I'm Touring The United States! Starting in June, I'm conducting private events in 23 American cities. Click here for full details.

Post Reply 
"Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion" by Robert Cialdini - Detailed Notes
Author Message
RickyGP Offline

Posts: 124
Joined: Jun 2013
Reputation: 21
Post: #1
"Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion" by Robert Cialdini - Detailed Notes
This has been one of the most recommended books on this forum. It is about the automatic mechanisms that humans originally evolved for survival. These mechanisms have been exploited by marketers and salespeople (and sometimes friends and family) to make you behave in ways that they want.

While the principles outlined in this book can be applied to game, they can be applied in many areas of life. You will learn how you are being influenced, how to persuade and influence others, and how to defend yourself against these mechanisms so that you can avoid exploitation and even save your (or someone else's) life.

There is a solid but very brief summary on ROK, if anyone cares to check it out.

The following is a detailed chapter-by-chapter summary. Before you delve in, here are the 6 Principles of Influence at a glance:
Commitment and Consistency
Social Proof

If I have made any mistakes do not hesitate to correct me.



A well-known principle of human behavior says that when we ask someone to do us a favor we will be more successful if we provide a reason. People simply like to have reasons for what they do. In an experiment by social psychologist Ellen Langer, she demonstrated this surprising fact by asking a small favor of people waiting in line to use a library copying machine: Excuse me, I have five pages. May I use the Xerox machine because I’m in a rush? The effectiveness of this request-plus-reason was nearly total: ninety four percent of those asked let her skip ahead of them in line. Compare the success rate to the results when she made the request only: Excuse me, I have 5 pages, may I use the Xerox machine? Under those circumstances only 60 percent of those asked complied. At first glance it appears that the crucial difference between the requests was the additional information provided by the words “because I’m in a rush.” But a third type of request tried by Langer showed that this was not the case. It seems that it was not the whole series of words, but the first one, “because,” that made the difference. Instead of including a real reason for compliance, langer’s third type of request used the word “because”and then, adding nothing new, merely restated the obvious: Excuse me, I have five pages. May I use the Xerox machine because I have to make some copies? Nearly all (93 percent) once again complied. The word “because” triggered an automatic compliance response from Langer’s subjects, even when they were given no subsequent reason to comply.
Shops take advantage of this by exploiting customers’ buying stereotype “expensive = good

Automatic, stereotyped behavior exists in animals. One examples is how mother turkeys look for the “cheep-cheep” sounds from chicks to protect them. If they do not hear the sound they murder their own chicks. They can be fooled with this sound. Click-whrr – plays the automatic natural instinct inner tapes.

Automatic, stereotyped behavior is prevalent in human actions, because it is the most efficient way of behaving, and is often necessary.

- Alfred North Whitehead: “civilization advances by extending the number of operations we can perform without thinking about them.”
- It is odd, despite their current widespread use and looming future importance, most of us know very little about our automatic behavior patterns – They make us terribly vulnerable to anyone who does know how they work.

Contrast principle: affects the way we see differences between two things that are presented one after the other. Simply put, if the second item is fairly different from the first, we will tend to see it more different than it actually is. So if we lift a light object first and then lift a heavy object, we will estimate the second object to be heavier than if we had lifted it without first trying the light one. This principle applies to all sorts of perceptions besides weight.
- In a group, the less attractive woman will look even less attractive because of the contrast.
- Dip one hand in cold water the other in hot water, then dip both hands in lukewarm water to see and feel this effect in action.


Rule for Reciprocation: we should try to repay, in kind, what another person has provided for us. If a woman does us a favor, we should do her one in return; if a man sends us a birthday present, we should remember his birthday with a gift of our own; if a couple invites us to a party, we should be sure to invite them to one of ours. By virtue of the reciprocity rule, we are obliged to the future repayment of favors, gifts, invitations, and the like.

Every human society subscribes to this rule

Sophisticated and coordinated systems of aid, gift giving, defense and trade became possible, bringing immense benefit to the societies that possessed them.

Mexico gave aid to Ethiopia, and when there was a crisis in Mexico, Ethiopians sent aid.

Each of us has been taught to live up to the rule, and each of us knows about the social sanctions and derision applied to anyone who violates it – labels such as moocher, ingrate, welsher, parasite. Because there is a general distaste for those who take and make no effort to give in return.

