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Psychology theories

AAcquiescence Effect
Acquired Needs Theory
Activation Theory
Actor-Observer Difference
Affect Infusion Model
Affect Perseverance
Aggression
Ambiguity effect
Amplification Hypothesis
Anchoring and Adjustment Heuristic
Anticipatory Regret see Regret Theory
Appraisal Theory
Attachment Theory
Attachment Style
Attitude
Attitude-Behavior Consistency
Attribution Theory
Automatic Believing
Augmenting Principle
Availability Heuristic

-BBalance Theory see Consistency Theory


Barnum Effect see Personal Validation Fallacy
Belief Bias
Belief Perseverance
Below-Average Effect
Ben Franklin Effect
Bias blind spot
Bias Correction
Biased sampling
Body language see Non-verbal Behavior
Bounded Rationality
Buffer effect of Social Support
Bystander Effect

-CCannon-Bard Theory of Emotion


Cautious Shift see Risky Shift Phenomenon
Central Route see Elaboration Likelihood Model
Certainty Effect
Charismatic Terms see Ultimate Terms

Choice Shift see Risky Shift Phenomenon


Choice-supportive bias
Choice Theory see Control Theory
Classical Conditioning
Clustering Illusion
Coercion
Cognitive Appraisal Theories of Emotion
Cognitive Dissonance
Cognitive Evalution Theory
Commitment
Communication Accommodation Theory
Compensation
Confirmation Bias
Conjunction Fallacy
Consistency Theory
Constructivism
Contact Hypothesis
Control Theory
Conversion
Contagion
Conversion Theory
Correspondence Bias
Correspondent Inference Theory
Counter-Attitudinal Advocacy (CAA)
Counterfactual Thinking
Covariation Model
Credibility

-DDecisions
Deindividuation
Devil Terms see Ultimate Terms
Disconfirmation bias
Discounting
Dissonance see Cognitive Dissonance
Drive Theory
Durability bias

-EEgo Depletion
Elaboration Likelihood Model
Empathy-Altruism Hypothesis
Endowed Progress Effect
Endowment Effect
Epistemological Weighting Hypothesis
Equity Theory

ERG Theory
Escape Theory
Expectancy Violations Theory
Expectancy Theory
Explanatory Coherence
Extended Parallel Process Model
External Justification
Ethnocentric Bias see Group Attribution Error
Extrinsic Motivation

-FFalse Consensus Effect


False Memory Syndrome
Fatigue
Focalism
Focusing Effect
Forced Compliance
Forer Effect see Personal Validation Fallacy
Four-factor Model
Filter Theory
Framing
Friendship
Frustration-Aggression Theory
Fundamental Attribution Error

-GGambler's Fallacy
Goal-Setting Theory
God Terms see Ultimate Terms
Group Attribution Error
Group Locomotion Hypothesis
Group Polarization Phenomenon
Group-serving Attributional Bias see Group Attribution Error
Groupthink

-HHalo Effect
Hedonic Relevance see Correspondent Inference Theory
Heuristic-Systematic Persuasion Model
Hostile Media Phenomenon
Hot Hand Phenomenon
Hindsight Bias
Hyperbolic discounting

-IIllusion of Asymmetric Insight


Illusory Correlation

Imagination Inflation see False Memory Syndrome


Imagined Memory
Impact Bias
Implicit Personality Theory
Impression Management
Inattentional Blindness
Information Bias
Information Manipulation Theory
Information Processing Theory
Informational Social Influence
In-Group Bias
In-Group Linguistic Bias see In-Group Bias
Inoculation
Insufficient Punishment
Interpersonal Deception Theory
Interpersonal Expectancy Effect
Interview Illusion
Intrinsic motivation
Investment Model
Invisible Correlation see Illusory Correlation
Involvement
Ironic Reversal

-JJames-Lange Theory of Emotion


Justification of Effort
Just-world phenomenon

-KKin Selection see Prosocial Behavior

-LLake Wobegon effect


Language Expectancy Theory
Law of Attraction
Lazarus Theory see Appraisal Theory
Leader-Member Exchange Theory
Learned Helplessness Theory
Learned Need Theory see Acquired Needs Theory
Least Interest Principle
Linguistic Inter-group Bias
Locus of Control
Looking-glass Self
Love

-MMatching Hypothesis

Mental Models see Schema


Mere Exposure Theory
Mere Thought Effect
Minimum Group Theory
Minority Influence
Mood-Congruent Judgment
Mood memory
Multi-Attribute Choice

-NNegative Face see Politeness Theory


Neglect of probability bias
Non-Verbal Behavior
Normative Social Influence
Norms see Social Norms

-OObjectification
Object Relations Theory
Operant Conditioning
Opponent-Process Theory.
Optimism Bias see Valence Effect
Other-Enhancement see Impression Management
Outcome Dependency
Out-Group Bias see In-Group Bias
Out-Group Homogeneity
Overconfidence Barrier
Overjustification Effect

-PPerceived Behavioral Control see Planned Behavior Theory


Perceptual Contrast Effect
Perceptual Salience
Peripheral Route see Elaboration Likelihood Model
Personal Construct Theory
Personal Validation Fallacy
Personalism see Correspondent Inference Theory
Persuasion
Persuasive Arguments Theory
Placebo Effect
Planning Fallacy
Planned Behavior Theory
Plasticity
Pluralistic Ignorance
Polarization
Politeness Theory

Positive Face see Politeness Theory


Positive psychology
Positive Test Strategy see Confirmation Bias
Positivity Effect
Post-Decision Dissonance
Power
The Pratfall Effect
Primacy Effect
Priming
Private Acceptance see Informational Social Influence
Propinquity Effect
Prosocial Behavior
Prospect Theory
Pseudo-certainty effect see Certainty Effect
Psychological Accounting
Public Compliance see Informational Social Influence
Pygmalion Effect see Self-Fulfilling Prophecy

-Q-RRationalization Trap
Reactance Theory
Reasoned Action, see Planned Behavior Theory
Realistic Conflict Theory
Recency Effect
Reciprocity Norm
Regret Theory
Reinforcement-Affect Theory
Relative Deprivation Theory
Relationship Dissolution, see Terminating Relationships
Representativeness Heuristic
Repulsion Hypothesis
Restraint Bias
Risk Preference
Risky Shift Phenomenon
Roles

-SSapir-Whorf Hypothesis
Satisficing
Scapegoat Theory
Scarcity Principle
Schema
Selective Exposure
Selective Perception

Self-Affirmation Theory
Self-Completion Theory
Self-Determination Theory
Self-Discrepancy Theory
Self-Enhancement see Impression Management
Self-Enhancing Bias see Self-Serving Bias
Self-Evaluation Maintenance Theory
Self-Fulfilling Prophecy
Self-Monitoring Behavior
Self-Perception Theory
Self-Protective Bias see Self-Serving Bias
Self-Regulation Theory
Self-Serving Bias
Self-Verification Theory
Side Bet Theory
Sleeper Effect
Small World Theory
Social Comparison Theory
Social Desirability Bias
Social Exchange Theory
Social Facilitation
Social Identity Theory
Social Impact Theory
Social Influence
Social Judgment Theory
Social Learning Theory
Social Loafing
Social Norms
Social Penetration Theory
Social Proof see Informational Social Influence
Social Representation Theory
Social-Role Theory
Sociobiology Theory
Source Credibility
Speech Act Theory
Spiral of Silence Theory
Stage Theory
Stereotypes
Stockholm Syndrome
Story Model
Stimulus-Value-Role Model
Strategic Contingencies Theory
Subjective Norms see Planned Behavior Theory
Subliminal Messages
Sunk-Cost Effect

Symbolic Convergence Theory


Symbolic Interaction Theory

-TTerminating relationships
Theory of Mind
Three-factor Theory see Acquired Needs Theory
Transtheoretical Model of Change
Two-Factor Theory of Emotion

-UUltimate Attribution Error


Ultimate Terms
Uncertainty Reduction Theory
Unconscious Thought Theory
Urban-Overload Hypothesis

-VValence Effect
VIE Theory see Expectancy Theory

-WWeak Ties Theory


Wishful Thinking see Valence Effect
Worse-Than-Average Effect see Below-Average Effect

-X-YYale Attitude Change Approach

Acquiescence Effect
Description
When asked a question by another person, our answer is based not just on a rational
consideration of what is being asked. In particular, our identity needs lead us to consider how we
will appear to others.
We thus will tend to answer more in the positive rather than the negative, particularly if
a leading question is used. We seek to acquiesce to the needs and direction of others,
particularly when:

They seem to be a superior in some way.

They have a need whereby we can easily help them.

Answering the question fully seems like hard work.

People thus tend to agree with one-sided statements. They will also agree with two contradictory
statements when they are framed for agreement.

Example
If you were asked 'Do you think the government makes mistakes?', you may well say yes. If you
were asked whether the government generally gets it right, you may also agree.
Lawyers will ask complex questions of people in the witness box, who may give in and agree
rather try to unravel what is being asked of them.
A butcher asks a customers 'Do you want the best cut?'. The customers agrees.

So What?
Using it
Use leading questions to get people to agree with you. Use neutral questions if you want a more
honest response.

Defending
Before you answer a question, consider the bias in the question and also the bias in your head.
Don't say 'yes' just to make others happy.

