Tag Archives: robert-cialdini

The Science of Persuasion

Per­sua­sion is not an art; it’s a sci­ence.

That’s accord­ing to Yes!—the book by social psy­cho­lo­gists Robert Cialdini, Noah Gold­stein and Steve Mar­tin that pro­poses to offer 50 ‘sci­en­tific­ally proven ways to be persuasive’. 

For his review of the book, Alex Moskalyuk lists these 50 ways to be per­suas­ive, as gleamed from dozens of psy­cho­logy stud­ies.

2. Intro­duce herd effect in highly per­son­al­ized form. The hotel sign in the bath­room informed the guests that many pri­or guests chose to be envir­on­ment­ally friendly by recyc­ling their tow­els. How­ever, when the mes­sage men­tioned that major­ity of the guests who stayed in this spe­cif­ic room chose to be more envir­on­ment­ally con­scious and reused their tow­els, tow­el recyc­ling jumped 33%, even though the mes­sage was largely the same.

Behavioural Economics and Financial Policies

The news that Obama had some of the lead­ing beha­vi­our­ists advising his cam­paign comes as no sur­prise to me, how­ever I likely under­es­tim­ated how much they influ­enced both the cam­paign and the voters.

Time takes a look at this “beha­vi­our­al dream team” and dis­cusses how the Obama admin­is­tra­tion is using beha­vi­our­al eco­nom­ics to guide its fin­an­cial policies.

The exist­ence of this beha­vi­or­al dream team — which also included best-selling authors Dan Ari­ely of MIT (Pre­dict­ably Irra­tion­al) and Richard Thaler and Cass Sun­stein of the Uni­ver­sity of Chica­go (Nudge) as well as Nobel laur­eate Daniel Kahne­man of Prin­ceton — has nev­er been pub­licly dis­closed, even though its mem­bers gave Obama white papers on mes­saging, fun­drais­ing and rumor con­trol as well as voter mobil­iz­a­tion. All their pro­pos­als — among them the fam­ous online fun­drais­ing lot­ter­ies that gave small donors a chance to win face time with Obama — came with foot­notes to peer-reviewed aca­dem­ic research. “It was amaz­ing to have these bul­let points telling us what to do and the sci­ence behind it,” Moffo tells TIME. “These guys really know what makes people tick.”

Pres­id­ent Obama is still rely­ing on beha­vi­or­al sci­ence. But now his Admin­is­tra­tion is using it to try to trans­form the coun­try. Because when you know what makes people tick, it’s a lot easi­er to help them change.

While I like this pro­gress­ive move, I—like Mind Hacks’ Vaughan—feel the need to ask, “Where are the scep­tic­al voices?”

Using Neighbourhood Comparisons to Promote Conservation

By com­par­ing cus­tom­ers’ usage to that of oth­ers in the neigh­bour­hood, util­ity com­pan­ies are start­ing to reduce their energy con­sump­tion. This, from an exper­i­ment con­duc­ted by Robert Cialdini, author of Influ­ence:

In a 2004 exper­i­ment, he and a col­league left dif­fer­ent mes­sages on doorknobs in a middle-class neigh­bor­hood north of San Diego. One type urged the res­id­ents to con­serve energy to save the earth for future gen­er­a­tions; anoth­er emphas­ized fin­an­cial sav­ings. But the only kind of mes­sage to have any sig­ni­fic­ant effect […] was one that said neigh­bors had already taken steps to curb their energy use.

You can see how effect­ive this is just by look­ing at the graph­ic used to head the Times’ art­icle. This has now got me won­der­ing how this could be used with recyc­ling.

via Mind Hacks