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The Anatomy of influence: Using the latest Social psychology, decision-making, persuasion, and new brain science research to create cooperation


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Title: The Anatomy of influence: Using the latest Social psychology, decision-making, persuasion, and new brain science research to create cooperation

The Anatomy of influence Using the latest
Social psychology, decision-making, persuasion,
and new brain science research to create
  • Bill OHanlon

Three Small Words
  • An infomercial copywriter (Colleen Szot) changed
    the call to action from
  • Operators are standing by please call now.
  • If operators are busy, please call again.
  • Sales increased significantly shattering a
    20-year sales record
  • Why? Youll soon find out and know very well.

ONE WORD Because
  • Students were waiting in a long line for a busy
    copy machine at a major university library
  • A person comes to the front of the line and asks
    if he or she can use the copy machine, with no
  • 75 of people agree to let the person use the
  • In another condition, the person asking adds a
    phrase beginning with because (sometimes
    because I have to make a some copies) and
    compliance increases to 96
  • E. Langer, A. Blank, and B. Chanowitz, (1978).
    The mindlessness of ostensibly thoughtful
    action The role of placebic information in
    interpersonal interaction, Journal of
    Personality and Social Psychology, 36635-642.

Two Words Warm or Cold
  • Students at Harvard Business School were told
    they had a guest instructor and were asked to
    rate him since he was being considered for a
    faculty position
  • They were all given a description of him, with
    one slight difference. In one, he was described
    as very warm and in the other, rather cold.
    Otherwise, the descriptions were identical. The
    class got the same lecture, but at the end, when
    asked to rate the instructor for possible hiring
    as an instructor, the students who had read the
    description of a very warm person rated him as
    good-natured, considerate of others, informal,
    sociable, popular, humorous, and humane, while
    those who read that he was rather cold rated
    him as self-centered, formal, unsociable,
    unpopular, irritable, humorless, and ruthless.
  • Reference Kelley, H.H. (1950). The warm-cold
    variable in first impressions of persons,
    Journal of Personality, 18, 431-439.

These influence principles are based on recent
  • Persuasion research
  • Social influence/social psychology research
  • Non-rational/non-conscious decision-making
  • The new brain science

(No Transcript)
The 3 Major PrinciplesOF INFLUENCE

Influence Principle 1Social influence factors
Humans are social animals
Social Comparison, following and Norms
  • People tend to look to others, especially a
    majority of others, to decide how to behave in
    and perceive situations
  • Any messages that show that many (or most) others
    are doing or perceiving a certain way will
    influence ones actions, choices and perceptions

The Hotel Re-Use Studies
  • Social psychologists, led by Dr. Robert Cialdini,
    investigated how the percentage of re-using
    towels more than once per stay was influenced by
    messages about how others behaved
  • When a message was left saying it was good for
    the environment to re-use towels, a certain
    percentage of people re-used
  • When the message was changed to suggest that most
    people re-used towels in that hotel, re-use went
    up 26 when it was more specific (most people
    who stayed in that particular room re-used)
    re-use increased 33
  • Goldstein, Noah Cialdini, R.B. and
    Griskevicius, Vladas. (2008). A room with a
    viewpoint using social norms to motivate
    conservation in hotels, Journal of Consumer
    Research, 13 (2), 21420.

Petrified Forest Study
  • In an effort to reduce stealing of wood pieces
    from the Petrified Forest, officials put up a
    sign reading
  • Your heritage is being vandalized every day by
    theft losses of petrified wood of 14 tons a year,
    mostly a small piece at a time.
  • The study was suggested when a graduate student
    reported that his fiancée, who was usually
    scrupulously honest, read this sign and nudged
    him and whispered, Wed better get ours now.

Petrified forest study
  • Researchers specially marked wood pieces so they
    could measure theft on various trails.
  • Then they created alternate signs
  • Many past visitors have removed petrified wood
    from the park, changing the natural state of the
    Petrified Forest. This sign showed people
    picking up wood.
  • Please dont remove wood from the park, in order
    to preserve the natural state of the Petrified
    Forest. This one showed a lone person picking
    up wood with a red X superimposed.

Petrified forest study results
  • Compared to a control condition (no sign) 2.92
  • Social following sign Increased theft to 7.92
    of pieces stolen.
  • Lone wolf sign Decreased theft to 1.67.