Acquired Needs Theory


Description
Need are shaped over time by our experiences over time. Most of these fall into three general
categories of needs:

Achievement (nAch)

Affiliation (nAff)

Power (nPow)

Acquired Needs Theory is also known as the Three-Need Theory orLearned Need Theory.

We have different preferences


We will tend have one of these needs that affects us more powerfully than others and thus
affects our behaviors:

Achievers seek to excel and appreciate frequent recognition of how well they are
doing. They will avoid low risk activities that have no chance of gain. They also will
avoid high risks where there is a significant chance of failure.

Affiliation seekers look for harmonious relationships with other people. They will thus
tend to conform and shy away from standing out. The seek approval rather than
recognition.

Power seekers want power either to control other people (for their own goals) or to
achieve higher goals (for the greater good). They seek neither recognition nor
approval from others -- only agreement and compliance.

Identifying preferences
A common way of discovering our tendencies towards these is with a Thematic Apperception
Test, which is a set of black-and-white pictures on cards, each showing an emotionally powerful
situation. The person is presented with one card at a time and asked to make up a story about
each situation.

So what?
Using it
Challenge achievers with stretching goals.
Offer affiliation-seekers safety and approval.
Beware of personal power-seekers trying to turn the tables on you or use other Machiavellian
methods. Make sure you have sufficient power of your own, or show how you can help them
achieve more power.

Defending
Understand your own tendencies. Curb the excesses and, especially if you seek affiliation,
beware of those who would use this against you and for their own benefit alone.

Activation Theory
Description
Also known as 'Arousal Theory', activation theory describes how mental arousal is necessary for
effective functioning in that we need a certain level of activation in order to be sufficiently
motivated to achieve goals, do good work and so on.
The Yerkes-Dodson Law points out how people need a certain amount of activation to be
motivated but not have too much stimulation. We have an upper limit to activation, beyond
which we become overly stressed and fall intosatisficing.

People will seek activation through different types of stimulation, including novelty, complexity,
variation and uncertainty. At a low level of activation, performance is decreased due to three
factors:

A lack of alertness

Dulling of the senses

Limited muscular coordination

These in turn can lead to increased error or accident, and slower completion of tasks.
Underactivation also leads to boredom and seeking of alternative stimulation (including by
sabotage), unless the person has a low activation preference, where they are happy to
daydream or otherwise be lazy.

Example
A person designing a job considers carefully the level of activation needed and includes just
enough challenges and stimulation to keep the job-holder interested but not so much that they
get overloaded.

So What?
Using it
When seeking to get people to things for you, ensure the work is stimulating and keeps their
attention.

Defending
When others are keeping you busy without any time for yourself, pause and wonder what it is all
about.

Actor/Observer Difference
Description
We tend to see other peoples behaviors as being caused by their personal disposition, whilst
perceiving our own actions as due to situational factors.
We also tend to see ourselves as being less stable and predictable, whilst others are assumed to
be more one-dimensional, with less possible behaviors.
This can be due to the fact that we have far more consistency and distinctiveness data about
ourselves than observers have (see Covariation Model). That is, we know better how and why
our behavior varies between different situations. People watching us have to guess.
The effect can be reversed when we put ourselves in the place of the other person, such as
when we like them. In these cases, we will make dispositional attributions.
We will also reverse the actor/observer difference when we are making negative conclusions. We
thus make situational attributions when we make mistakes and dispositional attributions when
other people do something reprehensible.

Research
Storms (1973) sat two people facing each other for a conversation, with two observers, one
either side. Afterwards, they were all asked to make dispositional and situational attributions
about the conversationalists. The observers made more attributions to the disposition of the
conversationalists they were facing. After watching a videotape, the conversationalists made
even more situational attributions about themselves.

So what?
Using it
Beware of causing conflict and losing trust by making internal attributions about other people
who are likely to be making external attributions about their own behavior. Demonstrate
empathy by putting yourself in their place.

Affect Infusion Model


Description
Mood affects our judgments, but not consistently. For the mood to have an effect on our
judgment, it has to override the forces that would normally lead to the 'standard' judgment.
Mood has no effect when:

We are making judgments that are based on direct retrieval of a simple pre-formed
conclusion.

We are trying to satisfy strong directional goals.

Mood does have an effect when:

We are using short-cut methods, such as heuristics, for making decisions.


o

Mood sneaks in at the subconscious level, biasing our judgments without us


noticing. At this level we typically use 'How would I feel?' type of evaluations,
which are clearly affected by our current mood.

Elaborate reasoning, where we are using substantive processes.


o

Mood is not so strong at the decision level here. It does have an effect,
however, at the more detailed level such as when what we recall is biased by
our mood.

Example
If I know I like bacon, then my mood will not affect my having bacon for breakfast.

So what?

Using it
Do not try to use mood to affect judgments for simple decisions. Create the mood and then
distract people or lead them to short-cut decisions. When they are thinking in detail, help them
recall information that is congruent to both their mood and also your desired outcome.

Defending
Notice your mood. Beware of hasty decisions. Include a mood check in your analytical decision
processes.

Affect Perseverance
Description
Affect Perseverance occurs where an emotional preference continues, even after the thoughts
that gave rise to the original emotion are invalidated.
Feelings are often independent of facts and evidence, and once initiated tend to take on a life of
their own. Almost by definition, they are not rational.
Affect Perseverance is similar to Belief Perseverance.

Research
Participants in a study by Sherman and Kim learned associations between neutral stimuli,
Chinese ideographs and affectively valenced English words. They measured whether participants
preferred the ideographs associated with positive English words to the ideographs associated
with negative English words. Then they invalidated the cognition by associating new, neutral

English words with the same ideographs. Despite this change in cognition, the affective
preference persevered.

Example
A woman falls in love with a man because he is kind to her. When he becomes abusive, her
affection remains.

So What?
Using it
To get someone emotionally engaged with an item or topic, start with some rational purpose
that makes sense to them. Then, when the emotions are established, slowly ignore and remove
the rationale. Reinforce the emotion as its own justification.

Defending
Pay attention to the rationale behind your feelings. Why do you feel that way towards things?
What was the original reason? Is that reason still valid?

Aggression
Description

Although aggression is a natural emotion, it is a very social act. It is learned from parents, peers
and the media and people are likely to be more aggressive when they believe it will increase
their social standing. It can also be cathartic, allowing us to let of steam.
Aggression also increases when:

You think you are safe from response.

The other person deliberately acts against you.

You hurt, physically or emotionally (not necessarily caused by the other person).

You have been drinking alcohol or taking other stimulants.

Testosterone is present.

There was aggression in your early life.

You think you are getting less than you deserve.

You have been attacked and are defending or responding.

You blame your victim and then take further revenge.

You watched a lot of violence on TV, especially when you were a child.

Seeing violence, whether it is real-life or via the media gives legitimacy, teaches people how to
do it and desensitizes them to the horrors.

Research
Phillips (1983, 1986) found that homicides increased after a well-publicized boxing match. When
white boxers lost, more white men were killed, and vice versa.

So What?
Using it
Feign aggression in order to get short-term immediate response.
If you really do feel aggressive, take a break to cool down. Otherwise you'll likely do something
you regret later.

Defending
Severe punishment usually requires significant aggression and does not reduce it. It is more
effective to use the threat of mild punishment.

Give people space to vent their frustrations by such as competitive sports. Even letting them say
I am angry will help. Apology also reduces anger. Teach them empathy. Be a model nonaggressive person.
Apologize (even it if is not your fault). Say that it will not happen again. Empathize with their
pain (but not with their aggression or aggressive acts). Show that you are human (defend
against them dehumanizing you).

Ambiguity Effect
Description
When people make choices, sometimes they have a good understanding of the probability of
something happening whilst other times the situation is ambiguous, whereby the probability of
the event is unknown. In such situations, people are more likely to choose the former situation,
preferring a known probability over an unknown probability.
Taking a decision on something that may not happen is a risk. When the probability is unknown
this can increase the sense of discomfort beyond even that of a known low probability.

Example
I know that there is at best a moderate chance of my winning a local singing competition as the
local singers are good. There is a competition in the next town but I do not know how good the
singers are there. Rather than 'risk it' I just enter for the local competition.

So What?
Using it
To get people to choose an option, ensure they have a view on how likely it is to succeed for
them. To dissuade them from other options, show that little is known about the chances of
success there.

Defending
Try assessing the probability range for ambiguous choices.

Amplification Hypothesis
Description
Displaying certainty about an attitude when talking with another person will act to increase and
harden that attitude. When the attitude displayed is more uncertain, then it will act to soften the
attitude.
Using an emotional attack on a cognitive attitude will increase resistance, whilst a cognitive
attack will be more effective. The same effect happens in reverse, where a logical argument has
little impact on a person who is emotional whilst an emotional argument is more powerful.

Research
Clarkson, Tbormala and Rucker found that increasing attitude certainty strengthened attitudes
and increased resistance to persuasion when the attitudes was univalent but weakened them
when they were ambivalent.

Example

A cleric wants to persuade another towards a religion. When the target person states opposing
beliefs, the cleric shows vague agreement. When the person states better beliefs, the cleric
becomes more confirmatory.

So What?
Using it
To persuade another person, align your projected attitude with theirs. If you are non-aligned you
will only act to create resistance.

Defending
To put off a persuader, mis-match their attitudes. When they are logical, be emotional, and vice
versa.

Anchoring and Adjustment Heuristic


Description
We tend to base estimates and decisions on known anchors or familiar positions, with an
adjustment relative to this start point. We are better at relative thinking than absolute thinking.