The Rule is Overpowering
People who we might ordinarily dislike – unsavory or unwelcome sales operators, disagreeable acquaintances, representatives of strange or unpopular organizations – can greatly increase the chance that we will do what they wish merely by providing us small favors prior to their requests.
The Hare Krishna Society has used this rule in public places. They usually give away a gift- a flower or a holy book – and are usually rewarded with a small donation by unsuspecting pedestrians.

- They abused the reciprocity rule so much that most people caught on to their manipulative tricks. The American public developed a negative association with them.

- The reciprocation rule has begun to outlive its usefulness for the Krishnas, not because the rule itself is any less potent societally, but because we have found ways to prevent the Krishnas from using it on us.
- Politicians use the reciprocation rule to gain favor with powerful allies, even when they are opposed to said politician's bills and legislations.
- During the 1992 presidential primary campaign, actress Sally Kellerman was asked why she was lending her name and efforts to the candidacy of Democratic hopeful Jerry Brown. Her reply: “Twenty years ago, I asked ten friends to help me move. He was the only one who showed up.”

This rule is present in marketing, advertising and merchandising.

- The free sample tactic gets stuff sold in supermarkets.
- Amway corporation sends out a BUG- a collection of sample Amway products – to customers with no obligations to buy. The customers feel obligated, and inventory moves out.

The Rule Enforces Uninvited Debts

There is a strong cultural pressure to reciprocate a gift, even an unwanted one; but there is no such pressure to purchase an unwanted commercial product.
Small unsolicited gifts through the mail to “encourage your kindness” can increase donations.
Hare Krishnas give away unwanted gifts, and sometimes even recycled those gifts by sifting through garbage cans in airports.

The Rule Can Trigger Unfair Exchanges
There is a genuine distaste for individuals who fail to conform to the dictates of the reciprocity rule. Moocher and welsher are unsavory labels to be scrupulously shunned. So undesirable are they that we will sometimes agree to an unequal exchange in order to dodge them. We may be willing to agree to perform larger favors than we received, merely to relieve ourselves of the psychological burden of debt.
The student who could not start her car was helped by a stranger. That same stranger appeared two months later and asked to borrow the woman’s car. She obliged him, and as a consequence, got her car totaled.

Reciprocal Concessions
Rejection-then- retreat technique: The general reciprocation rule says that a person who acts in a certain way towards us is entitled to a similar return action. We have seen that one consequence of the rule is an obligation to repay favors we have received. Another consequence of the rule, however, is an obligation to make a concession to someone who has made a concession to us.

The author dealt with a Boy Scout selling tickets to a show and chocolate bars. He changed from noncompliant to compliant when the kid’s offer was changed from a larger to a smaller request (from expensive tickets to cheap candy bars) even if he isn’t initially interested in either of the things offered.

Mutual concessions is brought about by the pressure put on a recipient of an already-made concession to respond in kind. Secondly, just as in the case of favors, gifts, or aid, the obligation to reciprocate a concession encourages the creation of socially desirable arrangements by ensuring anyone seeking to start such an arrangement will not be exploited.

- The second request could be an objectively large one – as long as it was smaller than the first request – and the technique could still work.
- The truly gifted negotiator is one whose initial position is exaggerated enough to allow for a series of reciprocal concessions that will yield a desirable final offer from the opponent, yet is not so outlandish as to be seen illegitimate from the start.
- In combination, the influence of reciprocity and perceptual contrast can present a fearsomely powerful force.
- Because it works, this technique can and will be used purposely by some people.
- To get crap passed the censors, television producer Gary Marshall would overload a script with words that were problematic for television, or make an extreme version of a scene in order to allow something less extreme, but still racy, to be broadcast.
- Door-to-door salesmen ask customers who reject their offers to supply them with information about possible interested parties from their social circle.
- If you want to borrow (or beg for) some money, you can start with a large request and retreat to a smaller amount to get something, when you would have probably received nothing.
- In retail, a prospect is shown a deluxe model before all others. If they decline, the salesperson counteroffers with a more reasonably priced model.

How to Say No
The reciprocity rule asserts that if justice is to be done, exploitation attempts should be exploited. Favors are to be met with favors; it does not require that tricks be met with favors.
With the case of the unsolicited gifts, you keep them and feel no obligation to reciprocate.
If you perceive an action as a compliance device instead of a genuine favor, you can use your better judgment to not apply the rule of reciprocation.


The consistency principle: The drive to be (and look) consistent constitutes a highly potent weapon of social influence, often causing us to act in ways that are clearly contrary to our own best interests.

