with the cognitive. Just remember:

You know me.

To learn more about creating effective, affective and cognitive arguments, please enroll in our online course “Leading Peers (or anyone else).”