The Psychology of Persuasion


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The Psychology of Persuasion

  1. 2. <ul><li>The PsychFutures Research Maps are a series of digests on the most popular Psychology related topics, whereby linking to podcasts, videos, journal publications, websites and blogs; ideal if you’re looking for inspiration to kick-start your dissertations and research projects. </li></ul><ul><li>The topics are varied, including Love, Sport and Music. To view the full list and download the other Research Maps click here or go to: /page/research </li></ul>Providing One-Stop Summaries and Directions For Your Research
  2. 3. Introduction <ul><li>Persuasion is a form of social influence . By definition, it is the process of guiding yourself or another towards the adoption of an attitude, idea or action by rational and symbolic (though not always logical) means. </li></ul><ul><li>We are confronted by persuasion in our everyday lives. Producers of food products want us to buy their goods; movie studios want us to see their latest films. For this reason, it is easy to overlook how outside sources influence us. </li></ul><ul><li>As persuasion is such a useful influence, the techniques have been studied since ancient times although social psychologists formally began studying the techniques in the early 20th century. The aim of persuasion is to convince the target to internalise the argument and accept the attitude as part of their core belief system. </li></ul>
  3. 4. Research <ul><li>As discussed in this article by Kendra Cherry, there are only a few highly effective persuasion techniques. Other methods include the use of punishment, rewards, positive/negative expertise and moral appeal, among others. </li></ul>
  4. 5. Research <ul><li>Create a need </li></ul><ul><li>This method involves creating a need, or appealing to a previously existing need. This type of persuasion appeals to a person’s fundamental needs for shelter, love, self-esteem, and self-actualisation . </li></ul>
  5. 6. Research <ul><li>Appeal to Social Needs </li></ul><ul><li>This effective method of persuasion appeals to the individual's needs to be prestigious, popular or similar to others. This method of persuasion is illustrated in many television commercials; viewers are encouraged to purchase advertised items in order to be like others, or to be like a well-known or well-respected person. Television commercials are a massive source of exposure to persuasion, if you consider that estimates claim that the average British viewer watched a record of more than four hours of TV a day (based on the first three months of 2010) – 48 ads a day as a result. </li></ul>
  6. 7. Research <ul><li>Use Loaded Images and Words </li></ul><ul><li>Persuasion often makes use of loaded words and images. Advertisers are all too aware of the power behind the use of positive words, hence the motive behind phrases such as “New and Improved” and “All Natural.” </li></ul><ul><li>This is just one example of how persuasion can be used in everyday advertisements; an interesting experiment is to view a random television programme for half hour or so and note every example of persuasive advertising – it can be quite astounding. </li></ul>
  7. 8. Research <ul><li>In his book on persuasion, Robert Cialdini defined six “weapons of influence”: </li></ul><ul><li>Reciprocity – People are often inclined to return a favour (consider the persuasiveness of free samples used in marketing and advertising.) In his conferences, Robert Cialdini uses the example of Ethiopia providing thousands of dollars in humanitarian aid to Mexico following the 1985 earthquake, although Ethiopia itself was suffering a crippling famine and civil war at the time. Ethiopia was reciprocating for the support Mexico provided when Italy invaded Ethiopia in 1937. </li></ul>
  8. 9. Research <ul><li>Commitment and Consistency – If people commit to what they believe is right, whether orally or in writing, they are more than likely to honour their commitment, even when the original motivation is subsequently removed. For example, during the purchase of a house, if the price is suddenly raised at the last moment, the chances are the buyer will still continue with the purchase because they have already decided to buy. See article by Noah Goldstein. </li></ul>
  9. 10. Research <ul><li>Social Proof – If people see others doing something they are more likely to do it themselves. In one experiment, one or more participants would look skyward, causing bystanders to look skyward in order to see what they were looking at. Interestingly, at one point the experiment was aborted because so many people were looking up, they stopped traffic. In this way, persuasion can be seen as similar to conformity. </li></ul>
  10. 11. Research <ul><li>Authority – People have a tendency to obey authority figures, even when asked to perform unpleasant acts. Cialdini uses the examples of the Milgram experiments and the My Lai massacre . </li></ul>
  11. 12. Research <ul><li>Liking – People are more easily persuaded by people that they like. Cialdini uses the example of the marketing of Tupperware , which would now be known as viral marketing. People were more likely to buy the product if they liked the person that was selling it to them. Also discussed was the higher success of more attractive people, and it was found that, in general, more aesthetically pleasing people tended to use persuasive influence more effectively over others. </li></ul>