- We fool ourselves from time to time in order to keep our thoughts and beliefs consistent with what we have already done.
- On a beach, researchers prevented things from being stolen, simply by asking nearby persons to ‘watch over this thing.’ More often, people didn’t care if something was being stolen.
- Good personal consistency is highly valued in our culture. It provides us with a reasonable and gainful orientation to the world. Most of the time we will be better off in our approach to things is well-laced with consistency. Without it our lives would be difficult, erratic, and disjointed.
- In turn, consistency can be used against us.
- Sir Joshua Reynolds: “There is no expedient to which a man will not resort to avoid the real labor of thinking.”
- In a sales seminar for a Transcendental Meditation class, there was a man who questioned the validity of the claims made by the organizers/ vendors. Instead of turning off customers, it attracted more. They decided that it was better to not think critically.
- Panic! Something must be done at once before logic takes its toll and leaves them without hope again. Walls against reason are needed; and it doesn’t matter that the fortress to be erected is a foolish one.

Commitment is the Key

If I can get you to make a commitment (that is, to take a stand, or go on record) I will have set the stage for your automatic and ill-considered consistency with that earlier commitment. Once a stand is taken, there is a natural tendency to behave in ways that are stubbornly consistent with that stand.
- Procedures designed to create commitment take various forms. Some are fairly straightforward; others are among the most subtle compliance tactics we will encounter.
- Telephone solicitors for charity would begin a phone call asking how the caller was doing. Usually (because of its effectiveness) they started with “How are you feeling?” If they responded positively, they asked for donations for those who were not as well as the caller.
- The theory behind this tactic is that people who have just asserted that they are doing/feeling fine – even as a routine part of a sociable exchange – will find it awkward to appear stingy in the context of their own admittedly favored circumstances.

- During the Korean War, the Chinese Communists in charge of American POWs would use psychological assaults to make them appear sympathetic to the cause of Chinese Communism.
- All POWs collaborated in some way wit the enemy.
- In article-writing contests, with small prizes like fruit and cigarettes, American POWs would put down in writing pro-Communist and mildly anti-American statements.

Foot-in-the-door technique:The tactic of starting with asmall request in order to gain eventual compliance with related larger requests. The Chinese Communists were masters of this technique.

- Scott Fraser and Jonathan Freedman did a social experiment in which they asked homeowners to install billboards on their front lawns. The billboard read DRIVE CAREFULLY. A minority complied, but for a specific reason. Two weeks earlier, they asked homeowners to display a tiny sign with a similar message. They were told it was in support of California “state beautification.”
- These findings tell us to be careful about agreeing to trivial requests. Such an agreement can not only increase our compliance with very similar, much larger requests, it also makes us more willing to perform a variety of large favors that are only remotely connected to the little one we did earlier.
- Once you’ve got a man’s self-image where you want it, he should comply naturally with a whole range of requests that are consistent with this view of himself.

The Magic Act
People who testify in writing to the positive appeal of something, be it a product or socio-political belief, experience that “magical pull” to believe what they have written.

Back in Korea: POWs were asked to write out questions and write down pro-communist answers. If they refused, they were asked to simply copy from a notebook. The prisoners could not deny that they wrote those things. The essay contests had a similar effect.

Amway pushes its affiliates to write down their sales goals on paper. They do better because of a written commitment.
Procter and Gamble hold testimonial contests, with the aim of getting people to go on record in support of their brand.

The Public Eye
Whenever one takes a stand that is visible to others, there arises a drive to maintain that stand in order to look like a consistent person. For appearance’s sake, the more public a stand, the more reluctant we will be to change it.

One San Diego woman was able to quit smoking cold turkey by taking a public stand to quit. She made many people in her professional and social circle know that she was quitting. She was successful.

The Effort Extra
Persons who go through a great deal of trouble or pain to attain something tend to value it more highly than persons who attain the same thing with a minimum of effort.

Tests of masculinity in tribal cultures put young boys through tough and painful ordeals.

Hazing rituals in College/University Fraternities involve pain and humiliation. Attempts to stop hazing have consistently been failures.
- The severity of an initiation ceremony significantly heightens newcomer’s commitment to a group.
- For groups concerned about creating a lasting sense of solidarity and distinction, the hardship of demanding initiation activities provides a valuable advantage that they will not easily surrender – either to aspiring members who are unwilling to take the harshness or to give it out.