The Primacy Effect and anchoring may combine, for example if a list of possible sentences given
to a jury, they will be anchored by the first option.

Research
Englich and colleagues found that even judges can be influenced by this. Some judges had to
imagine a sentence being greater or less than one year, whilst others were asked whether the
sentence would be more or less than three years. In later imaginary sentencing, the judges
were clearly influenced by the earlier anchoring.

Example
If asked whether the population of Turkey was greater or less than 30 million, you might give
one or other answer. If then asked what you thought the actual population was, you would very
likely guess somewhere around 30 million, because you have been anchored by the previous
answer.

So What?
Using it
If a negotiation starts with one party suggesting a price or condition, then the other party is
likely to base their counter-offer relative to this given anchor. So start a good way from your real
position (but beware of over-doing this). When giving choices, put the ones you want them to
choose at the beginning.

Defending
If the other person makes the first bid, do not assume that this is close to their final price.

Anticipatory regret/Regret Theory


Description
People know that when they make a decision they will feel regret if they make the wrong
decision. They thus take this anticipated regret into account when they decide.
This is probably what makes them loss-averse.
When thinking ahead, they may experienceanticipatory regret, as they realize that they may
regret in the future. This can be a powerful dissuader or create a specific motivation to do one
thing in order to avoid something else.

Example
When I go to buy a car, I am so terrified of buying a heap of junk, I read many magazines and
ask lots of knowledgeable friends first. And I listen to their advice rather than buying the car
that I think looks the nicest.

So what?
Using it
Remind the other person of what they may lose if they do not agree with you. Show what they
may regret.

Defending
Remember to anticipate the joy of gain. Be realistic about gains and losses.

Appraisal Theory
Description
Things happen. We appraise them, assessing them against various criteria. We then feel
emotions based on those appraisals.
We do this in real-time, appraising and feeling as we go. We also do in reflectively, thinking
further about what has happened and what may happen. When we think of the past or future we
hence may feel good or bad about it.
Primary appraisal is an assessment of how significant an event is for a person, including whether
it is a threat or opportunity. Secondary appraisal then considers one's ability to cope or take
advantage of the situation.
A structural model of appraisal describes the relationships between:

Perception: The environment and the person's perception of this

Appraisal: The person's appraisal processes that evaluate the perceived environment
in terms of values on a set of measures called appraisal dimensions.

Mediation: The processes that relate appraisal values to the person's emotions.

A process model of appraisal describes the detail of cognitive operations, mechanisms and
dynamics by which the appraisal happens. In other words, the structural model is the static map
and the process model is the dynamic operation.
This is a cognitive approach to understanding emotions. Other theories view emotion as more
reactive, without the opportunity to think. Indeed, we sometimes do not get the chance to think,
for example when a fierce creature leaps out at us and we react with animal instinct that shortcircuits the slower cortical appraisal. However, such reactive emotion is not necessarily how we
feel in all situations.

Originated in the 1940s by Magda Arnold, research was taken up in the 1970s by Richard
Lazarus.
Appraisal Theory is a Cognitive Appraisal Theory. It is also known as Lazarus Theory, after the
originator.

Example
I see someone running towards me. I don't recognize them and feel afraid they may be going
attack me. Then I recognize them as a friend, reappraise the situation and feel a sequence of
relief and joy.

So What?
Using it
Design your interactions with others to create the appraisal and consequent emotions that you
desire in them. You can also work backwards from their apparent emotions to discover their
appraisal (maybe also you could ask questions to elicit this).
Reframing is a common way of changing how people appraise and react to the things.

Defending
When you feel something, rather than just reacting quickly reflect on what appraisal you made
that led you to that feeling. If you change the appraisal, you can change how you feel.

Attachment Theory
Description
Infants have a number of component instinctual responses that bind the infant to the mother
and vice versa, including sucking, clinging, and following, as well as the signaling behaviors of
smiling and crying. These develop during the first year and continue through life into healthy
adult relationships.
When attached people (attachment figures) are separated three phases of separation response
appear:

Protest (related to separation anxiety)

Despair (related to grief and mourning)

Denial or Detachment (related to defence mechanisms, especially repression)

Secure attachment is significantly related to maternal sensitivity. If the mother does not feel
attached then the infant will not show secure attachment behavior.
Note that two-way attachment is not the same as one-way dependency. An affectional bond may
be one-way (eg. child to parent figure) or two-way (eg. a married couple) and leads to the
person seeking to be physically close to the particular person to which they are attached. If they
are separated, the person feels sadness and distress.
As children develop, so does their motivational style going from fixed action patterns to to
complex plan hierarchies with various sub-goals and ongoing goal correction.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Bowlby studied both attachment and loss, as the breaking of an
attachment leads to a reversal in an equivalent sense of loss, which can have a deeply
depressive effect.

Research
Ainsworths research with many mothers and children showed three infant attachment patterns:

Securely attached infants cried little and seemed content to explore in the presence
of mother;

Insecurely attached infants cried frequently, even when held by their mothers, and
explored little

Not-yet attached infants manifested no differential behavior to the mother.

Babies whose mothers had been highly responsive to crying during the early months now tended
to cry less, relying for communication on facial expressions, gestures, and vocalizations. Those
whose mothers had provided much tender holding during the first quarter sought contact less
often during the fourth quarter.

So What?
Using attachment theory in psychotherapy is the reappraisal of inadequate, outdated working
models of self in relation to attachment figures. This is a particularly difficult task if important
others, especially parents, have forbidden their review.
A person with inadequate and rigid working models of attachment relations is likely to impose
these models on interactions with the therapist -- which is that something that the therapist
must beware, of course.

Using it
Understand the other person's attachment style and hence create attachment with them using
subtle use of primitive connection mechanisms.

Defending
When others attempt to attach with you, watch for the methods they use and make a conscious,
rather than unconscious, decision whether or not to respond.

Attachment Style
Description
People attach themselves to others in different ways, possibly based on very early parental
relationships. These include:

Secure Attachment Style: Trusting, without concerns for abandonment, feeling selfworth and being liked.

Avoidant Attachment Style: Suppression of needs due to repeated rejection.


Difficulty in forming intimate relationships.

Anxious/Ambivalent Attachment Style: Worry that others will not reciprocate


intimacy. Caused by inconsistent experiences.

Perhaps unexpectedly, secure people sustain longer and more fulfilling relationships.
Heterosexual partners are often chosen from those with the same attachment style as the
opposite-sex parent.

Research
Hazan and Shaver (1987) surveyed adults and found 56% were secure, 25% avoidant and 19%
Anxious.

So What?
Using it
To build a relationship play the parent role, supporting the anxious and coaxing avoidant people.
You can even play anxious yourself to give secure people someone to coddle.

Defending
Know your own style, perhaps by looking at your opposite-sex parent. Do not let your style get
in the way of what you want. Get therapy or otherwise shed harmful styles.

Attitude
Description
Attitudes are:

Predispositions towards action.

About or towards people and things.

Evaluative of people, objects and ideas.

Made up of emotional reactions (affective), thoughts and beliefs (cognitive), and


actions (behavioral) components.

Strength of attitude increases with accessibility and knowledge about the topic in question.
Attitudes are often learned from other people and are often a defining characteristic of groups.
It can also be genetic. A strong attitude is very resistant to change.
Attitudes are often shown through deliberate signals. As such, they act as warning systems
which allow other people to avoid conflict or making a social faux pas.
Attitudes are most easily changed through social influence and cognitive dissonance.

So What?

Using it
To change attitude, spot and match the balance of affective/cognitive/behavioral components,
especially in the persons self-image. Where there is affective attention, offer emotional
arguments. For cognitive listeners, use a rational argument. For the behaviorally focused, do
something.

Resisting
Understand your own attitudes and how they appear to other people. When changing your
attitude in the company of other people, notice what is causing the change. If one person in
particular seems to be pressing your buttons, stop being a puppet. If you cannot stop yourself,
leave the room.

Attitude-Behavior Consistency
Description
Our attitudes (predispositions to behavior) and actual behaviors are more likely to align if the
following factors are true:

Our attitude and behavior are both constrained to very specific circumstances.

There have been many opportunities to express attitude through behavior.

We have a history of attitude-behavior consistency.

The attitudes are based on personal experience, rather than being copied from
others.

The attitudes are proven by past experience.

There is no social desirability bias, where the presence of others will lead us into
uncharacteristic behavior.

We are low in self-monitoring, so we do not distract

The attitude is strongly held and is around core beliefs.

So What?
Using it
If you want people to behave in a certain way, check out the above list before assuming their
attitude will actually lead to the desired behavior.

Defending
Beware of causing confusion and sending mixed messages if you act outside of your visible
attitudes.

