Summary “Psychology of Influence” by Chaldini

Summary “Psychology of Influence” by Chaldini

Our stereotypical thinking can be used against us

In the modern world, it is impossible to consider the details of each decision, and we use psychological labels, stereotypes, and they serve us well.

The behavior of animals may seem ridiculously simple.

Example: Sometimes a turkey-hen gives up young turkeys or even attacks them if the chicks do not emit a characteristic sound. And a stuffed ferret, a sworn enemy of a turkey, who publishes these sounds, the hen will accept for his own chick. Sound is a label that allows a turkey-hen to quickly identify its chicks.

Advertisers, sellers and scammers (professionals of compliance) can deceive us into using our stereotypes against our own interests; subordinate to their demands, for the benefit of their interests. A popular stereotype “price means quality”: people usually believe that expensive goods have a higher quality. Often this stereotype turns out to be true, but the seller can use it against us.

Example. Souvenir shops sell unpopular gems, raising, rather than lowering their prices.

It is necessary to defend ourselves against manipulators that impose erroneous stereotypes.

People feel the urgent need for mutual exchange

The rule of “mutual exchange” – we feel the duty to respond to other people in the same way that they gave us. This trend is the basis of any society. It allowed our ancestors to share resources on the basis of mutual assistance.

We feel a psychological load, not answering someone’s favor.

As a society, we are contemptuous of those who do not reciprocate. We call them beggars or ungrateful individuals and are afraid to be in their place. Experiments have shown that people are so eager to get rid of the burden of debt that they will give even more than they received.

Example. The researcher bought cheap coca-cola for the examinees, having provided them with an unwelcome courtesy. Then he asked them to buy his lottery tickets. Most of the subjects responded reciprocally, buying tickets at 50 cents per piece. When the researcher did not buy Coca-Cola for the subjects, the number of tickets bought was reduced by half. He forced people to experience the sense of duty by buying them Coca-Cola, and appointed for them their own method of mutual exchange.

Members of the society of Krishna successfully used this tactic when they gave flowers to passers-by on the street. Even those who were irritated by this often made donations to satisfy their need to reciprocate a flower.

You can not reject all courtesies, in order to repulse attempts to use the rule of mutual exchange. Instead, identify the fundamental basis of the proposals: are they genuine courtesy or offensive tactics of manipulation. And only then reciprocate accordingly.

Failure-then-retreat is an insidious tactic, leading to mutual concessions and the operation of the principle of contrast

We feel obliged to respond to concessions and negotiations.

Example. Scout first asks you to buy a lottery ticket for five dollars, but then retreats and asks to buy a candy bar for only one dollar. Most likely, you will buy a chocolate bar to answer the “rebate” scout, even if you do not need chocolate. The Scout employed a strategy called “denial-then-retreat” – a powerful tool in achieving a mutual concession.

The principle of contrast: two objects appear to us one after another, the difference between the second and the first increases (the chocolate seems disproportionately cheap after a lottery ticket).

Example. The rejection-then-retreat strategy led to the collapse of presidential rule. In 1972, the reelection of President Richard Nixon seemed inevitable, but J. Gordon Liddy managed to convince the Committee on Presidential Reelections to give him $ 250,000 to commit a robbery of the offices of the National Committee of the Democratic Party. First he proposed a scheme for one million dollars, including kidnapping, theft and “first-class girls.” After that, the scheme for $ 250,000, which includes only burglary, already seemed not so bad. The scandal that arose after the capture of the robbers forced Nixon to resign.

When opportunities are limited, we crave them even more

Deficiency: Opportunities look more valuable if their availability is limited. It is caused by the fact that people hate to miss opportunities. This is well known to advertisers.

The study showed that when the subjects learned about the limited time for selling meat, they bought three times more than if there was no time limit. This effect intensified when people were told that only a few knew about the sale. The message made buyers buy six times as much meat, unlike customers who did not know about the action!

Conditions for impact by deficiency:

We wish for more, if the availability of this is significantly reduced in recent times. Revolutions occur when living conditions deteriorate sharply, and not when they are consistently bad. Sudden deterioration increases people’s desire for something better.