We all think we arent going along with the crowd
  • Why do you have to be a nonconformist like
    everybody else? - James Thurber
  • You are unique just like everybody else. -Bumper

Perceptual acuity Test
Choose the line, A, B, or C, that matches the
line without a letter under it
Asch perceptual studies
  • Subjects were put in a room and told they were
    being tested for perceptual acuity
  • Unbeknownst them, there were three confederates
    of the experimenter in the room
  • They were shown three lines of various lengths
    and asked which of the three a fourth line
    matched. It was very obvious.

Asch perceptual studies
  • When three subjects all gave the wrong answer,
    the subject also gave the wrong answer 75 of the
  • But when even one of the subjects dissented, even
    giving another incorrect answer (even if that
    dissenter was shown to be visually impaired), the
    subject gave the correct answer almost all the
  • Asch, Solomon. "Effects of Group Pressure upon
    the Modification and Distortion of Judgment," in
    Groups, Leadership, and Men, ed. by Harold
    Guetzkow (Pittsburgh Carnegie Press, 1951), pp.
  • Asch, Solomon, (1955). "Opinions and Social
    Pressure," Scientific American, 19331-35.
  • Allen, Vernon and Levine, John, (1971). "Social
    Support and Conformity The Role of Independent
    Assessment of Reality," Journal of Experimental
    Social Psychology, 7 48-58.

Gazing skyward study
  • Stanley Milgram had a person in NYC gaze skyward
    most people ignored him. When he was joined by 3
    others gazing skyward, 4 times as many people
    also stopped and looked up.
  • Milgram, S. Bickman, L. and Berkowitz, L.
    (1969). Note on the drawing power of crowds of
    different sizes, Journal of Personality and
    Social Psychology, 1379-82.

Mirror Neurons
  • The ice cream cone and the monkey
  • Gallese, V., Fadiga, L., Fogassi, L.,
    Rizzolatti, G. (1996). Action recognition in the
    premotor cortex, Brain, 119593-609.
  • Fogassi, L., Ferrari, P.F. (2007). Mirror
    neurons and the evolution of embodied language,
    Current Directions in Psychological Science, 17,

Subtle social mimicry
  • A researcher subtly mimicked half the subjects
    while asking them survey questions, then
    accidentally dropped some pens those who had
    been mimicked were 2-3 times more likely to pick
    up the pens as those who hadnt
  • Van Baaren, Rick Holland, Rob Kawakami, Kerry
    and van Knippenberg, Ad. (2004) Mimicry and
    Prosocial Behavior, Psychological Science, 15,

Subtle social mimicry
  • 37 Duke students tried out what was described as
    a new sports drink, Vigor, and answered a few
    questions about it. The interviewer mimicked
    about half the participants.
  • The mimicry involved mirroring a persons posture
    and movements, with a one- to two-second delay.
    If he crosses his legs, then wait two seconds and
    do the same, with opposite legs. If she touches
    her face, wait a beat or two and do that. If he
    drums his fingers or taps a toe, wait again and
    do something similar. The idea is to be a mirror
    but a slow, imperfect one. Follow too closely,
    and most people catch on.
  • By the end of the short interview, those who were
    mimicked were significantly more likely than the
    others to consume the new drink, to say they
    would buy it and to predict its success in the
    market. In a similar experiment, the
    psychologists found that this was especially true
    if the participants knew that the interviewer,
    the mimic, had a stake in the products success.
  • Chartrand, T.L., Bargh. J.A. (1999). The
    Chameleon effect The perception-behavior link
    and social interaction, Journal of Personality
    and Social Psychology, 76, 893- 910.
  • Chartrand, T.L., Maddux, W.W., Lakin, J.L. (in
    press). Beyond the perception-behavior link The
    ubiquitous utility and motivational moderators of
    nonconscious mimicry. In R. Hassin, J. Uleman,
    J.A. Bargh (Eds.), Unintended thought 2 The
    new unconscious. New York Oxford University

Subtle social mimicry
  • At Stanford, a computer figure, an avatar, was
    programmed to mimic the movements and gestures of
    study participants. If the avatars movements
    were immediate and precise, people picked up on
    them, but if they were slightly out of sync
    (delayed 4 seconds) people did not pick up on
    them and rated the avatars as warm and
  • Bailenson, J., Yee, N. (2005). Digital
    chameleons Automatic assimilation of nonverbal
    gestures in immersive virtual environments,
    Psychological Science, 16, 814819.