Attribution Theory
Description

We all have a need to explain the world, both to ourselves and to other people,
attributing causeto the events around us. This gives us a greater sense of control. When
explaining behavior, it can affect the standing of people within a group (especially ourselves).
When another person has erred, we will often useinternal attribution, saying it is due to internal
personality factors. When we have erred, we will more likely use external attribution, attributing
causes to situational factors rather than blaming ourselves. And vice versa. We will attribute our
successes internally and the successes of our rivals to external luck. When a football team wins,
supporters say we won. But when the team loses, the supporters say they lost.
Our attributions are also significantly driven by our emotional and motivational drives. Blaming
other people and avoiding personal recrimination are very real self-serving attributions. We will
also make attributions to defend what we perceive as attacks. We will point to injustice in an
unfair world. People with a high need to avoid failure will have a greater tendency to make
attributions that put themselves in a good light.
We will even tend to blame victims (of us and of others) for their fate as we seek to distance
ourselves from thoughts of suffering the same plight.
We will also tend to ascribe less variability to other people than ourselves, seeing ourselves as
more multifaceted and less predictable than others. This may well because we can see more of
what is inside ourselves (and spend more time doing this).
In practice, we often tend to go through a two-step process, starting with an automatic internal
attribution, followed by a slower consideration of whether an external attribution is more
appropriate. As with Automatic Believing, if we are hurrying or are distracted, we may not get to
this second step. This makes internal attribution more likely than external attribution.

Research
Roesch and Amirkham (1997) found that more experienced athletes made less self-serving
external attributions, leading them to find and address real causes and hence were better able
to improve their performance.

So What?
Using it
Beware of losing trust by blaming others (i.e. making internal attributions about them). Also
beware of making excuses (external attributions) that lead you to repeat mistakes and leads to
Cognitive Dissonance in others when they are making internal attributions about you.

Defending
Watch out for people making untrue attributions.

Automatic Believing
Description
People initially believe everything they see and hear ('seeing is believing'), but then rapidly
assess whether it is true or not and consequently reject or continue to believe things. This
assessment and decision takes time and energy, so the more tired people get or more distracted
by other things, the more they are likely to believe false information.

Research
Gilbert, Tafarodi and Malone (1993) asked people to read crime reports and recommend prison
sentences, including some false statements which were marked in red to indicate them as such.
In normal situations, they were not affected by the false statements. However, when they were
overloaded by additional work, the false statements affected their judgment.

So What?
Using it
Persuade people when they are tired distracted. Make then tired by spending a long time with
them in exhausting activities, physical or mental. Distract them by giving them a lot of
information or points of special interest and then slipping in the thing you really want them to
believe.

Defending
Do not make commitments when you are tired or distracted. Watch out for people trying to
persuade you during such times when you cannot give the matter your full and proper attention.

Augmenting Principle
Description
When making a decision, each piece of evidence we glean will add in some way towards our
decision. But when does additional evidence have a disproportionate effect?
Evidence has a disproportionate incremental effect when it is unexpected, when it goes against
what is normal.
The discounting principle works in the opposite way, when we ignore evidence that we
expected.

Example
A person who gets a high grade in a university history examination may be considered clever.
But if you are told that the person is only 16, you may well consider them extremely clever. And
if they were already a professor, you would be singularly unimpressed.

So What?
Using it
When giving evidence to support an argument, include surprises.

Defending
If you are surprised by an argument, wonder why. Are they trying deliberately to shock you in to
a decision?

Availability Heuristic
Description
We make a judgment based on what we can remember, rather than complete data. In particular,
we use this for judging frequency or likelihood of events.
Because we remember recent experiences or reports, then the news has a significant effect on
our decisions. After a news feature about a rape case, many women will be more nervous about
going out alone at night. We have thus beenprimed by the news, increasing the accessibility of
this information.
Various factors can affect availability. Things which are easier to imagine, for example if they are
very vivid makes themselves more available. Things which are uncomfortable to think about can
push people into denial, making these thoughts unavailable. This may also be why we can seem
egocentric: because our own experiences are more available to us.

Research
Schwartz (1991) asked some people for six examples when they had been assertive (most could
think of six). He then asked other people for twelve examples, which few people could think of.
He then asked both how assertive they were. The six people scored themselves higher because
their available data had a greater proportion of being assertive.

So What?
Using it
Make those things which you want the person to use for decision-making (perhaps at a later
date) vivid and very easy to bring to mind, for example with repetition and visual language.
Make those things that you do not want them to use vague, abstract, complex or uncomfortable.

Defending
When making important decisions, pause and think why you are deciding as you are. Is it
because of information you have recently received? Who from? Why did they give it to you?

Balance theory/Consistency Theory


Description
When our inner systems (beliefs, attitudes, values, etc.) all support one another and when these
are also supported by external evidence, then we have a comfortable state of affairs. The
discomfort of cognitive dissonance occurs when things fall out of alignment, which leads us to
try to achieve a maximum practical level of consistency in our world.

We also have a very strong need to believe we are being consistent with social norms. When
there is conflict between behaviors that are consistent with inner systems and behaviors that are
consistent with social norms, the potential threat of social exclusion often sways us towards the
latter, even though it may cause significant inner dissonance.
Ways we achieve consistency between conflicting items include:

Denial or ignoring : 'I didn't see it happen.'

Rationalization and excuses : 'It was going to fall anyway.'

Separation of items :'I don't use my car enough to make a difference .'

Transcendence : 'Nobody is perfect.'

Changing item : 'I'll be more careful next time.'

Persuasion : 'I'm good, really, aren't I?'

Example
If you make a promise, you will feel bad if you do not keep it.

So what?
Using it
Highlight where people are acting inconsistently with beliefs, etc. that support your arguments.
Show how what you want is consistent with the other persons inner systems and social norms.

Defending
You will always be inconsistent in some areas. When changing to fit in with the inconsistencies
that someone else is pointing out, think about the other, potentially more serious,
inconsistencies that you will be opening up.

Barnum Effect/Personal Validation Fallacy


Description
When asked to assess the accuracy of general words that supposedly describe our personality,
we tend to score them as highly accurate. This is particularly true if they are positive and show
us in a good light (although an occasional 'incisive' criticism can be very powerful).
This effect increases if we trust the source of the 'analysis' and believe that it is customized just
for us.
This also works when we are asked to give or choose words that describe ourselves, where we
tend to use sweeping generalisms that could describe many other people.
The personal validation fallacy is also called theForer effect, after its originator. It is also called
the Barnum effect, after the old Barnum circus, because of the way that fortune tellers will
amaze us with their accuracy by using broad terms based on a simple assessment of us.

Research
Forer gave students a 'personality test' and then gave them all the same general analysis, based
on an combination of horoscopes. He then asked them to rate the accuracy of the analysis, from
1 (inaccurate) to 5 (accurate). They gave an average score of 4.26.

Example
When did you last read a newspaper horoscope about you and thought it quite accurate? If you
had read the other horoscopes, you might also have found that they seemed quite accurate too.

So What?
Using it
Use general terms to show you understanding of others and build trust and rapport with them.

Defending
Beware of personality assessments that use rather general descriptions. Read those for other
people and share your own to check that yours works for you only.

Belief Bias
Description
People will tend to accept any and all conclusions that fit in with their systems of belief, without
challenge or any deep consideration of what they are actually agreeing with.
The reverse is also true, and people will tend to reject assertions that do not fit in with their
belief systems, even though these statements may be perfectly logical and arguably possible.
This is particularly true when people ignore the premises and focus solely on the conclusions
being drawn.
It is even more true of people who are not educated in logic and argumentation, as such people
reason by experience and not at all by logic.

Research
Luria (1976) asked illiterate farmers in Central Asia to reason deductively, giving them
statements like: "In the far north, where there is snow, all bears are white. Novaga Zamlya is in
the far north. What color are the bears there?"
The responses were such as, "I don't know...I've seen a black bear, but not others. Each area
has it's own type of animals, you know..."

Example

I will accept that some good ice skaters are not professional hockey players, but will reject an
assertion that some professional hockey players are not good ice skaters (which, although it
seems unlikely, is possible).

So What?
Using it
Do not try to persuade people with pure logic when you are talking about things that are outside
their beliefs.
The converse is also true: If you argue within their belief system then you can persuade them of
things that are not strictly true.

Defending
When you are listening to arguments of others, think not only whether something 'makes sense'
- think also with a cold logic as to whether it is possible or true.

Belief Perseverance
Description
Once we have decided that we believe something, we will tend to keep on believing it, even in
the face of disconfirming evidence.
Particularly if other people know of our belief, it can be embarrassing to climb down from our
previous assertions. It is also difficult to remove a belief which has been woven into a wider web
of belief, without disturbing those other beliefs.

Research
Ross, Lepper and Hubbard (1975) asked experimental participants to look at suicide notes to
determine which were real. A third each of the participants were told that they were right 10, 17
and 24 out of 25 times. They were then told that they had been lied to and asked to estimate
more correctly. Those who had been told higher numbers continued to guess high.

So What?
Using it
Do not get people to describe their beliefs publicly if you want to change them.
Get people to describe the beliefs you want them to keep publicly.

Defending
Pay attention to evidence. Avoid skipping past what you see just because you have already
concluded something.

Below-Average Effect
Description
For some people and in some situations, we believe that we are somewhat below average in
ability.
People with low self-esteem or who are in a depressed state may perceive things in this way.
This effect also happens for particular abilities and situations, where people say 'Oh, I can't do
that', for example juggling or diving, where the reality is that with a few lessons they could be
as good as most people.
This effect may also appear when people are risk-averse and are seeking to minimize losses.
One benefit of believing that you are worse than average is that you can excuse yourself from
ever trying.
The below-average effect is also known as theWorse-than-average effect.

Example
A person believes they are really bad at singing and could never learn. They rate themselves a
real dunce at singing.

So What?
Using it
Frame something that you do not want others to try as being impossibly difficult. Talk about the
risks and potential losses.

Defending
Do not discount your abilities. You can do more than you realize.

