The Psychology of Persuasion
by Robert Cialdini

Read:  2016, Rating:  10/10.


My Keep Notes:

Commitment and Consistency

Get them to write it down – commitments such as from vp to get more headcount

Don’t let people commit public ally if you want to influence

Idea: get people to write they are committed to customers

Pin them down, then have them say he commitment instead of pinning them down – even if it doesn’t work, they will feel more guilty
Effort commitment such as Jewish Bar Mitzvah
Or fraternity initiation and pledges

Action: Get people to write down things you want them to do

Effort full

No must take ownership no any other reason

Use for discipline
Treat only works when you’re there

Low ball into commitment
Once feeling good about it it doesn’t matter
Saving fuel – from small reason externally to true reason internally

Defense to commitment and consistency tricks

In real world, normally, consistency is good – rigid is bad. If no consistency we would have to think of each action – know when consistency would lead to poor choice

Two signals to get defense up:

1. Stomach signs – trapped into complying request
If you feel like sucker – point out absurdity of consistency
Example about entertainment book sale.

2. Hearts of hearts signs
Stomach only when you feel wrong
Heart of hearts deep inside you can’t fool yourself

Ask yourself – Knowing what I know now if I could go back would I make the same choice?

Not just intellectually (with all the “reasons”) but in hearts of hearts. Look for flashes of signs from heart of hearts before tricking yourself

Use it as soon as you feel tricked

Action: respond to mean words in consistency
Action: ask for help before details
Action: get details before committing to help

Consistency – active, public, effort, internally made

Works better in individualistic societies

Principle of Social Proof

When trying to figure out what’s correct, we base our actions on what others seem to correctly do.

Eg. Laugh tracks work – we can see its fake but why it works?

In real world, normally, when others so something – its usually good to do.

People powered

Action: Raising children make them watch videos of what they should do

What we prefer to be true will seem to be true

The greater number of people who believe an idea is correct, the more a given individual will perceive the idea to be correct. If no physical evidence, looking for social evidence. When uncertain look for lead of others.

Pluralistic ignorance – since no one is reacting, nothing is probably wrong

More common among strangers – gotta play it cool. Bystander inaction/apathy – More true in city dwellers – more unknowns, random things happening more strangers

If in emergency and you need help – de-victimize yourself – groups don’t help because unsure, not unhelpful.

Enemy is uncertainty. Be clear when asking for help. Use word help – don’t fear embarrassment. State point at an individual and ask for help – ambulance. Give person a role. As precise as possible. Don’t let bystanders dictate scenario.

When we are uncertain – dependency on social proof increases.

Similarity – social proof works more for similar individual, that different

Use actions of others to base our actions, more if similar. Change actions of others using similar peers.

Eg. Convince children go see dentist by showing a video of child at dentist, works best for same aged children

Eg. Teaching kids swimming, show similar examples. “I’m 3, and I see tommy is 3 and can swim”

Eg. Using female examples for females and male testimonials for males

Housewife tell her why a couple bought. Then need consultation with other half. But housewife listen to housewife. Couples listen to other couples.

Social proof of other examples.

After suicide, airplanes fall out of sky at alarming rate. Alarming. Automobile accidents too. Social conditions for suicide cause others.

Auto pilot usually valid and valuable. But can be taken off course. Watch for faked data, inputs.

Eg. Advertisement using “average people” giving testimonial. But biased report

Alarm for bad social proof just like for advertisements

Sting them back – Treat them as aliens from mars pretending to be humans “just like you”

Eastern cultures more susceptible than western culture

Western more individualistic
Eastern more collectivist

Evidence of a crowd. If lots of people do something, fear others are right and we’re wrong.

More powerful when uncertain
More powerful when similar
Recommendations – sensitivity and recognition that others


As a rule say yes to people we know and like

Eg. Tupperware party

1 reciprocity
2 commitment
3 social proof

Weapons of influence

Party hostess selling – buying from friend who get a cut

Mention of friend is already enough – endless chain method. Keep along for friends to go viral

Difficult to reject friends

Liking bond

Employing compliance strategy

Fair price and someone they liked to buy from

Why they liked him more for fair price

What causes one to like another? Then find out why

Used by compliance professionals

Physical attractiveness – underestimated – automatically halo effects – one trait dominates there. talent, honestly , kindness. Good looking = good

Eg. Justin Trudeau

Voters don’t realize their bias
Cognitive dissonance

Eg. Hiring decisions – more important than skills. Pay day too. Get paid more. Body dimensions and bone structure

Handsome men get off easier

Better liked, more persuasive, more intellectual

But why is this true? Seems fair

More likely to like someone like us

Eg. How you dress, age, religion, race, habits
Eg. Add numerous interests to resume so perhaps hiring manager has a similar interest


Holiday greeting cards
Tell them you like them

We are suckers for flattery

Action: Send postcards

Doesn’t matter true or false

Compliment then follow up with compliance

Eg Mirror – we find ourselves more attractive than others

Vote because name seems familiar

Action: Name child a common name

Greater liking = greater influence

More favourable to what we’ve had contact with

School is not melting pot of meeting other groups, kids generally make groups and separate from each other. Repeated contact doesn’t necessarily mean more liking. Only positive interaction increase liking.

