There are at least three categories if you were to study how opinions are changed. One, you could consider how to persuade others, how to change their opinions. Two, you could study what things lead to change when people do change their opinions. Three, you could study how to govern you own changes of opinion so you arrive at the best of opinions.
Each category is distinct, and will have different factors that lead to the opinion change.
It is the last category I contemplated last night, and it is it for which I think I can give some answers.
Not all opinions are created equal. There often is a correct opinion and an incorrect one. You can argue and each person can have separate opinions, but the truth is often to be lodged on just one side of an issue. Either abortion is wrong, or it is right. Either we should listen to the climate change scientists, or we shouldn't.
So, you would like to be on the right side of each issue. You would like to -- shall we say -- discern the truth. How do you do it?
First, you must have desire to have the question answered. If you never give thought to whether abortion is right, if you don't even consider the issue, you are not even on the track to knowing the truth. Likewise, if you already have made up your mind, you will not be in position to consider the issue. So, being willing to consider the issue is the first factor.
Second, you must be honest. This is the most important factor. It is the key to finding the truth. Honesty is the thing that allows one person to find the correct opinion, while another person does not. Well, maybe class it as honesty and integrity. If you are an honest person, you will be objective. If you have integrity, you will consider things honestly. You will look beyond your biases. You will consider things evenly and fairly.
Third, you must have enough knowledge on the topic to be able to consider it. If you do not know all things about the issue, you might arrive at the wrong opinion even though you have considered it honestly. Your perception of what is right is going to come from the facts in your hand. If there are others, if there are things you did not know, then you cannot base your opinion on them. So, having truth helps one find truth. The truths you know about a matter guide you to know the truth of what should be done.