Ben Franklin Effect


Description
When we do a person a favor, we tend to like them more as a result. This is because we justify
our actions to ourselves that we did them a favorbecause we liked them.
Benjamin Franklin himself said, "He that has once done you a kindness will be more ready to do
you another than he whom you yourself have obliged."
The reverse effect is also true, and we come to hate our victims, which helps to explain wartime
atrocities. We de-humanize the enemy, which decrease the dissonance of killing and other things
in which we would never normally indulge.

Research
Jecker and Landy (1969) involved students in an intellectual contest where they could win
significant money. Afterwards:

A: 1/3 were approached by the researcher and asked to return money as he had
been using his own funds and was running short.

B: 1/3 were approached by a secretary and asked to return money as it was from
the psychology department and funds were low.

C: 1/3 were not approached.

Then all were surveyed to see how much they liked the researcher. Group B rated him lower
than Group C (so impersonal request for a favordecreases liking). Group A rated him higher than
group C (so personal request for a favor increasesliking).

So what?

Using it
Ask people to do you a small favor. Dont return it immediately.

Defending
When people ask you for favors, watch out for feeling better about them.

Bias blind spot


Description
We often know that people have biases. If we think about it, we also realize that we also use
bias in our decisions, yet we still do not compensate sufficiently for our biases.
In particular, we will consider ourselves as being relatively unbiased compared with others.

Research
Pronin, Lin and Ross described how we are biased to a set of people, and yet they still used that
bias in decisions, for example they rated peers and other Americans as having significantly more
bias than themselves.

Example

I take an IQ test which shows myself as having a lower IQ. I believe it wrong. I find more
credible the results from another test which shows me as having a very high IQ, even though I
know the test is less valid.

So What?
Using it
Use the effects of bias in persuasion - even if people know this, they will still be biased.

Defending
Think twice about your biases. Be honest with yourself, and especially if someone seems to be
using your bias blindness against you.

Bias Correction
Description

When we believe we are showing bias (or are likely to do so), our efforts to neutral easily end up
with us displaying bias in the opposite direction.
In this way, people who are trying to be 'politically correct' end up breaking their own rules of
equality.
Another difficult situation where bias correction occurs is where juries actually either put extra
emphasis on evidence that is ruled inadmissible or over-compensate in the opposite direction.

Research
Petty et al (1998) asked subjects to avoid letting their biases about an unpleasant person
influence their judgements of the person's persuasive efforts. The subjects ended up being more
persuaded by the person's efforts than when they were presented by a likeable person.

Example
A manager who has a new disabled member of staff working for them, and is concerned to treat
them fairly, ends up spending more time with that person than with other members of staff and
also is more lenient with them during personal performance assessments. This does not help the
relationship that the disabled person has with other people in the department.

So What?
Using it
To get a person to offer bias towards a person or argument, tell them that they are being biased
against from the person or argument. Indicate that this is a bad thing.

Defending
When you know you may show bias or overcompensate in the opposite direction, pause to
consider objectively if you are truly being neutral. If in doubt, as somebody else.

Biased sampling
Description
When we need to make a decision and when we have very little real information about the
subject in question, we will blithely base our decision on that very limited and hence biased
sample.
For example, if we go to a restaurant for one meal and then someone asks us what the
restaurant is like, we will give an authoritative pronouncement, based on that single experience.

Research
Hamill, Wilson and Nisbett (1980) gave people a hardship story about a woman on welfare.
Some they told she was typical of people on welfare, others that she was atypical and to others
(control group) they said nothing. Both those who were told she was typical and atypical rated
her as less likely than the control group.

Example
An early political poll in the 1930s was to select random names from car owners and telephone
directories. But only richer people had these, so the results were biased (and hugely incorrect).

So what?
Using it
To help someone else decide in your favor, constrain and control the information available to
them.

Defending
Beware of deciding on small samples, especially if they come from a single and possibly suspect
source.

Bounded Rationality
Description
We are, to some extent, rational beings in that we will try to logically understand things and
make sensible choices.
However, the world is large and complex, and we do not have the capacity to understand
everything. We also have a limited time in which to make decisions. We are also limited by
theschemas we have and other decisional limitations.
Harder problems require more thinking, increasing the cognitive load. If there is too much to
think about this causes cognitive overload as we try to cope.
As a result, many of our decisions are not fully thought through and we can only be rational
within the limits of time and cognitive capability. Herbert Simon indicated that there were thus
two major causes of bounded rationality:

Limitations of the human mind

The structure within which the mind operates

This impacts decision models that assume us to be fully rational. For example when calculating
expected utility, you may be surprised to find that people do not make the best choices.

Example

I choose a new hi-fi system based on reading a few magazines and listening to several friends.
When the sales person offers me a better bargain, I still turn it down.

So what?
Using it
Either play within the bounds of rationality by giving the other person few choices and limited
criteria, or break their existing bounds by showing how these are ineffective (then help them set
up cognitive camp elsewhere).

Defending
When you make a decision, pause to reflect whether what seems rational is adequate. As
necessary, test your decision with other people. Do not be hurried into a decision by others.

Buffer Effect of Social Support


Description
People who feel supported by others feel less stress. If you know your friends will support you
and there is someone with whom you can talk things through, somehow stressful situations are
more tolerable.

Research
Nucholls, Callell and Kaplin (1972) investigated complications in pregnant women suffering
different levels of stress. They found that 91% with high stress and low social support suffered

complications, compared with only 33% had complications who also had high stress but did have
social support.

Example
Terminally ill people who join support groups are likely to live longer.

So what?
Using it
Make sure you have social support. If you want to coerce the other person, try to remove their
social support, for example by enticing their friends away from them.

Defending
Keep talking with different groups of friends. Ensure they continue to support you through
difficult times.

Bystander Effect
Description
When there is an emergency, the more bystanders there are, the less likely it is that any of
them will actually help.
Pluralistic ignorance is where they assume nothing is wrong because nobody else looks
concerned.
Bystanders go through a five-step process, duringeach of which they can decide to do nothing.

Notice the event (or in a hurry and not notice).

Realize the emergency (or assume that as others are not acting, it is not an
emergency).

Assume responsibility (or assume that others will do this).

Know what to do (or not)

Act (or worry about danger, legislation, embarrassment, etc.)

Research
Latan and Darley sat a series of college students in a cubicle amongst a number of other
cubicles in which there were tapes of other students playing (the student thought they were real
people). One of the voices cries for help and makes sounds of severe choking. When the student
thought they were the only person there, 85% rushed to help. When they thought there was
one other person, this dropped to 65%. And when they thought there were four other people,
this dropped again to 31%.
They also faked epileptic seizures on the streets of New York and found that when there was
only one bystander, they were helped 85% of the time, but when there were five bystanders,
help came only in 30% of these trials.

Example
A famous case occurred in the early 1960, where Kitty Genovese was attacked and eventually
murdered over a 45 minute period during which 38 people witnessed the attack and did not lift a
finger to help in any way.
This was caused partially by social proof, whereby when people are uncertain, they look to other
people as to what to do. It can also be caused by people losing themselves in the crowd and
assuming a smaller share of the responsibility, expecting others to help in their stead.

So what?
Using it
If you want someone to do something, ask them specifically (by name) or make sure they
cannot assume that somebody else will do it. You can also set an example and ask for
collaboration.

Defending
If you think somebody else should be doing what you have been asked to do, question the
motives of the person asking you (even ask why they are not doing it themselves!).

Cannon-Bard Theory of Emotion


Description
When a stimulating event happens, we feel emotions and physiological changes (such as
muscular tension, sweating, etc.) at the same time.
The sequence thus is as follows:
Event ==> Simultaneous arousal and emotion
In neurobiological terms, the thalamus receives a signal and relays this both to the amygdala,
which is connected with emotion. The body then gets signals via the autonomic nervous system
to tense muscles, etc.
This was a refutation of the James-Lange theory (which proposed that emotions followed
arousal) by Cannon and Bard in the late 1920s.

Example
I see a bear. I feel afraid. I tense in readiness to run away.

So what?
Using it
Watch for emotions as displayed in physiological signals.

Cautious Shift/Risky Shift Phenomenon


Description
When people are in groups, they make decision about risk differently from when they are alone.
In the group, they are likely to make riskier decisions, as the shared risk makes the individual
risk less.
They also may not want to let their compatriots down, and hence be risk-averse (this is
sometimes called cautious shift). The overall tendency towards a shift in risk perception is also
sometimes called choice shift.
There are a number of reasons as to why this might happen. Theories have included:

Wallach, Kogan, and Bem (1964) proposed that greater risks are chosen due to a
diffusion of responsibility, where emotional bonds decrease anxieties and risk is
perceived as shared.

Collins and Guetzkow (1964) suggested that high risk-takers are more confident and
hence may persuade others to take greater risks.

Brown (1965) indicates that social status in groups is often associated with risktaking, leading people to avoid a low risk position.

Bateson (1966) suggests that as people pay attention to a possible action, they
become more familiar and comfortable with it and hence perceive less risk.

Research
Myers and Bishop (1970) put highly prejudiced students together to discuss racial issues. They
became even more prejudiced. The reverse happened with unprejudiced students, who became
even more unprejudiced.

Example
Entire football teams sometime get into aggressive or defensive moods as they either throw
caution to the winds trying to score or desperately try to avoid being caught out.
Juries given weak evidence will become very lenient after discussion, whilst when given strong
evidence they are likely to give harsh judgment.