Traditional teaching method of calling on speaker, highly competitive. Kids become jealous or resentful.

Action: Think about “But what if put together but some are lazy”

Create view of allies via collaboration

Eg. Collaboration works for camps, business and schools

Compliance professionals – use this trick – convince working towards same goal, same team

“If we work together on this”

Good cop bad cop
Also perceptional contrast – liking – reciprocation

Weather man – connection to news

Principle of Association

Associate with things we are like – eg hanging w bad kids make you guilty by association. Or pretty people advertising

Eg association to Olympics

But does it really work? Apparently

Big stars aligning to politicians

You like stuff when you see it while eating

Ivan Pavlov physiologist – Get animal salvation to bell.

Luncheon technique

Possible to connect to political slogans to good food

Say Tupperware instead of bingo for positive association


Link to attach with positive, not negative

Why sports riots? Or lavish gifts to ballers? Rationally no sense, just a game.

So attached with his hometown. Through association to home.

All things equal you root for your own race, gender, place. To beat the other side. For your self is at sake. To prove to ourselves and to others.

Public prestige.

For others to think of self so highly.

When talking about same team, we own the successful team and distance ourselves from a losing team.

We are #1!” – closest pronoun connect to success
They suck” – insulating pronoun separate from teams losers

Name droppers
Rock band groupies
Sports mother
Hockey dad

Association principle strive to show off how good you are

Eg. Academy awards

Don’t need to be the star to get the glory. Just need to be associated with the star


Don’t defend liking
Defend the effects
Sensitive to context
Did we like him or her more than normal?

Stronger the force. More ready for defence

Ask yourself: In the last 25 min did I come to like him more than expected?

Identify unwarranted liking

If yes I like this guy particularly well. Mentally isolate the person and the item or purchase

Separate requester and request


Learner vs teacher experiment

Power of authority

Obedience to authority

They didn’t want to do it, but they did

Eg Doctor writing “put it in the R. EAR” – Nurse put it in the REAR instead of Right Ear.

What makes senses is irrelevant. Only follow power figure

Eg advertisers acting as doctors

Authority to goods
Eg name of brand sounding authentic, authority

Eg. Olive oil from Italy

Fake Authority with Title, clothes, trappings

Title is easiest to get

Automatic difference

Professor – name makes other people act grammatical, dull, more proper. When hanging out with professors, others get more professor-like.

Authority perception. Each increase in title, individuals seem taller to others

Sometimes size determines status. In combat, larger usually wins.

Fake height to fake power

Fur feathers

More tangible but easy fake

Garb of authority is not a guarantee

Pick up paper bag, street clothes vs security guard costume.

Business suit vs work shirt and trousers

Bank examiner scheme – Scammers pretend to be bank, ask individuals to deposit money into bank accounts.

Eg. People don’t honk horns at nicer cars. Honk more frequently at economy cars


Remove surprise of authority
Should want to block influence – usually right such as doctors, bosses, judges

Ask “Is this authority actually an expert?” Confirm status

Eg seeing actors as doctors on tv

Ask “Is this authority trustworthy?” How truthful do we expect this person to be?

Titles clothes and cars

Scarcity – rule of the few

Eg. Restricted access, new stuff, never have another chance

Less is best, lost is worst

Baseball cards, antiques, collectibles, rare flawed items, picking up a call from random number.

Phone calls – With each ring, closer to losing the call, maybe forever

Risk and uncertainty, potential loss is huge in decision making

Eg. Weigh potential losses over potential gains

If moderately interested – tell them it’s sold out . Is there an unsold one? Check the back room? So if I check, will you buy it for sure? Committed. Bring item with contract

Human evolution – need to make sure we get what we need

One time only deals

Typical things difficult to get is better than easy to get

The opposite is things that are better are difficult to get

Click whirl
Click blue

Starts a soon as Terrible twos – parents see contrasting behaviours. They don’t listen and want what they can’t have. Want toys that are harder to get – limitation to freedoms

Girls more about psychological barriers, boys physical

Testing patience of parents they learn where they have control and where they have no control

Another age is teenage years
Emerge age of learning control

If parents double down, that’s even worse

Romeo Juliet effect

Parental interference and psychological effect. Barriers placed by parents

Always be accepting romantic partners for teenagers who see each other of adults

Persuasion and influence works better than barriers

For twos and teens, psychological forces is great. For rest of us expect explosions of this

Once you want it, you will give it reasons to want or desire it

Want what is banned

Such as banned info, you want it, then more likely to believe the information

When make decision about something or someone only use a highly representative of the total

Leads to mistakes when led by clever others

Commitment and Consistency
Social proof

We are at war with clever compliance professionals, profiteers


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