The Inner Choice.
Commitments are most effective in changing a person’s self-image and future behavior when they are active, public, and effortful.

Lowballing: An advantage is offered that induces a favorable purchase decision; then, sometime after the decision has been made but before the bargain is sealed, the original purchase advantage is deftly removed.

- Automobile dealers offer a great price for a car, but the dealers never intend to follow through on the deal. It is never genuine. Once a purchasing decision is made, a number of activities develop the customer’s sense of personal commitment to a car – then the dealer says that there were errors in pricing and miscalculations and the price goes up. The customer is still committed to the purchase decision.

- As part of a research experiment, Dr, Michael Pallack interviewed people over the phone about their energy consumption habits. His research team motivated people to conserve energy by promising them newspaper publicity. The people managed to save on gas. Once they were informed that they would not receive publicity, they continued their energy-saving habits.

- The people in this experiment became committed to a choice through an initial inducement and were still more dedicated to it after the inducement had been removed.

How to Say No
You must refuse to allow yourself to be locked into a mechanical sequence of commitment and consistency when you know it is wrongheaded.

Ralph Waldo Emerson: “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.”
It is wise to always point out the absurdity of foolish consistency.


Social Proof: The one means we use to determine what is correct is to find out what other people think is correct. We view behavior as more correct in a given situation to the degree we see others performing it.

Bartenders ‘salt’ their tip jars to encourage others. Church collectors do the same.

Advertisers love to inform us when a product is the “fastest-growing” or “largest-selling”

To make shy children interact with others, psychologists showed video clips of other children doing social interaction. After viewing the clips, the children started interacting with others.

Producers of charity telethons devote time to list viewers who have pledged contributions.

- “Look at all the people who have decided to give. It must be the correct thing to do.”
- Since 95% of the people are imitators and only 5% initiators, people are persuaded more by the actions of others than by any proof we can offer.

Various sects and cults have prophesied the end of the world/ new era would occur on a specific date

- Immediately following the failure of the prophecy, cultists often become strengthened in their convictions.
- The greater the number of people who find any idea correct, the more the idea will be correct.

Cause of Death: Uncertainty
In general, when we are unsure of ourselves, when the situation is unclear or ambiguous, when uncertainty reigns, we are most likely to look to and accept the actions of others as correct.

The incident where a woman was killed in a neighborhood in New York while 37 witnesses did nothing to stop the murder is an example of the dark side of social proof.

- The reason was not because of the “depersonalization of urban societies” but because people assumed that someone had already acted.
- Sometimes an emergency event is not always judged as an emergency by onlookers.
- Other conditions that decrease an emergency victim’s chances for bystander aid exist normally and innocently in the city:
- In contrast to rural areas, cities are more clamorous, distracting, rapidly changing places where it is difficult to be certain of the nature of the events one encounters.
- Urban environments are more populous; consequently, people are more likely to be with others when witnessing a potential emergency situation.
- City dwellers know a much smaller percentage of fellow residents than do people who live in small towns; therefore city dwellers are more likely to find themselves in a group of strangers when observing an emergency.

Devictimizing yourself
In the event of an emergency in an urban environment, based on research findings a good advice would be to isolate one individual from the crowd: Stare, speak, and point directly at that person and no one else: “You, sir in the blue jacket, I need help. Call an ambulance.” With that one utterance you should dispel all uncertainties that might prevent or delay help.

The author found himself in an automobile accident. Drivers gawked but did not stop. He singled out some drivers and passengers to seek help and to provide first aid. Once he started, it caused a chain reaction where even more people stepped in to help out. He used the principle of social proof to his advantage.

Monkey Me, Monkey Do
There is an important working condition to the principle of social proof: similarity. The principle of social proof operates most powerfully when we are observing the behavior of people just like us. It is the conduct of such people that gives us the greatest insight into what constitutes correct behavior for ourselves.

In a study by Columbia University, researchers placed ‘lost’ wallets around Manhattan. They all had a letter addressed to the owner. Some had a letter written in clear English and others in more broken, foreign-sounding English. Wallets written in clear English were returned more frequently than the others.

The author has a son who had to learn how to swim. The son refused, and attempts by teachers failed. The son only began learning when he met a child his same age (3) with the ability to swim.

Publicized suicides are usually followed by more highway accidents and plane crashes. Sometimes, following a publicized suicide, there are more suicides by people similar to the one who killed his/herself. They found the idea of suicide more legitimate.

