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Psychology of Influence

March 18th, 2011 by dimpledbrain

Robert Cialdini’s Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion is one of the best books I ever read on the subject, describing  in detail the factors behind influence

The 6 weapons of influence:

(1) reciprocity – if you offer help to someone, chances are he/she will feel obliged to reciprocate

  • Attack: how do you get someone’s help? In reality, I believe that’s why we tend to help others ( usually in the first instance)
  • Defend: when are the moments where you are manipulated to feel obliged to help others?

(2) commitment & consistency

  • Attack: if we commit to something out loud in the public/to our friends, we will be more likely to accomplish it.
  • Defend: salesman (for illustration purpose only; not all are bad) raising the price of say the car you die for at the very last minute knowing for sure you will still get it because you are ‘committed’.

(3) social proof

  • Attack: try this – stop in the middle of a walkway and look up into the sky. You will find that bystanders would also look up into the sky, trying to see what you are seeing. There is safety in numbers
  • Defend: dragged into places you don’t want to go because you don’t want to be labelled as a party pooper

(4) authority – colleagues who can’t convince you tell you ‘the boss says so.’

(5) liking – we will get persuaded by people that we like. Why do you think sales people are just so hot?

(6) scarcity – less must mean good. Limited time only. 5 more seats available. Hurry!

The point here is not so that we use the above to manipulate others. That’s wrong and karma will come and bite us in the ass. The point is we need to understand the weapons of influence and become conscious of its effect in our lives. We can however use it to nudge others (i.e. positive influence)

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