  • You probably already mirror people naturally, but
    you might be able to improve your skill at
    gaining rapport if you attend to people more
    closely. Listen to and watch them as they speak
    and interact with you.

Neurological Empathy
  • When study participants are asked to imagine how
    they would feel in reaction to emotion-laden
    familiar situations, including painful events,
    and to imagine how another person would feel if
    she was experiencing the same situations, common
    neural circuits are activated both for the self
    and the other.
  • Another study using fMRI showed that when
    children and adults attend to other people in
    pain, the neural circuits underpinning the
    processing of first-hand experience of pain are
    activated in the observer.
  • Decety, J., Lamm, C. (2006). Human empathy
    through the lens of social neuroscience, The
    Scientific World Journal, 6, 1146-1163.
  • Decety, J., Michalska, K. J., Akitsuki, Y.
    (2008). Who caused the pain? An fMRI
    investigation of empathy and intentionality in
    children, Neuropsychologia, 46, 2607-2614.
  • Jackson, P. L., Brunet, E., Meltzoff, A. N.,
    Decety, J. (2006). Empathy examined through the
    neural mechanisms involved in imagining how I
    feel versus how you feel pain, Neuropsychologia,
    44, 752-61.

Take care how you use Social Norm messages
  • Womens Voices, during the 2004 presidential
    campaign, sent out 1 million postcards with this
    message Four years ago, 22 million single women
    did not vote.
  • Oops! Voter turnout for single women was
    especially low that year, even lower than in 2000.

Take care how you use Social Norm messages
  • An anti-littering campaign ad showed people
    waiting for a bus. After the bus left, it showed
    the empty bus stop with lots of litter. Then it
    cut to a poster of the well-known pervious
    anti-littering ad, with a Native American on
    horseback with a tear running down his cheek. The
    message said Back by popular neglect.
  • The inadvertent message was Littering is common
    and the social norm.

Take Care how you use Social Norm messages
  • California households energy use were monitored
    and then doorknob cards were delivered to each
    house telling them how their energy use compared
    to the norm (some had used more than average and
    some less).
  • Over the next few weeks, those households who had
    had above average usage reduced their consumption
    by 5.7 but those whose usage was below average
    increased their consumption by 8.6. Dont
    worry, they figured out how to fix this middle
    magnet by putting smiley faces on the cards or
    those whose energy use was low and frowny faces
    on the cards of those whose usage was high.
  • Schultz, P. W. Nolan, J.M. Cialdini, R.B
    Goldstein, N.J. and Griskevicius, V. (2007).
    The constructive, destructive, and
    reconstructive power of social norms,
    Psychological Science, 18429-434.

  • Albert Banduras Social Learning Theory posits
    that people learn from one another, via
    observation, imitation, and modeling.
  • Famous for the Bobo Doll studies, which showed
    social learning through modeling. 
  • Bandura, A. (1986). Social Foundations of Thought
    and Action. Englewood Cliffs, NJ Prentice-Hall.

Bobo Doll Studies
  • Bandura made a film of one of his students
    beating up a doll that bounced back up after
    being punched. The woman punched the clown,
    shouting sockeroo! She kicked it, sat on it,
    hit with a little hammer, and so on, shouting
    various aggressive phrases. Bandura showed his
    film to groups of kindergartners. They then were
    let out to play. In the play room were several
    observers with pens and clipboards in hand, a
    brand new Bobo doll, and a few little hammers.
  • Most of the kids beat the daylights out of the
    Bobo doll.  They punched it and shouted
    sockeroo, kicked it, sat on it, hit it with the
    little hammers, and so on. They imitated pretty
    closely what they had seen.
  • Responding to criticism that Bobo dolls were
    supposed to be hit, he even did a film of the
    young woman beating up a live clown.  When the
    children found the live clown in the other room
    after watching the film,  they proceeded to punch
    him, kick him, hit him with little hammers and so

Social Proof
  • Testimonials
  • Indirect evidence of popularity (It sold out last
    time Billions served)
  • Success stories about others
  • Statistics that show a majority of people are
    doing something desirable
  • 97 of visitors do not take pieces of wood from
    the Petrified Forest
  • 93 of Americans are on time with mortgage
    payments in the midst of economic crisis

  • Studies have shown that most people get and feel
    better after they come to therapy.