So what?
Using it
Show the other person how other people are making the same decision. Frame the risk as
individually less.

Defending
Make decisions on your own. Shared risk is still the same risk.

Central Route/Elaboration Likelihood Model


Description
There are two ways we make decisions and hence get persuaded:

When we are motivated and able to pay attention, we take a logical, conscious
thinking, central route to decision-making. This can lead to permanent change in our
attitude as we adopt and elaborate upon the speakers arguments.

In other cases, we take the peripheral route. Here we do


persuasive arguments but are swayed instead by surface
whether we like the speaker. In this case although we do
(although it is to a state where we may be susceptible to

not pay attention to


characteristics such as
change, it is only temporary
further change).

One of the best ways motivating people to take the central route is to make the message
personally relevant to them. Fear can also be effective in making them pay attention, but only if
it is moderate and a solution is also offered. Strong fear will just lead to fight-or-flight reactions.
The central route leads to consideration of both arguments for and against and a choice is
carefully considered.
People are more motivated to use the central route when the issue has personal relevance to
them. Some people have a higher need for cognition, deliberately thinking about more things
than people with a lower need. These people with a higher need for cognition are more likely to
choose the central route.
When they are feeling good, they will want to sustain this and will avoid focusing on things that
might bring them down again, so they take a more cursory, peripheral route. People in a
negative or neutral mood are more likely to take the central route.
In practice, this is more of a spectrum than a bipolar model. We may increasingly notice and
consider evidence or steadily let events act simply as cues to automatic responses.

So what?
Using it
To effect longer-term changes in attitude, use the central route. For simple compliance, use the
peripheral route.
If you have their attention, be logical and present a compelling argument. If, however, they are
not really paying attention to you (and you can deliberately distract them), put them in a good
mood (eg. with a joke) then use subtle cues such as attractive clothes and leading statement.
Then quickly lead them one more step at a time to where you want them to be.

Defending
Learn to pay attention to how you are making decisions. In particular, pause when you are about
to make a commitment (and especially if it means signing a legal document). Think back about
how you made your decision. Was it reasoned, or did you somehow seem to arrive at the point
of commitment without much conscious thought (perhaps being distracted by the other person)?

Certainty Effect
Description
When an outcome is certain and it becomes less probable, this has a greater impact than when
the outcome was merely probable before the probability was reduced by the same amount. Thus
100% - 10% = 90% has more psychological impact than 50% - 10% = 40%.
There is also a pseudo-certainty effect, where the certainty is only perceived.
Overall, this works because of our preference for absolutes and our inability to really understand
the meaning of the difference between different probabilities. To most people, 70%, 80% and
90% all mean the same: not certain, but fairly likely. Thus we would rather eliminate risk rather
than reduce it.

Research
Kahneman and Tversky (1979) asked students to evaluate insurance costing only 50% of
normal, but which would only pay out in 50% of cases (though their premium would be refunded
if they did not get the payout). 80% of students chose to refuse the insurance.

Example
Most people would pay more to remove the only bullet in the gun in a game of Russian Roulette
than they would to remove one bullet when there were four in the gun.

So what?

Using it
Instead of offering four for the price of three, offer one free with three purchased. The zero price
has greater certainty.

Defending
Beware of making decisions based on absolutes. Distinguish the real difference between 80%
and 90%.

Charismatic Terms/Ultimate Terms


Description
There are words which have special meaning within each culture and carry power where they
are used.

God terms carry blessings, demand sacrifice and obedience. E.g. progress, value.

Devil terms are reviled and evoke disgust. E.g. fascist, pedophile.

Charismatic Terms are not like God and Devil terms, which are associated with
observable things. These terms are more intangible. E.g. freedom, contribution.

These terms can change, and God or Charisma terms that are over-used can turn into Devil
terms.

They are also sometimes called power words, especially by sales people. Words used in sales
often appeal to basic needs, such as:

Safety: guarantee, proven

Control: powerful, strong

Understanding: because, as, so, truth, real

Greed: money, cash, save, win, free, more

Health: safe, healthy, well

Belonging: belong, happy, good, feel

Esteem: exclusive, only, admired

Identity: you, (their name), we

Novelty: new, discover

Negative words are also used in this context to scare people into action. These often address
those self-same needs, but now from the opposite direction:

Safety: dangerous,

Control: uncertain, scarce

Understanding: change, complicated

Greed: lose, stolen

Health: unhealthy, sick, old

Belonging: wrong, alone, rejected

Esteem: ridicule, laughed at

Identity: they, he

Novelty: outdated, unfashionable

Example
Quality was a God term in many companies during the TQM era of the early 1990s. Then it
became a Devil term as those companies got it wrong and needed to blame something.

So what?
Using it
Know the terms, and employ them well. Misuse them at your peril. There are many crass
advertisements that beat ultimate terms to death. To be effective, they must be subtle, and
done with a light touch. If the listener/reader realizes what you are trying to do, not only will
this take the effectiveness out of the words, it will also cause a negative reaction.

Defending
Listen to the use of ultimate terms. Where people are abusing them, let them know you know. If
necessary, expose their trickery

Choice-supportive bias
Description
When we recall a past decision, we distort memories to make the choices we made appear to be
the best that could be made.
Thus when we have selected from a set of options, we will attribute more positive and less
negative attributes to the option we have chosen (and vice versa for options we rejected).
As a result, we feel good about ourselves and our choices and have less regret for bad decisions.
Older people tend more towards this bias.

Example
I buy a car, based on a set of criteria I have developed. Later, I am sure that the car I bought
passed more criteria than it actually did.

Research
Mather, Shafir and Johnson gave subjects a choice between two job candidates, each of which
had four positive and four negative attributes. When later asked to recall the attributes of these,
the subjects recalled more positive attributes of their choice and more negative attributes of the
candidate they had rejected.

So What?
Using it
Get people to make choices early on that they will use in the main point you want them to
choose. Make these choices easy to make in the direction to support your later choice.

Defending
Think hard when recalling a choice, to remember the real reasons for your choice.

Choice Theory/Control Theory


Description
We have a deep need for control that itself, paradoxically, controls much of our lives. The
endless effort to control can lead us to be miserable as we fail in this impossible task of trying to
control everything and everyone around us.
The alternative is to see the world as a series of choices, which is why Glasser later renamed
Control Theory asChoice Theory. Control theory was also taken up by Wiener in his study of
cybernetics and other behaviorists.
A principle of direct control theory is that of negative feedback, where outcomes are compared
with intent (or 'goals') and consequently used to moderate actions until intent is optimally
achieved. (The 'negative' in the feedback is the difference between the intent and the outcome).
An important consequent aspect of control theory is self-regulation. People are seen as
intelligent, goal-driven individuals who control their activities in order to achieve their
objectives, goals and needs.

So what?
Using it
Give people things to control, help them control the things in their path, or threaten their sense
of control.

Defending
Do not try to control everything -- instead see the world as a series of choices.

Classical Conditioning
Description
If a stimulus that results in an emotional response is repeated alongside another stimulus which
does not cause an emotional response, eventually the second stimulus will result in the same
emotional response. Classical Conditioning is thus learning by association.

In more detail, we are pre-conditioned tounconditionally respond in certain ways to stimuli. For
example a sudden noise (an unconditional stimulus, US) makes us flinch (the unconditional
response, UR). If a movement is made at the same time as, or just before the noise, such as
moving hands to clap loudly (conditional stimulus, CS), then the person will learn to flinch when
the movement is made without the noise necessarily being there (the conditional response, CR).
Thus the association is made between the US and CS, with either stimulating the same
response.
Classical Conditioning does not work in all circumstances. In particular it is more effective
where the conditioning may be of evolutionary benefit.

Research
Pavlov did famous experiments with dogs, ringing a bell and then feeding them. After a while,
he could ring the bell and their mouths would salivate.
Garcia and Koelling (1966) showed that rats soon learned to avoid a sweet-tasting liquid when it
was followed by an injection that made them ill, but they did not learn to avoid the liquid when
they received electric shocks afterwards. Presumably this is connected with learning what foods
they could safely eat. The rats did, however, learn to avoid the electric shock when it was paired
with light and noise (but injection+light/noise failed). Maybe this is related to learning about
natural hazards like lightning or falling objects.

Example
I liked my aunt, she always made me feel warm and wanted. She always wore a particular
perfume. When I smell the perfume now, I immediately feel warm and wanted.

So what?
Using it
If you want to persuade someone to do something, get them to do it at the same time as doing
something they like doing.
Do something specific every time they do something you want (like touching them somewhere
or making a specific sound). Then do that specific thing and they'll think of doing the desired
behavior.

Defending
Watch out for people repeatedly touching you or having strange behaviors. Check that they're
not trying to program you.

Clustering Illusion
Description
We often see patterns where they do not exist.
This is particularly true of gamblers who desperately try to 'beat the system' by seeing patterns
of events in cards and other games of chance.
We are 'pattern machines' and recognize people and things from their overall pattern rather than
full detail. This is very useful, but it does also mean we can see patterns where there are none.

Research
Gilovich, Vallone and Tversky investigated the myth of the 'hot hand' in basketball where players
are supposed to have winning streaks. It turned out that it was all random patterns.

Example
Is 'OXXXOXXXOXXOOOXOOXXOO' random? Or can you see patterns? Many could, yet it is
almost perfectly random.