Competition. At auctions, in relationships or in real estate transactions, the idea of ‚Äč‚Äčlosing something or giving way to an opponent turns us from an oscillating person into an overly zealous person. Real estate agents remind us that several other applicants are also interested in the house / apartment being inspected, regardless of whether it is true.

Think about whether you want this product because of its usefulness (due to taste or function) or simply because of an unreasonable desire to possess it.

Forbidden elements and information are seen as more desirable

People want what they can not get. When Dade County in Florida stated that adding phosphate to detergents is illegal, residents not only started smuggling and stocking the product, but they began to consider phosphate-based detergents better than before. Parents observe such rebellious behavior among their children: any toy will become much more attractive if the child is categorically forbidden to play with it.

Censorship – prohibited information is considered more valuable than freely available. Researches showed that when college students were told about the prohibition of the report “Against joint hostels,” they became more benevolent to him, without even hearing a word!

In courtrooms: juries can be influenced by “banned” information. When they know that the insurance company will pay the bill, they award damages to the plaintiffs. And even higher losses are awarded if the judge directly told them to ignore the fact that the defendant has insurance. “Forbidden” information seems more meaningful to them and makes them react too violently.

We are fixated on being consistent in our words and deeds

The desire to be responsible for one’s words even surpasses the concern for personal safety. When people on the beach became witnesses of staged radio theft from a neighboring towel, only 20% of vacationers reacted to it. But if the owner of the towel first asked people to look after his things, 95% of them became real warriors, starting out in pursuit of a thief and forcibly taking away the radio from him.

As soon as we promise something in words or actions, we want to be consistent. Publicly accepted commitment is the most powerful driving force.

Example. Jurors in court will not change their minds after they openly declare it.

We will change the image of our own self to match our previous actions.

Example. After the war in Korea, Chinese officers conducting interrogation forced US prisoners of war to cooperate, asking them for small concessions: write and sign harmless sayings such as “America is not perfect.” When these statements were read in the prison camp, fellow prisoners called them “collaborators.” The prisoners also began to consider themselves collaborators, becoming more useful to the Chinese. They corrected the image of their own self to match their actions. A commitment in writing is an important element in this process: there was something inevitably powerful in written and signed words.

The method of “foot in the door” has the advantage – even small commitments affect our image of self. He is very popular with sellers who enter into large transactions that force customers to take on a small commitment changing their image.

The choice to fight for something forms an internal change

When a new member is accepted into a group, initiation rites are usually associated with pain and humiliation. Attempts to suppress such brutal practices always meet with stubborn resistance. These groups know that if people stand the test to achieve something, they value it more. The effort required forces participants to take the group seriously.

Groups like brotherhoods in colleges resist attempts to turn their initiations into public works. They want candidates to make an internal choice of participation in a humiliating initiation ceremony. This does not give them a chance to use the excuse “it was for the good of the community”, allowing to outwardly justify their behavior. This inner choice rather produces an indelible internal change, rather than a choice due to external pressure.

Professionals of complaisance cause an internal change in us with the help of an underpricing trick.

Example. The car dealer can offer such a cheap car that we will immediately decide to buy it. The dealer knows that during the test drive we will find several other reasons for buying a car, for example, “good mileage”, “nice color”, etc. At the last minute, the offer will be withdrawn due to a “bank error” and the dealer will name a higher price. As a rule, we buy a car because of internal changes: the reasons that we decided upon ourselves during the test drive.

When there are doubts, we need social proof

The principle of social proof – we often decide what to do, looking at what others are doing. It is used to manipulate us.

Example. TV shows use offscreen laughter to make jokes seem funnier. The church sets up boxes for collecting money already with several banknotes on the bottom to create the impression that everyone makes a donation.

Social proof is especially strong when there is uncertainty.

Example. A young woman named Kitty Genovese, was slaughtered near her home in New York City in 1964. The shocking moment was that the attack lasted more than half an hour, 38 people watched him, listening to screams, but no one interfered and did not even bother to call the police.

This inaction of the witness was due to two factors:

With the participation of many people, the sense of personal responsibility of each decreases.

The urban environment contains many uncertainties: an abundance of unknown things and strangers. When people are not sure, they look at what others are doing.

In the case of Genovese, people tried to look out of the windows unnoticed, which made it clear to others that inaction was the right behavior.