- The principle of social proof is so wide-ranging and powerful that its influence extends to the fundamental decision for life or death
- This is most illustrated by the mass suicide of The People’s Temple cult; all its members committed mass suicide after its leader, Reverend Jim Jones, order them to. Most of the members were convinced that suicide was correct conduct.

How to Say No
An automatic-pilot device, like social proof, should never be trusted fully; even when no saboteur has fed bad information into the mechanism, it can go haywire by itself. We need to check the machine from time to time to be sure it hasn’t worked itself out of sync with the other sources of evidence in this situation – the objective facts, our prior experiences, and our own judgments.

- A flier whose plane is locked onto automatic pilot would be wise to glance around occasionally at the instrument panel and out the window. We should do the same.


Liking Principle: We prefer to say yes to the requests of someone we know and like. What might be startling to note, however, is that this simple rule is used in hundreds of ways by total strangers to get us to comply with their requests.

Door-to-door salesmen sometimes ask prospects for people they know who may be interested in their products. Each new prospect is visited by a salesperson armed with the name of a friend “who suggested I contacted you.”

Joe Girard, world record holder for ‘greatest car salesman,’ had a simple formula: offering people a fair price, and finding them a salesman they like.

Physical Attractiveness
A halo effect occurs when one positive characteristic of a person dominates the way that person is viewed by others. The evidence is now clear that physical attractiveness is often such a characteristic.

- Good-looking people are automatically assigned such favorable traits as talent, kindness, honesty and intelligence.
- Politicians are often favored for their looks.
- Good-looking people receive favorable treatment in court cases.
- Other experiments have demonstrated that attractive people are more likely to obtain help when in need and are more persuasive in changing the opinion of an audience.

We like people who are similar to us. This fact seems to hold true whether the similarity is in the area of opinions, personality traits, background, or lifestyle. Some compliance practitioners take strategies to exploit this.

- Many sales training programs now urge trainees to “mirror and match” the costumer’s body posture, mood, and verbal style, as similarities along each of these dimensions have been shown to lead to positive results.

We are phenomenal suckers for flattery. Although there are limits to our gullibility – especially when we can be sure that the flatterer is trying to manipulate us – we tend to believe praise and to like those who provide it, oftentimes when it was clearly false.

- Most of the time, praise doesn’t have to be accurate to work. Positive comments produced just as much liking for the flatterer when they were untrue as when they were true.

Contact and Cooperation
Compliance practitioners systematically use cooperation to get us to like them so we will say yes to their requests. They point it out when it exists naturally in a situation. They try to amplify it even when it exists weakly. They manufacture it when it is absent. Compliance professionals are forever attempting to establish that we and they are working together for the same goals, that we must “pull together” for mutual benefit, that they are, in essence our teammates.
School desegregation is more likely to increase prejudice between blacks and whites than decrease it. It is only when they are made to work towards common ends that prejudice subsides.

- In an experiment conducted in a boy’s summer camp, researchers split up the kids into different houses. This created bitter rivalries. Conjoint efforts towards common goals steadily bridged the rancorous rift between the groups. It was only after they were required to work together did these rivalries end.

- Bad Cop/Good Cop routines attempt are effective in getting compliance out of criminals.

Conditioning and Association
There is a natural human tendency to dislike a person who brings us unpleasant information, even when that person did not cause the bad news. The simple association with it is enough to stimulate our dislike.
The job of Persian messengers was to report the facts of military campaigns. If they reported victory, they were greatly rewarded. If they reported a military loss, they were executed.

Weathermen are often the victims of verbal and physical abuse, and are often threatened with physical violence for the fact that they reported bad weather accurately. People act like they are the cause of it.
There is a negative side to the principle of association: people assume that we have the same personality traits as the company we keep. People really do believe that “birds of a feather flock together.”
- Car advertisements sometimes use attractive female models. This helps sales.
- During the Olympics, advertisers hire athletes to promote products.
- The important thing for the advertiser is to establish a connection; it doesn’t have to be a logical one, just a positive one.

Politicians use all sorts of techniques that use this principle. The “luncheon technique” is when politicians hold lunches or banquets so that the attendees become fonder of political statements while they are eating. Political fund-raising events regularly involve the presentation of foods.

Sports fans are known to occasionally exhibit irrational, violent, eccentric, and boundless fervor.