Questions to ponder
  • How can you use this social following/social
    norms principle in your work?
  • How have you been inadvertently using social
    comparisons and norms ineffectively?
  • What is one small shift you can make in the way
    you work that reflects what you have learned or
    clarified in this section?

  • This is another social phenomenon
  • People feel obliged to return the favor if they
    are given something by someone
  • Free samples or gifts
  • Acts of kindness

  • A waiter brought a piece of candy to each diner
    at a table at the end of the meal compared with
    a no-candy condition, tips increased an average
    of 3.3.
  • In another condition, the waiter brought two
    pieces of candy to each diner tips went up
  • In the final condition, the waiter gave each
    diner a piece of candy, then as he was leaving
    the table, pulled more candy out of his pocket
    and gave each person another piece of candy. Tips
    increased 23.
  • Strohemtz, D.B. Rind, B. Fisher, R. and Lynn,
    M. (2002). Sweetening the till The use of candy
    to increase restaurant tipping, Journal of
    Applied Social Psychology, 32 300-309.

What Makes a Difference with reciprocity
  • Gifts/favors are more valued when they are
    perceived as
  • Significant
  • Unexpected
  • Personalized

  • This is another social phenomenon
  • People are more likely to be influenced by people
    they like
  • People they see as similar to themselves are
    usually liked better
  • Compliments and praise increase liking for the

  • One experiment showed that people were more
    likely to do things (loan some money or sign a
    petition) for people who dressed/looked like them
  • Emswiller, T. Deaux, K. and Willits, J.E.
    (1971). Similarity, sex, and requests for small
    favors, Journal of Applied Social Psychology,
  • Suedfield, P. Bochner, S and Matas, C. (1971).
    Petitioners attire and petition signing by
    peace demonstrators A field experiment, Journal
    of Applied Social Psychology, 1278-283.
  • Another experiment showed that people were more
    likely to buy insurance from a person who was
    like them in terms of age, religion, politics,
    and cigarette-smoking habits
  • Evans, F.B. (1963). Selling as a dyadic
    relationship A new approach, American
    Behavioral Scientist 6776-79

Take Away
  • Find as many commonalities as you can with the
    people with whom you work and find a way of
    letting them know about those commonalities

Psychotherapy outcome research
  • The quality of the therapeutic relationship and
    working alliance accounts for 30 of the positive
    results in psychotherapy
  • Hubble, M. A., Duncan, B. L., Miller, S. D.
    (Eds.) (1999). The heart and soul of change What
    works in therapy. Washington, D.C. American
    Psychological Association.
  • Lambert, M. J. (1992). Psychotherapy outcome
    research Implications for integrative and
    eclectic therapists. In J. C. Norcross M. R.
    Goldfried (Eds.), Handbook of psychotherapy
    Integration. (pp. 94-129). New York Basic Books.

  • Men in a study were given three kinds of
    statements by someone who needed a favor from
  • Positive
  • Negative
  • Neutral
  • The person who gave the men pure positive praise
    was better liked, even when the men knew the
    praise was untrue and the person wanted a favor
    from them
  • Drachman, D. deCarufel, A. and Insko, C.A.
    (1978). The extra credit effect in interpersonal
    attraction, Journal of Experimental Social
    Psychology, 14458-467.

The Kind of Compliment Can Matter
  • Carol Dweck and colleagues gave children a fairly
    simple puzzle and told half the kids a comment
    that told them they were smart and the other half
    that they must have worked hard to solve the
  • Then they offered them a choice of simple or
    challenging puzzles.
  • 90 of the kids who were praised for effort chose
    the difficult puzzles
  • A majority of the kids who were praised for
    intelligence chose the easier ones.
  • Then all the kids were given some difficult
    puzzles. Then some that were about as easy as the
    initial ones.
  • The work hard kids did 30 better than they had
    in the initial scores, while the intelligence
    kids scores declined by 20.
  • Cimpian, A. et. al (2007). Subtle Linguistic
    Clues Affect Childrens motivations,
    Psychological Science, 18314-316.