Once in an emergency situation in the middle of the crowd, it is necessary to single out one person and send a clear request for help specifically to him. Thus, the person you choose will not feel the need to seek guidance from others and will help.

Observation of people who are like us can affect our decisions

We often imitate others in our preferences. This increases when the object of observation is similar to us. Adolescents strongly depend on the opinions of their peers in choosing clothes. Marketers often use advertisements with surveys of “ordinary people on the street” who approve the product. We tend to think that these people are like us, and their approval is an indicator of the good quality of the product.

The tendency to imitate others may also lead to gloomy statistics: after suicide is widely publicized in the media, the number of people dying in accidents increases dramatically over the next week. After reading the story of suicide, some people are determined to mimic the victim. For a number of reasons, some decide to give their deaths a random character or decide to do it while driving a car, in an airplane. There is an increase in unexplained accidents. These are not people who are prone to suicide: studies have shown that every story of suicide from the front page of the newspaper actually kills 58 people who would otherwise live on.

This is the Werther effect, named after the novel by Goethe, who in the 18th century caused a wave of suicides throughout Europe, in imitation of the protagonist. The effect is heightened if the person whose suicide was published is similar to the reader of the article. When young people read about the suicide of another teenager, they began to dump in cars from bridges and crash into fences. And the elderly people reacted to the news about the suicides of other elderly people.

We are more willing to fulfill the requirements of those who like us, and some people like us easily

We are more loyal to people we like. Professionals know what causes us to love a person:

Physical attractiveness. We tend to consider pleasant people to be smart, kind and honest. We also tend to vote for more attractive candidates in political elections.

Flattery. We like people who are connected with us, at least indirectly. Vendors often praise us and denote a certain connection with us: “What a beautiful tie, blue is also my favorite color.”

Interaction for any common purpose. The method of questioning “good cop / bad policeman” uses this factor: after the suspect subjects verbal abuse to a “bad cop,” a “good policeman” understands the suspect as if he were a friend and a close friend, which contributes to confessions.

The attractiveness of things that we associate with people. Synoptic is associated with foul weather. For accurate forecasting of bad weather, he may be threatened with murder. If we hear about anything during a delicious dinner, we tend to associate this question with positive emotions from the dish.

Ask yourself: did you really love this person or did it happen suddenly and abruptly, in a short time. Do not give in to manipulation.

People easily obey the authorities and its symbols

We have been trained from the birth to obey the authorities. We do this without even thinking about it. Stanley Milgram found that activists could expose the mortal danger of others simply because they were ordered to do so by an authoritative person.

Example. The nurse who treated the patient’s ear received a written instruction from the doctor: “Drip the medicine in the ear” (place in R ear) and started dripping the medicine into the patient’s anus. The nurse realized R ear (R [from Right] – right, ear – ear) as a Rear (rude ass). Neither she nor the patient wondered how this could help his ear.

Power nullifies independent thinking.

If there is no reliable evidence of the authority of another person, we use simple symbols to evaluate it. Titles are very powerful tools. Faced with someone like a professor, we automatically become more respectful, share his opinion and even tend to see him physically higher!

Clothing and attributes are powerful symbols of power.

Example. In Milgram’s experiment, the authoritative figure had a white robe and a clip-on folder that persuaded the participants to torture their subjects. Scammers, if necessary, wear uniforms, suits and even a priest’s robe.

Faced with an authoritative person, ask yourself questions:

Is this person an authority in reality or just pretending to be him?

How honest can he be in this situation? Does he care about his own interests? == The most important thing ==

Are we as easy to manipulate as animals?

Our stereotypical thinking can be used against us.

What mechanisms within us can be easily manipulated?

People feel the urgent need for mutual exchange.

Failure-then-retreat is an insidious tactic, leading to mutual concessions and the operation of the principle of contrast.

When opportunities are limited, we crave them even more.

Forbidden elements and information are considered more desirable.

We are fixated on being consistent in our words and deeds.

The choice to fight for anything forms an internal change.

When there are doubts, we need social proof. What kind of people are we inclined to obey?

Observation of people who are like us can greatly influence our decisions.

We are more willing to fulfill the requirements of those who like us, and some people are easy for us to like.

People easily obey not only the authorities, but also its symbols.


Summary “Psychology of Influence” by Chaldini