So What?
Using it
Use patterns of events in your persuasive pitch. People will likely cotton on and believe you.

Defending
Think hard before betting on any apparent pattern, especially if somebody else is selling it to
you.

Coercion
Description
This is the acting to change a persons behavior, even when they do not wish to do so. Coercive
methods work mostly be threat or bribery. Both use extrinsic motivation with the message do
this and you will get that.
Threats can be for new action that is painful, such as physical or psychological attack. Threats
can often take the form of denial, such as removal of benefits or prevention from access to a
desired resource.
Social position is very important to us, so rejection from a group or public embarrassment can
be very serious threats. We can coerce by framing desired behaviors as necessary because of
social rules such as returning favors or adherence to group norms (with implied social rejection
as the threatened punishment).

Example
Parents regularly coerce their children, even physically. Where the line of legitimacy is depends
on your morals and is a topic of heated debate.
At the highest level, war is ultimate coercion between countries.

So what?

Using it
Find what people want or fear, gain control over it, then offer access as a bribe or denial as a
threatened punishment.

Defending
There are four types of defense against coercion.

Stonewall: refuse outright, just saying no.

Identity separation: Refuse on the grounds that it is not the kind of thing I do.

Justification: Show cause and negative effect, saying why you will not comply.

Negotiation: Make counter-offers to allow the other person to achieve their goals.

Cognitive Appraisal Theories of Emotion


Description
In the absence of physiological arousal, we decide what to feel after interpreting or explaining
what has just happened. Two things are important in this: whether we interpret the event as
good or bad for us, and what we believe is the cause of the event.
The sequence thus is as follows:
Event ==> thinking ==> Simultaneousarousal and emotion

This challenges the two-factor separation of arousal and emotion, supporting the Cannon and
Bard theory albeit with the addition of the thinking step.
In primary appraisal, we consider how the situation affects our personal well-being. Insecondary
appraisal we consider how we might cope with the situation.
This is sometimes also called Lazarus Theory orAppraisal Theory.

Example
When a colleague gets promoted, I might feel resentful if I think I deserve the promotion more
than they do.

So what?
Using it
Demonstrate how what you want people to believe or do is good for them, and explain why.

Cognitive Dissonance
Description
This is the feeling of uncomfortable tension which comes from holding two conflicting thoughts in
the mind at the same time.
Dissonance increases with:

The importance of the subject to us.

How strongly the dissonant thoughts conflict.

Our inability to rationalize and explain away the conflict.

Dissonance is often strong when we believe something about ourselves and then do something
against that belief. If I believe I am good but do something bad, then the discomfort I feel as a
result is cognitive dissonance.
Cognitive dissonance is a very powerful motivator which will often lead us to change one or
other of the conflicting belief or action. The discomfort often feels like a tension between the two
opposing thoughts. To release the tension we can take one of three actions:

Change our behavior.

Justify our behavior by changing the conflicting cognition.

Justify our behavior by adding new cognitions.

Dissonance is most powerful when it is about our self-image. Feelings of foolishness, immorality
and so on (including internal projections during decision-making) are dissonance in action.
If an action has been completed and cannot be undone, then the after-the-fact dissonance
compels us to change our beliefs. If beliefs are moved, then the dissonance appears during
decision-making, forcing us to take actions we would not have taken before.
Cognitive dissonance appears in virtually all evaluations and decisions and is the central
mechanism by which we experience new differences in the world. When we see other people
behave differently to our images of them, when we hold any conflicting thoughts, we experience
dissonance.
Dissonance increases with the importance and impact of the decision, along with the difficulty of
reversing it. Discomfort about making the wrong choice of car is bigger than when choosing a
lamp.
Note: Self-Perception Theory gives an alternative view.

Research
Festinger first developed this theory in the 1950s to explain how members of a cult who were
persuaded by their leader, a certain Mrs Keech, that the earth was going to be destroyed on 21st
December and that they alone were going to be rescued by aliens, actually increased their
commitment to the cult when this did not happen (Festinger himself had infiltrated the cult, and
would have been very surprised to meet little green men). The dissonance of the thought of
being so stupid was so great that instead they revised their beliefs to meet with obvious facts:
that the aliens had, through their concern for the cult, saved the world instead.
In a more mundane experiment, Festinger and Carlsmith got students to lie about a boring task.
Those who were paid $1 for the task felt uncomfortable lying.

Example
Smokers find all kinds of reasons to explain away their unhealthy habit. The alternative is to feel
a great deal of dissonance.

So what?
Using it
Cognitive dissonance is central to many forms of persuasion to change beliefs, values, attitudes
and behaviors. The tension can be injected suddenly or allowed to build up over time. People
can be moved in many small jumps or one large one.

Defending
When you start feeling uncomfortable, stop and see if you can find the inner conflict. Then
notice how that came about. If it was somebody else who put that conflict there, you can decide
not to play any more with them.

Cognitive Evaluation Theory


Description
When looking at task, we evaluate it in terms of how well it meets our needs to feel competent
and in control. If we think we will be able to complete the task, we will be intrinsically motivated
to complete the task, requiring no further external motivation.
Where a person has a stronger internal locus of control they will feel they are in control of how
they behave. Where they have a stronger external locus of control, they will believe the
environment or others have a greater influence over what they do.
People may see external rewards as achieving some degree of control over them or may see the
reward as informational, such as where they reinforce feelings of competence and selfdetermination. When people see the reward as mostly for control they will be motivated by
gaining the reward but not by enacting the requested behavior.
Cognitive Evaluation is occasionally also called Self-Perception Theory, although this confuses it
with Bem's Self-Perception Theory.

Example

If you tell me that I have to run for President, I will not exactly throw my heart into the job. If,
however, you tell me how the local council is looking for someone like me, who wants to help in
local schools, then I'll be there before you have finished the sentence!

So what?
When you ask someone to do something, if you want them to be motivated then ensure that it
falls within their current level of competency.

Commitment
Description
A commitment is a public or private decision to act. If we make a commitment, we often feel
bound to follow through on it, for fear of social rejection or simply due to the threat of cognitive
dissonance.
When we are committed to something, we will not change our minds very easily, especially if
that commitment was public.

Research
Knox and Inkster (1968) asked people about to make a $2 bet on a horse how likely they horse
was to win. They also asked people who had just placed the same value bet. They found that
people who had just bet on a horse were even more convinced that it would win.

Example
People who volunteer to help a political party will over-estimate their chances of winning.

So what?
Using it
When getting people to make a commitment, make sure it will cause more dissonance for them
to break the commitment than to fulfill the commitment. For example by making the
commitments written and public.

Defending
Refuse to make commitments until you are ready. Do not be rushed.

Communication Accommodation Theory


Description
When we talk with other people, we will tend to subconsciously change our style of speech
(accent, rate, types of words, etc.) towards the style used by the listener. We also tend to match
non-verbal behaviors.
This signals agreement and liking. It should create greater rapport and them such that they
approve of us more.
This can be unwelcome, especially if it is perceived as aping or being overly familiar.
The reverse also happens: people deliberately assert their identity by speaking and acting
differently from the other person.
Communication Accommodation Theory used to be called Speech Accommodation Theory.

So what?
Using it
Be a chameleon! Copy the other persons modes of speech (but not so much you sound like a
mimic). Also listen to how they are copying you: it may be a signal that they are seeking your
approval.

Defending
If it seems like a person is trying to copy you, change how you are speaking and see if they
follow. If they do, have fun! Try some subtle and weird variations and see if they will follow you
to the ends of the linguistic earth.

Compensation
Description
When we believe other people perceive us in a negative way, we will deliberately act in a way to
disconfirm this belief.

Example
When you first meet people, you may fear that they find you unfriendly, so you act in a way that
is more friendly than you usually are.

So what?
Using it
Infer to a person or otherwise let them know that they are considered greedy. Then ask them
for something that will require them to act in a generous way.

Defending
Be yourself. Avoid getting railroaded by people who tell you that you are what you are not.

Confirmation Bias
Description
When we have made a decision or build a hypothesis, we will actively seek things which will
confirm our decision or hypothesis. We will also avoid things which will disconfirm this. The
alternative is to face the dissonance of being wrong.
We use this approach both for searching our memory and looking for things in the external
world. This has also been called the Positive Test Strategy.
Confirmation bias has also been calledConfirmatory Bias, Myside Bias and Verification Bias.

Research
Snyder and Cantor (1979) gave participants a description of a person called Jane that included
mixed items such as sometimes showing her as introverted and sometimes as extraverted. A
couple of days later, half were asked to assess her for an extraverted job (real estate agent) and
the rest asked to assess her for a librarian's job. Each group were better at remembering the
attributes that supported the job for which they were assessing. This implied they were using a
positive-test strategy when trying to remember things about Jane.

Example
After having bought a piece of clothing, we will look for the same clothing in a more expensive
store to confirm that we have bought a bargain.

This is caused by the post-decisional dissonance between the decision made and the possibility
of being wrong.

So what?
Using it
After having persuaded a person of something, help them feel good by letting them find
examples that confirm their good example.

Defending
After a decision is made, consider whatever evidence you can find, even if it disconfirms the
decisionat least you will make a better decision next time. Also beware of people feeding you
confirming evidence.

Conjunction Fallacy
Description
When two events can occur separately or together, the conjunction, where they overlap, cannot
be more likely than the likelihood of either of the two individual events. However, people forget
this and ascribe a higher likelihood to combination events, erroneously associating quantity of
events with quantity of probability.