  • Several studies have shown that whatever the most
    recent or last part of an experience is tends to
    color and strongly influence our overall memory
    or sense of that experience. A particularly
    graphic example involves people who were
    undergoing proctological exams. Patients were
    divided into two groups
  • 1. Standard proctological exam
  • 2. The scope (or digit) was left in but not moved
    for an extra minute at the end (sorry for the
    pun) of the exam.
  • Those patients who experienced the longer exam
    were more willing to undergo the procedure again
    in the future. Ending on a good note makes a
    difference in how the whole (sorry again)
    experience is remembered.
  • Redelmeier, D., and Kahneman, D. (1996).
    Patients memories of painful medical
    treatments Real-time and retrospective
    evaluations of two minimally invasive
    procedures, Pain, 1163-8.

Take Away
  • End sessions on a neutral or positive note
    people are more likely to schedule another
  • Compliment people on their efforts rather than
    just praise them generally

Influence Principle 2perceptual priming/biases
  • Associative priming
  • For example, dog would prime cat dog would prime
    log and frog
  • Semantic priming
  • For example, dog would prime wolf

Happiness influences Up to 3 degrees of separation
  • Emotions such as happiness, seem to be
    contagious. In contrast to behaviors (like
    smoking or obesity), people must have direct
    contact with others (even by proxy) to catch
    the emotions in a social network.
  • People who are happy and have friends, or friends
    of friends, tend to be happier. The amount of
  • Next door neighbor 34
  • Friends 25
  • Close living sibling 14
  • Spouse 8
  • People at the center of the happy social
    network tend to be happiest (vs. people on the
    periphery. The more people one is connected to,
    the happier.
  • Happiness spreads more readily than unhappiness.
  • Fowler, James and Christakis, Nicholas. (2008).
    Dynamic spread of happiness in a large social
    network longitudinal analysis over 20 years in
    the Framingham Heart Study, British Medical
    Journal, 337a2338.

  • Whatever numbers or words are mentioned before
    something is asked will strongly influence the
    answer or response to that question or request

  • The experimenter had students write down the last
    two digits of their social security number
  • Then they were asked whether they would pay that
    amount for several items that were to be
  • The social security numbers influenced what
    students bid For example, for ne item, students
    with the highest numbers bid highest (e.g. 56
    average for the highest) and those with the
    lowest numbers bid the lowest (16 average)
  • Ariely, D. Loewenstein, G. and Prelec, Drazen.
    (2003). Coherent arbitrariness Stable demand
    curves without stable preferences, Quarterly
    Journal of Economics, 118(1)73-105.

Take Away
  • You might suggest that many people successfully
    resolve their issues within 4 to 6 sessions (the
    research indicates this is true)

Non-conscious influences and priming
  • Exposing people to biased words and phrases
    influences their subsequent performance

  • Milton Ericksons method of non-verbally
    emphasizing certain words or phrases
  • Learn to rephrase problem words or phrases into
    solution/longing words or phrases
  • For example, if someone is dealing with chronic
    pain, you might say, I know youd really like to
    find a way to feel more comfortable.

  • Milton Ericksons YES SET
  • NO SET

  • People give credibility and are more swayed by
    people who are perceived as authorities

Milgrams Shock experiments
Milgrams Shock experiments
  • The experimenter told subjects they must shock
    the learner when he got the answer wrong if
    the teacher balked, the experimenter merely
    told him he must go on
  • 65 complied and went all the way to Danger
    severe shockAlmost all subjects went to 300v
  • Even when the subjects heard the learner
    groaning, yelling in pain, pounding on the wall
    and finally stopped responding
  • Even when the subjects had previously heard the
    subject mention he or she had a heart condition
  • Milgram, Stanley. (1963). Behavioral Study of
    Obedience, Journal of Abnormal and Social
    Psychology, 67371-378.

  • Clothing/dress
  • Degrees
  • Knowledge/skill displays
  • Accomplishments/portfolio
  • Settings/furnishings
  • Evidence of results

Value Attribution
  • People make judgments about the value of things
    or people based on information provided by others
    or by context or trappings

Diagnosis bias
  • When primed with a diagnostic label, we often
    ignore facts, data and perceptions that dont fit
    with this diagnosis

The Power of Labels
  • Researchers interviewed a large number of
    potential voters and told 50 of them, based on
    their survey responses, that they were above
    average citizens likely to vote and participate
    in political events. The other half were told
    they were about average.
  • The ones who were labeled above average were
    15 more likely to vote in an election held a
    week later and also saw themselves as better
  • Tybout, A.M. and Yalch, R.F. (1980). The effect
    of experience A matter of salience, Journal of
    Consumer Research, 6406-413.