- A WWII veteran mysteriously lost his ability to speak after the end of the war. He was a mute for the rest of his life, except for a single occasion when he was angry at a sports broadcast.
- The American Olympic Hockey team scored a victory against the Soviet team in 1980. The entire county celebrated collectively.
- Isaac Asimov: “All things being equal, you root for your own sex, your own culture, your own locality… and what you want to prove is that you are better than the other person. Whomever you root for represents you; and when he wins, you win.”
- Sports fans like to associate with teams through the use of pronouns: When a sports team scores a victory, fans will say “We won.” instead of “They won.” They often sever this association when their team is on the losing side.
- People purposely manipulate the visibility of their connections with winners and losers in order to make themselves look good to anyone who could view these connections.
- These are individuals with a hidden personality flaw – a poor self-concept. Deep inside is a sense of personal worth that directs them to seek prestige not from the generation or promotion of their own attainments, but from the generation or promotion of their associations with others of attainment.

How to Say No
As an example, when dealing with an automobile dealer that we might otherwise be seduced by, it is wise to make a conscious effort to concentrate exclusively on the objective merits of the deal and car the dealer has for us. It is always a good idea to keep separate our feelings about the requester and the request.

That is why it is important to be alert to a sense of undue liking for a compliance practitioner. The recognition of that feeling can serve as our reminder to separate the dealer from the merits of the deal and o make our decision based on the considerations related only to the latter.


Whenever we are faced with so potent a motivator of human actions, it is natural to expect that a good reason exists for the motivation. In the case of obedience to authority, even a brief consideration of human social organization offers justification aplenty. A multi-layered and widely accepted system of authority confers an immense advantage upon society. It allows the development of sophisticated structures for resource production, trade, defense, expansion, and social control that would otherwise be impossible.

Consequently we are trained from birth that obedience to proper authority is right and disobedience is wrong.
In many situations where a legitimate authority has spoken, what would otherwise make sense is irrelevant. In these instances, we don’t consider the situation as a whole but attend and respond to only one aspect of it.

- Sometimes someone can pretend to be an authority and still have the same effect as an authentic authority figure: The actor Robert Young, who played a doctor in a popular television series, did commercials for decaffeinated coffee in which he counseled people against the dangers of caffeine.

Connotation, Not Content
With the example above, the appearance of authority was enough. This tells us something important about unthinking reactions to authority figures. We are often as vulnerable to the symbols of authority as to the substance.

Titles are simultaneously the most difficult and the easiest symbols of authority to acquire. To earn one takes years of work and achievement. Yet it is possible for somebody who has put none of this effort to adopt the mere label and receive a kind of automatic deference. TV-Actors and con-artists do it successfully all the time. The outward signs of power and authority frequently may be counterfeited with the flimsiest of materials.

US Health Care Financing Administration: 12% of daily medication error rates in American hospitals.

- Since obedience to legitimate authority had always been the most preferred and efficient action for nurses and other orderlies, they had become willing to err on the side of automatic obedience.

Though more tangible than a title, the cloak of authority is every bit as fakable. Police bunco files bulge with records of con artists whose artistry includes the quick-change. In chameleon style, they adopt the hospital white, priestly black, army green, or police blue that he situation requires for maximum advantage.

In a study by social psychologist Leonard Bickman, he got a subject to ask passersbys to comply with a random/odd request. The requester wore either street clothes or a security guard uniform. When the requester had a uniform on, many people invariable obeyed the odd request.

The well-tailored business suit is a sign of authority. Sometimes, when crossing the street, pedestrians will follow the direction of a well-dressed man like “the children of Hamelin who crowded after the Pied Piper.”

Bank examiner scheme: a man in a business suite follows a victim to their home, tells them they are officials from the bank, informs them of irregularities in their accounts, tells them they suspect someone in the bank of doctoring reports in transactions, and asks for that person’s cooperation. To cooperate, they are asked to withdraw all their savings. They do. An accomplice comes dressed as a security guard and tells the victim all is well and that the money will be returned to the vault. It never is returned The con artists get away, probably laughing.

According to the findings of a study done in San Francisco, owners of prestigious autos receive a special kind of deference from us. The experimenters discovered that motorists would wait significantly longer before honking their horn at a new, luxury car stopped in front of a green traffic light than at an older, economy model.

In all these findings, people were unable to predict correctly how they or others would react to authority influence. In each instance , the effect of such influence was grossly underestimated. This property of authority status may account for much of its success as a compliance device. Not only does it work forcefully on us, but it doe so unexpectedly.

