Chapter 1: Weapons Of Influence (from Influence by Robert Cialdini)

Chapter 1: Weapons Of Influence (from Influence by Robert Cialdini)

I have started to reread Influence by Robert Cialdini, a seminal classic on the science of persuasion. These notes from Chapter 1: Weapons Of Influence are just for my recap and understanding. What can ethology teach us? Ethology – the study of animals in their natural habitat – has identified that many animals have “fixed-action patterns” usually activated by a simple trigger. For example, the maternal instincts of turkeys are activated primarily due to the “cheep-cheep” sound made by the young ones. Before we smirk at animal behaviour, remember we also have simple triggers that unleash a sequence of actions or a ritual. So what are our triggers? Two important things about “fixed-action patterns”: It works very well for animals most of the time. Humans have these patterns and usually it works in our favour but there are manipulators on the prowl that may misuse these patterns against us to get their way. “Because” Is A Powerful Word Ellen Langer from Harvard conducted an experiment to test a well-known human behaviour which states that we will be more successful in obtaining favours from people if we provide a reason. Scenario: Asking people for a favour to cut queue in a line of people waiting to use the copy machine in a library. Request 1: Excuse me, I have five pages. May I use the Xerox machine because I’m in a rush? (94% let her skip ahead of them) Request 2: Excuse me, I have five pages. May I use the Xerox machine? (60% let her skip ahead of them) Request 3: Excuse me, I have five pages. May I...