The Power of Labels
  • Researchers told some schoolchildren that they
    seemed like the kind of students who care about
    good handwriting.
  • Those kids subsequently spent more of their free
    time practicing handwriting, even when they
    thought no one was watching them.
  • Cialdini, R. Eisenberg, N. Green, B. Rhoads,
    K. and Bator, R. (1998). Undermining the
    undermining effect of reward on sustained
    interest, Journal of Applied Social Psychology,

Diagnosis bias
  • Bandura study subjects shock others when they
    make mistakes
  • When subjects overheard experimenter tell
  • Theyre here.
  • They seem nice.
  • Theyre like animals. Significantly more shock

Revisiting Two Words Warm or COLD
  • Students at Harvard Business School were told
    they had a guest instructor and were asked to
    rate him since he was being considered for a
    faculty position
  • They were all given a description of him, with
    one slight difference. In one, he was described
    as very warm and in the other, rather cold.
    Otherwise, the descriptions were identical. The
    class got the same lecture, but at the end, when
    asked to rate the instructor for possible hiring
    as an instructor, the students who had read the
    description of a very warm person rated him as
    good-natured, considerate of others, informal,
    sociable, popular, humorous, and humane, while
    those who read that he was rather cold rated
    him as self-centered, formal, unsociable,
    unpopular, irritable, humorless, and ruthless.
  • Reference Kelley, H.H. (1950). The warm-cold
    variable in first impressions of persons,
    Journal of Personality, 18, 431-439.

  • In a recent study, Carol Dweck and colleagues
    found that people who believe personality can
    change were more likely than others to bring up
    concerns and deal with problems in a constructive
    way. Dweck holds the view that a fixed mind-set
    can foster a categorical, all-or-nothing view of
    peoples qualities this view tends to lead to
    ignoring festering problems or, at the other
    extreme, giving up on a relationship at the first
    sign of trouble.
  • Blackwell, Lisa S. , Trzesniewski, Kali H.,
    Dweck, Carol Sorich. (2007). Implicit Theories
    of Intelligence Predict Achievement Across an
    Adolescent Transition A Longitudinal Study and
    an Intervention, Child Development,

Diagnosis Bias Context and Clothing signals
  • Joshua Bell, one of the top violinists in the
    world, gave a free performance in a Metro DC
    station in 2007. He was there for 45 minutes,
    playing in blue jeans and a baseball cap. He
    played several Bach pieces on a violin worth 3.5
  • Very few people even stopped and listened he got
    32 in tips
  • Several days before, Bell had played to a sold
    out audience in Boston at an average ticket price
    of 100.

Von Restorff Effect
  • Take a look at this paragraph. What stands out
    for you?
  • Application Anything you can do to make the
    message you want remembered to stand out from the
    rest of the message will probably help.

Think Different
  • Think different think different think different
    think different think different think different
    think different think different think different
    think different think different think different
    think different think different think different
    think different think different think different
    think different think different think different

Von Restorff Effect
  • Also called the isolation effect, it holds
    that we are more likely to remember the unusual
    or what stands out in a larger context
  • Von Restorff, H. (1933). Über die Wirkung von
    Bereichsbildungen im Spurenfeld (The effects of
    field formation in the trace field), Psychologie
    Forschung, 18, 299-34

The Serial Position Effect
  • Certain items are more likely to be remembered
    than others
  • Thos in the first part of a list or experience
    and those most recent (or the last part of the
    list or experience)
  • Murdock, B.B., Jr. (1962) The Serial Position
    Effect of Free Recall, Journal of Experimental
    Psychology, 64, 482-488.

The Ziegarnik (Zajonc) Effect
  • Discovered by a social psychologist
    (Zeigarnik/sometimes spelled Zajonc) when the
    waiter at a group table remembered the
    interrupted order but not the others
  • An interrupted task will be remembered
    more/longer than a completed task
  • Zeigarnik, B. (1967). On finished and unfinished
    tasks. In W. D. Ellis (Ed.), A sourcebook of
    Gestalt psychology. New York Humanities press.