How to Say No
A fundamental form against this problem is a heightened sense of awareness of authority power. When this awareness is coupled with recognition of how easy authority symbols can be faked, the benefits will be a properly guarded approach to situations involving authority-influenced attempts.

Pose two questions to find out if authority promptings are best followed or resisted: (1) Ask “is this authority truly an expert?” It helps focus on the authority’s credentials and evidence for authority status. (2) If you are confronted with a relevant expert, ask “how truthful can we expect the expert to be here?” Authorities, even the best informed, may not present their information honestly to us.

By wondering how an expert stands to benefit from our compliance, we give ourselves another safety net against undue and automatic influence.

- Sometimes compliance professionals will use a tactic in which they will argue somewhat against their own interests. Through the use of selective honesty, they come off more believable when stressing important aspects of their argument.


Scarcity principle: Opportunities seem more valuable to us when their availability is limited. The idea of potential loss plays a large role in human decision-making. People seem to be more motivated by the thought of losing something than by the thought of gaining something of equal value.

The most straightforward use of the scarcity principle occurs in the “limited-number” tactic, when the customer is informed that a certain product is in short supply that cannot be guaranteed to last long.

- Sometimes this can be true, sometimes false but it always has the same response.
- “Better buy now” “Time is running out” “Sale ends Sunday” “Limited time offer
- “Boiler-room execs” or “Wolf of Wall Street” types of fraudsters use this technique on unsuspecting victims.
- Customers are often told that unless they make an immediate decision to buy, they will have to purchase the item at a higher price or they will be unable to purchase it al all
- This tactic is used to keep the prospects from taking the time to think the deal over by scaring them into believing they can’t have it later, which makes them want it now.

Psychological Reactance
Psychological reactance theory: Explains the human response to diminishing personal control. Whenever free choice is limited or threatened, the need to retain our freedoms makes us desire them (as well as goods and services associated with them) significantly more than previously. So when increasing scarcity – or anything else – interferes with our prior access to some item, we will react against the interference by wanting and trying to possess the items more than before.

The first years of childhood, known as “the terrible twos” is a development of a contrary style in children. In one experiment, toddlers were shown two toys. One was out in the open, another behind a plexiglas wall. When the barrier was big enough to be an obstacle, the boys went directly to the unobstructed toy. The boys’ response to a limitation of freedom: outright defiance.

“Romeo and Juliet effect” Young couples who face parental interference often strengthen their relationship and commitments to one another.
In Kennesaw, Georgia, there was a law requiring every resident to own a gun. Stores supplied a large amount of weapons selection and ammunition. Most customers were from out of town, since no other county was this gun-friendly.

Dade County, Florida, imposed a law banning certain laundry or cleaning products containing posphates. People would go on smuggling runs to get their precious phosphate-containing detergents

- When our freedom to have something is limited, the item becomes less available, and we experience an increased desire for it. However, we rarely recognize that psychological reactance has caused us to want an item more; all we know is that we want it.

Our response to the banning of information is a greater desire to receive that information and a more favorable attitude toward it than before the ban.

- In Purdue University, there was a study done on undergraduates in which a book’s possession and sale was restricted to an adult audience over 21 years of age. Those who learned about the age restricted wanted to read the book more and believed they would like the book more.

- Banning sexually relevant materials from schools usually increases demand for them.

- Even in a court of law, if the judge has ordered some evidence inadmissible the judge may be viewed as a censor and creates problems for the case.
- The principle works for messages, communication and knowledge too. Taking this perspective, we can see that information may not have to be censored for us to value it more; it need only be scarce.

Optimal Conditions
We are most likely to find revolutions where a period of improving economic conditions is followed by a short, sharp reversal in those conditions. Thus it is not traditionally the most downtrodden people – who have come to see their deprivation as part of the natural order of things – who are especially liable to revolt. Instead revolutionaries are more likely to be those who have been given at least some taste of a better life.

The living standards for blacks had risen sharply in the first half of the twentieth century. It was only after a brief downturn in their quality of life that the Civil Rights movement took full effect.

After Mikhail Gorbachev instituted new liberties for the Soviet people, a group of military and KGB officials staged a coup and placed Gorbechev under house arrest. They wanted to reinstate the old order. The Russian people would have none of it – they protested, rioted, and they rose up. It took 3 days to place Gorbechev back in power.