  12. 13. Research <ul><li>Scarcity – Demand is generated by perceived scarcity. This is seen by offers that are said to be available for a “limited time only”. </li></ul>
  13. 14. Research <ul><li>In the book “The Art of Woo” by G.Richard Shell and Mario Moussa , a four-step approach to strategic persuasion is described. Persuasion is described as the ability to win others over, not to defeat them. For this reason, they state that it is essential to see the subject from numerous angles in order to anticipate the reaction of others to a proposal. Step 1: Survey your situation The persuader must analyse the situation, what his/her goals are and the challenges s/he faces within the organisation. Step 2: Confront the five barriers Five obstacles are identified are posing the greatest risk to a successful influence: relationships, credibility, communication mismatches, belief systems, interest and needs. Step 3: Make your pitch To justify a decision, people require solid reason although many decisions are based on the individual's intuition. Also involved in this step is presentation skills. Step 4: Secure your commitments It is vital to tackle politics both at the individual and organisational level in order to safeguard the long time success. </li></ul>
  14. 15. Research <ul><li>Propaganda and persuasion are closely related. Propaganda involves a concentrated set of messages aimed at influencing the behaviour and opinions of large numbers of people. Propaganda focuses on the presentation of information with the sole purpose of influencing an audience; therefore the information provided is not impartial. </li></ul><ul><li>Often, effective propaganda is not completely truthful but based on carefully selected facts to encourage a particular view point; loaded messages are also used in order to produce an emotional as opposed to rational response to the information presented. The desired result is a change in the cognitive narrative of the subject in the target audience. </li></ul><ul><li>The term ‘propaganda’ was first used in 1622 when Pope Gregory XV established the Sacred Congregation for Propagating the Faith. Just as it is now, propaganda was used in this instance to convince large numbers of people about the validity of a certain idea. </li></ul>
  15. 16. Useful Journals <ul><li>Journal of Consumer Research </li></ul><ul><li>Journal of Personality and Social Psychology </li></ul><ul><li>Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes </li></ul><ul><li>Journal of Experimental Social Psychology </li></ul><ul><li>Journal of Retailing </li></ul>
  16. 17. Useful Books <ul><li>Persuasian: psychological insights and perspectives by Timothy C. Brock, Melanie C. Green </li></ul><ul><li>The psychology of persuasion: how to persuade others to your way of thinking by Kevin Hogan </li></ul><ul><li>Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert Cialdini </li></ul><ul><li>The Art of Woo: Using Strategic Persuasion to Sell Your Ideas by G. Richard Shell and Mario Moussa </li></ul><ul><li>Psychology of Persuasion (Psychology of Emotions, Motivations and Actions) by Janos Csapo and Andor Magyar </li></ul>
  17. 18. Experts <ul><li>Michael Lee – Persuasion expert, author of “How To Be An Expert Persuader... In 20 Days or Less”. </li></ul><ul><li>Robert Cialdini - President of Influence At Work, the author of “Influence, the Psychology of Persuasion” and Professor of Psychology at Arizona State University. </li></ul><ul><li>Duane Cunningham - Persuasion, Influence and Sales Trainer at Duane Cunningham And Associates, “The World’s Leading Persuasion Expert”. </li></ul>
  18. 19. Videos/ Audio <ul><li>Influence The Psychology Of Persuasion - Robert Cialdini </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Click here to watch </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Social Psychology Persuasion Techniques </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Click here to watch </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Joe Torre and the Psychology of Persuasion </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Click here to listen </li></ul></ul>
  19. 20. Blogs <ul><li>MoneySmarts - Book Review: Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion </li></ul><ul><li>Simoleon Sense - Influence & Persuasion: How To Keep Someone With You For Ever! (Must Read) </li></ul><ul><li> – Resisting Persuasion </li></ul>
  20. 21. Articles on the Web <ul><li> - Covert Persuasion Techniques: The Name Method Of Persuasion </li></ul><ul><li>IQMatrix – The Psychology of Persuasion </li></ul>
  21. 22. References <ul><li> Wikipedia: http:// Journal of Social Influence Maslow's Hierachy of Needs http:// Take Your Brain Back: The Psychology of Persuasion - social proof Wikipedia - The Milgram Experiments http:// Amazon: Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert Cialdini Wikipedia - Robert Cialdini http:// Psychology Today: Who Shouls Throw the First Persuasive Punch? by Noah Goldstein History Learning Site: My Lai massacre http:// The Social Ghost - Tupperware Amazon - The Art of Woo by G.Richard Shell and Mario Moussa Wharton University of Pennslyvania: G.Richard Shell http:// / Stronger Security Through Better Business Skills: Interview with Mario Moussa http:// Wikipedia: Propaganda http:// </li></ul>