Influence: The Psycology Of Persuasion

by Robert Cialdini

Review by Monica Di Santi

June 1, 2022

Influence, a New York Times bestseller explains the six principles of persuasion that are used as weapons to persuade people to act in a desired way. These techniques are great resources to win people and be popular.

For marketers, it's among the most important books written in the last past 10 years. Journal of Marketing Research

They are: reciprocation, commitment and consistency, social proof, liking, authority and scarcity.

People, overwhelmed with information tend to fall in the trap of making decisions based on generalizations like the ones offered by these techniques.

Influence: The psychology of Persuasion-Robert Cialdini

Cialdini is a well-known university researcher who has written this book as result of his important research and experiment in the field of Psychology. He has written this well-known book combining general statements and research description and results.

Author Cialdini explains stereotyped human behavior is a very common tool. We live in a highly stimulated world and are bombarded with information all the time. Why? under the circumstances described above is the most efficient response. If not, we should get the information and analyzed it, and reach a conclusion. That's hard work! And, probably we don't have the time or energy to do so.

These automatic behaviors have turned into powerful weapons to dupe people and automatically influence them. These weapons have several components in common that are scrutinized in this book.

  • Mechanical process easily activated
  • The exploitablity of these unconscious triggers
  • These mechanisms favors those who use them. .

These powerful techniques allow the exploiters to manipulate people without them realizing what's going on and convincing themselves that the situation is shaped by natural forces.

The Six Principles

The Contrast Principle.The contrast principle manipulates the scenario in front of us as we will see the comparison in different ways Our reaction to two things compared depends on the elements presented. If one of the things is very beautiful we'll tend to see the other as ugly when probably is only average.So you can manipulate the perception of a product purposely compared with one that enhances it.

The Reciprocation Principle

This principle is powerful because it triggers a positive answer to a request, creating a feeling of indebtness to the requester. It also creates the obligation of reception without giving us much opportunity to choose who we are indebted to. A general social rule considers positive to say YES rather than NO.This way we get trapped.

The Principle of Commitment and Consistency

Once we have made up our mind about a topic we feel the necessity to sustain our point of view to be seen as consistent. Otherwise, we fear to be seen as unstable. Also this consistency prevents us from going back to logical analysis. It's easy to go on with what we have already decided.

An examination of the Chinese prison-camp program shows that its personnel relied heavily on commitment and consistency pressures p. 53

The Principle of Social Proof

Cialdini explains that when we are in an uncertain situation, we look around for guidance and we act accordingly. This reminds me of the old saying. When in Rome do as the Roman do. To do what the others do give us a sense of acceptance and belonging. We also may conclude that if so many people do something in certain way they cannot be mistaken. Although true, this principle is widely used to trigger your behavior in a certain direction.

The principle of Authority

Subconsciously we all feel respect for those who represent or have the status of authority, such doctors, uniforms, people with titles. Also, size is associated with strength , so bigger people is considered more powerful.

From the first time I saw it, the most intriguing feature for me in the Robert Young Sanka commercial was its ability to use the influence of the authority principle without ever providing a real authority. The appearance of authority was enough. This tells us something important about unthinking reactions to authority figures. When in a click, whirr mode, we are often as vulnerable to the symbols of authority as to the substance. p 166

The Principle of Liking

We are conditioned to say yes easily to our friends, family and co-workers but many people use this principle to take advantage of us.

Familiarity plays a powerful role in our daily decisions and compliments,contact and cooperation also affects our behavior.

Tupperware party, which I consider the quintessential American compliance setting. Anybody familiar with the workings of a Tupperware party will recognize the use of the various weapons of influence p.136

The Principle of Scarcity

humans are afraid of losing. If you think about love, you'll realize that one who loves fears the loss of that love. According to research the limitation of accessing to a product and thinking of losing the opportunity to buy it, triggers the desire to act and get that product before nothing is left. This tool is also used to condition your response to certain circumstances.

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