Influence Principle 3Loss aversion/avoidance
Loss Aversion/Avoidance
  • People are very driven to avoid loss
  • Lost opportunities
  • Loss of freedom

Loss Aversion/Avoidance
  • Experiment done many times
  • Professor holds an auction among MBA students for
    a 20 bill
  • Bids can start anywhere, but the rules say that
    the top bidder wins the 20 bill and the second
    highest bidder must also pay the amount he or she
  • The 20 bill has been sold to the highest bidder
    for more than 20 every time the auction is held
    the highest bid was for 204

  • When introducing interventions and suggesting
    change, link lack of compliance with possible
  • E.g., If you walk away from this marriage now
    and dont give everything youve got, you may
    find yourself regretting it later.

Influence Principles 5Misc.
Commitment and Consistency
  • Once people verbally or otherwise commit to some
    position, they are much more likely to act
    consistently with that committed position

Commitment and Consistency
  • Once restaurant owner decreased no shows for
    dinner reservations from 30 to 10 by changing
    what the receptionist said from Please call if
    you have to cancel, to Will you please call if
    you have to cancel? and then waiting for a yes
  • When people verbally commit to something, they
    are more likely to follow through.
  • From Goldstein, Noah Martin, Steve and Cialdini
    , R. (2008).Yes 50 Scientifically Proven Ways to
    Be Persuasive. NY Free Press.

Commitment and Consistency
  • The foot in the door technique
  • Small actions/commitments open the door lead to
    bigger ones

Would you put this in your window?
Would you put this in your Front Yard?
Would you put this in your Front Yard?
Commitment and Consistency
  • One researcher set a blanket with a radio on the
    beach, listened to the radio for a few minutes,
    then went for a stroll on the beach
  • A second researcher pretended to be a thief who
    took the radio and began to run away with it
  • Very few (4 out of 20) onlookers stopped the
    thief until the next condition, in which the
    first researcher asked the onlooker to watch my
  • Then, 19 of the 20 onlookers ran after the
    thief, snatched the radio out of his hand, and,
    in some cases, restrained him until the owner
  • Moriarty, T. (1975). Crime, consistency, and the
    responsive bystander, Journal of Personality and
    Social Psychology, 31370-376.

Take Away
  • Get people to publicly, verbally and with small
    actions, commit to some course of action or value
    that would be good for them and in the direction
    in which you are trying to lead them
  • They are much more likely to follow through if
    they do

The Paradox of choice
  • Too many choices often leave people overwhelmed
    and paralyzed

The Paradox of Choice
  • Researchers discovered that for every ten
    additional retirement fund options employees were
    offered, participation rates dropped almost 2
    For example, when 2 funds were offered,
    participation rates were 75 when 59 funds were
    offered, participation rates were 60
  • Iyengar, S.S. Huberman, G. and Jiang, W.
    (2004). How much choice is too much?
    Contributions to 401(K) retirement plans, In
    Mitchell, O. and Utkus, S. (eds.). Pension Design
    and Structure New Lessons from Behavioral
    Finance. pp. 83-96. Oxford, UK Oxford University

The Paradox of Choice
  • When consumers were offered samples of jams at a
    supermarket and their subsequent purchases were
    tracked (using coupons), those who were offered
    samples from 24 different jams bought only 3 of
    the time those who were offered 6 jams bought
    30 of the time.
  • Iyengar, S.S. and Lepper, M. R. (2000). When
    choice is demotivating Can one desire too much
    of a good thing?, Journal of Pesonalityand
    Social Psychology, 79995-1006.

The Paradox of Choice
  • When Procter and Gamble reduced the number of
    versions of Head and Shoulders shampoo from 26 to
    15, sales increased 10.
  • Osnos, E. (1997, September 27). Too many
    choices? Firms cut back on new products.
    Philadelphia Inquirer, D1/D7.

  • When offering interventions, keep the number of
    options small

What have you learned?
  • What will be one thing you take away from this
    seminar and can use right away?
  • What do you want to explore more?

Bill OHanlon
  • 223 N. Guadalupe 278
  • Santa Fe, NM 87501