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Did you know that debaters can inoculate their audiences against future persuasion? Not against arguments you know (that’s called spiking), but against arguments you’ve never heard of.

Please partake in a recent text conversation…

Isaiah Mcpeak:

So you guys should go find your neg mojo.

since you have extra time

Micah Bock:

Mk what do u suggest

Cause we rocked on Neg

And we won the arguments in octas

It was Chris’s last speech

Isaiah Mcpeak:

I suggest figuring out what your top themes were from this tournament on neg.

Micah Bock:


Isaiah Mcpeak:

In other words, make a list of your top 3-5 “bright spots” – things you want to repeat and maximize and do even better next time.

Then, add to them with: 1) Figures of speech (make some up), 2) Famous quotes, 3) Surprising stats.

Micah Bock:


Isaiah Mcpeak:

Do that, then you can “plant” ideas in judges minds. I told you about the theory of Inoculation Theory Meta Analysis, right?

Micah Bock:


Inception 😉


If you find the Inoculation Theory paper challenging to understand, here’s a basic summary:

You can inoculate an audience against arguments you don’t know about that they will hear in the future (like in a fiery 2AR). To do so, you must:

1) Warn them it’s coming

2) Supply a strong example of the type of persuasion they will hear, and defeat it

As a result, your audience will be more suspicious of what they hear later, and even if they can’t think of a specific reason not to adopt the “most recent” arguments they are hearing from your opponent, the example will help them trust and believe that there would be more counter-refutation to outweigh, if only you were given the chance to speak.

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