- When it comes to freedoms, it is more dangerous to have given for a while than never to have to given at all.The problem for a government that seeks to improve the political and economic status of a traditionally oppressed group is that, in so doing, it establishes freedoms for he group where none existed before. And should these now-established freedoms become less available, there will be an especially ho variety of hell to pay.

Advertisers often try to exploit this tendency in us. In their ads, we learn “popular demand” for an item is so great that we must “hurry to buy” or we see a large crowd pressing against the doors of a store before the start of a sale, or we watch a flock of hands quickly deplete a supermarket shelf of a product.

How to Say No
Should we find ourselves beset by scarcity pressures in a compliance situation, then, our best response would occur in a two-stage sequence. As soon as we feel the tide of emotional arousal that flows from scarcity influences, we should use that rise in arousal as a signal to stop short. We need to calm ourselves and regain a rational perspective. Once that is done, we can move to the second stage by asking ourselves why we want the item under consideration. If the answer is that we want it primarily for the purpose of owning it, then we should use its availability to help gauge how much we want to spend for it. However, if we want it primarily for its function, then we must remember that the item under consideration will function equally well whether scarce or plentiful. Quite simple, we need to recall that that scarce food do not necessarily taste better.

When they are employed properly, our first line of defense against foolish behavior – a thoughtful analysis of the situation – becomes less likely.

CBS TV President: “You get caught up in the mania of the thing, the acceleration of it. Logic goes right out the window.”
When an item is scarce, the joy is not in experiencing a scarce commodity but in possessing it. It is important we do not confuse the two.
(This post was last modified: 04-18-2015 07:35 PM by RickyGP.)
04-18-2015 07:34 PM
Find all posts by this user Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[-] The following 25 users Like RickyGP's post:
TigerMandingo, Darius, germanico, GoodTimer, player, Hellraiser, Isaac Jordan, RoastBeefCurtains4Me, Robert JS, rottenapple, Benoit, LeBeau, EarnStackEnjoy, Lion of Judah, , Noir, CaptainChardonnay, Dream Medicine, Kaligula, Delta, Dusty, debeguiled, Barron, arafat scarf, Tactician
Hypno Offline

Posts: 3,391
Joined: Dec 2016
Reputation: 33
Post: #2
RE: "Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion" by Robert Cialdini - Detailed ...
Just came across this video from a blogger I follow, James Altucher.

Its a quick taste of Cialdini-type lessons, so I'm posting it here.

03-30-2019 08:42 AM
Find all posts by this user Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[-] The following 1 user Likes Hypno's post:
Hypno Offline

Posts: 3,391
Joined: Dec 2016
Reputation: 33
Post: #3
RE: "Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion" by Robert Cialdini - Detailed ...
Matt Taibbi article abou why Trump won, basically illustrates Cialdini's points in action. Remarkably similar to Eminem's technique.

03-31-2019 06:33 AM
Find all posts by this user Like Post Quote this message in a reply
debeguiled Offline
Gold Member

Posts: 7,480
Joined: Aug 2014
Reputation: 116
Post: #4
RE: "Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion" by Robert Cialdini - Detailed Notes
One of the most practical books I have ever read. It explains so much of the inexplicable in daily life. Must have read it in the mid 90's and even today am reminded of Cialdini all the time when I see someone do something goofy.

People try to create false reciprocal situations all the time. You won't let me borrow your car? Funny. You seemed to enjoy that cigarette I gave you four years ago.

Unearned expressions of authority are everywhere and need no examples.

Thanks for the detailed summary. This stuff will never get old.

“The greatest burden a child must bear is the unlived life of its parents.”

Carl Jung
03-31-2019 11:58 AM
Find all posts by this user Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[-] The following 1 user Likes debeguiled's post:
Post Reply 

Possibly Related Threads...
Thread: Author Replies: Views: Last Post
  The influence of 4chan and /pol/ RexImperator 16 3,167 08-15-2019 03:13 PM
Last Post: Matsufubu
  How to Fail at Almost Everthing and Still Win Big by Scott Adams - Notes & Commentary RickyGP 10 7,365 12-06-2018 08:12 PM
Last Post: MoultrieScout
  Book Review: Scott Adams, Win Bigly, Persuasion in a World Where Facts Don't Matter Hypno 36 10,266 12-06-2018 05:07 PM
Last Post: MoultrieScout

Forum Jump:

User(s) browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)

Contact Us | RooshV.com | Return to Top | Return to Content | Mobile Version | RSS Syndication