Research
Kahneman and Tversky offered the following problem to a number of people:

Linda is 31, single, outspoken and very bright. She majored in philosophy. As a student, she was
deeply concerned with issues of discrimination and social justice and also participated in
antinuclear demonstrations.
They then asked whether she was more likely to be (a) a bank teller, or (b) a bank teller and
active in the feminist movement. 86% answered (b).

Example
If someone says an out-of-stock product in a shop may be in within the next two weeks and it
may be in this week, and it may be in tomorrow, then it seems more likely it will be in sooner
rather than later.

So what?
Using it
When persuading about something that is not guaranteed every time, show how it appears in
several different scenarios.

Defending
Remember your mathematics! Just because something can happen in different circumstances it
does not make it more likely.

Constructivism
Description
We try to make sense of the world by making use of constructs, which are perceptual categories
that we use when evaluating things.
People who have many different and abstract constructs have greater flexibility in understanding
the world and are cognitively complex, whilst others are cognitively simple. Cognitively complex
people are better able to accept both complex and inconsistent messages. They also have a
greater need to understand things and will question deeply anything that is new to them.
However, once persuaded, they stay persuaded and are less likely to change their minds as their
new constructs will support the argument.

Example
Some people have a construct about being fat that says fat people are lazy and greedy. Others
may perceive it as a medical condition.

So what?
Using it
Help cognitively complex people to build new constructs that support your argument. Do not
bother with this detail for the cognitively simple.

Defending
Do not let others take charge when building new constructs.

Contact Hypothesis
Description
This is the principle that bringing people together who are in conflict (or where one is bullying
the other), the conflict will subside as they get to understand one another.
When first tried in such as multi-racial schools, this often failed dramatically. In practice, it
requires other conditions:

Remove conflict: It is not sufficient just to nullify the source of problems, but it is
necessary.

Mutual Interdependence: Where one party can safely pull out, then this position of
power can destroy common understanding.

Equal status: If one party has advantages that the other does not, then this again
unbalances power.

Positive contact: The context for contact between parties must be conducive to
friendly interactions.

Typical contact: The people that are met must be perceived as typical of the other
groups, so that the positive perceptions are generalized to the rest of the population.

Social norms of equality: In the situation of contact, it must be a general norm that
all parties are equal.

Research
Sherif et al (1961) in the famous boy's camp study where they stirred up rivalry between two
groups found that they could cool the hostility down by giving them tasks where no one group
could complete it by themselves. Thus forced to work together, the boys became friends again.

Example

Judicial systems sometimes insist on petty criminals directly helping the people they have hurt.
Done well, this helps both parties.

So what?
Using it
To mediate between conflicting parties, use the above principles to set up a situation where they
can meet and increase understanding.

Conversion
Description
This is a sudden change in beliefs, such as when someone experiences a religious conversion.
The experience is often felt very strongly and leads to radical changes in behaviors.
Cults often attract people who are searching for meaning in their lives and who have built up
massive tension around this. The converts experience a significant emotional release, often
within a carefully engineered context of ritual and socialization, as they see the light.
When this happens to an individual, it is often after they have been thinking about something for
some time, and a cognitive breakthrough at last appears. This happens with beliefs much in the
same way as an inventor or scientist gets an eureka experience on how to solve a problem.

Example
When H.G. Wells War of the Worlds was read on the US radio by Orson Welles in 1938, many
listeners suddenly believed the world really was being attacked by aliens, and mass panic
ensued. This was due to the news broadcast style that was used, as well as the way radiolistening was, at that time, a social activity. The impending war probably did not help either.

So what?
Using it
Find or build significant tensions in the other person. Let them build to almost breaking point,
where they are desperately looking for a solution. Then provide the solution, preferably in an
engineered context where all cues point to the same conclusion. Follow up by giving them
experiences that allow them to prove the change to themselves.

Defending
When you have a significant tension in your life, such as when you have been searching for
meaning, beware of people offering pat solutions. In particular question what they might be
getting (or might ask in return) from your conversion.

Contagion/Social Contagion
Description
Emotion can spread rapidly through large crowds, as the massive social proof leads us into
extreme states. This explains much of crowd behavior, where normal people act in ways they
may later deeply regret.
Social contagion effects can also occur when people believe they have been infected by a
disease. As more people show the (psychosomatic) symptoms, this is taken as proof that I am
bound to get it.

Example
Just watch football matches and see how the crowd reacts almost as one. Or go along and
experience it for yourself!

So what?
Using it
To wind someone up, take them to an exciting mass-audience event, from sports to rock
concerts. Whilst they are in the flow of the moment, start whooping and dancing wildly. They
may well join in. Then take a photo of them and show all your friends...

Defending
When at crowd events, by all means get swept up in the enjoyment, but keep a part of you
separate, watching for inappropriate behavior in other people. Let it step in to prevent you from
slipping over the cliff into hysteria.

Conversion Theory
Description
In groups, the minority can have a disproportionate effect, converting many 'majority' members
to their own cause.
This is because many majority group members are not strong believers in its cause. They may
be simply going along because it seems easier or that there is no real alternative. They may also
have become disillusioned with the group purpose, process or leadership and are seeking a
viable alternative.
There are four major factors that give the minority its power:

1. Consistency: Being consistent in expressing minority group opinion.


2. Confidence: Being sure about the correctness of ideas and views presented.
3. Unbiased: Appearing to be reasonable and unbiased in presenting ideas.
4. Resistance: Resisting the natural social pressure and abuse that the majority may
bring to bear on minority members.
In addition, to gain the confidence of the 'silent majority', the minority shows that it is not like
the leadership of the majority, typically by visibly opposing them (something most of the silent
majority would not dare do). They they show empathy and similarity with the target people,
steadily subverting them and convincing them to join their alternative group.

Example
A business executive board is keen to acquire another company, although the
decision is mostly being driven by the CEO and CFO. There seems to be consensus
on this, but the CTO thinks it is crazy. He asks public and challenging questions about
the move whilst talking quietly to other board members until he is confident he can
call a motion of no confidence in the move.
An extremist group holds regular demonstrations against the local government, but
does this peacefully, engaging people passing by in reasonable and persuasive
conversation, getting them sign a petition and maybe come along to the next
meeting...

So What?

Using it
If you are in the minority, do not worry. Find others who are like minded and teach them to be
straightforward and consistent. Develop clear messages that position yourself as the 'voice of
reason'. Spread the word whilst undermining the opposition.

Defending
When a minority starts up against you, as a majority leader or advocate, mobilize quickly to
expose their methods and verbalize their message

Correspondence Bias
Description
When we see a person doing something, we tend to assume that they are doing this more
because this is 'how they are' -- that is because of their internal disposition -- than the external
environmental situational factors.
There are four main reasons for this correspondence bias:

Lack of awareness. If you do not know that a person is being threatened, then you
are far more likely to assume they have a nervous disposition. This can easily
happen when the situation is not physically apparent, such as when a person is in
the first day of a new job.

Unrealistic expectations. If I believe that a teacher is all-knowing, then I expect their


first lesson to be as good as their hundredth. Likewise if they have just taught a
lesson that bombed. Even if am aware of these factors, I expect them to perform
consistently.

Inflated categorization. My expectations of the teacher are made worse if I


expect allteachers to be equally competent. Likewise, if I categorize all questions as
showing that you don't know things, then I might assume that when the teacher
asks the student questions it is because the teacher does not know the answer.

Incomplete corrections. I can further infer incorrectly about the teachers questions,
such as that they are asking the wrong questions and hence do no understand their
subject.

Research
Jones and Harris found that people decided that students who had written pro- or anti-Castro
essays were actually pro- or anti-Castro, even when the participants knew that the students had
been instructed to write the essays in this way.

Example
When I buy something from the corner shop and the owner does not serve me with a smile, I
assume it is because he is a miserable old fool.

So what?
Using it
If you want a person to be perceived by others to have a certain disposition, maneuver them
into a situation where they perform actions whereby it may easily be assume that this is
because of their disposition.

Defending
When you do something and others are observing, think about how they are attributing to your
disposition. Correct their perception as necessary.

Correspondent Inference Theory


Description
When we are making attributions about other people, we compare their actions with alternative
actions, evaluating the choices they have made. It is easier for us to make internal attributions
when there fewer non-common effects between these choices. That is, when both choices have
a lot in common and there are thus fewer things which differentiate them. When the behavior is

not what we would have forecast, we assume that it is due to their internal preferences or
character traits.
Information about five factors is sought to make these inferences:

Whether the behavior being considered is voluntary and freely chosen.

What is unexpected about the behavior (non-common effects).

Whether the behavior is socially desirable.

Whether the behavior impacts the person doing the inferring (hedonic relevance).

Whether the behavior is of personal interest to the person doing the inferring
(personalism).

Example
A person is choosing between two jobs. They are very similar apart from location and salary.
This makes it easier for us to attribute their choice to the persons individual preferences. If they
choose the lower salary job, it is easy for us to assume that the person is not money-driven.

So what?
Using it
When surprised by another persons actions, it may seem obvious that this is because this is just
because of who they are. We should be careful to look closer in these cases as this may not be
true.

Counter-Attitudinal Advocacy
Description
Sometimes people will state an opinion or otherwise support a point of view that is actually
against their own beliefs.
For example, where we tell white lies in order to help other people or where stating our beliefs
could harm us. When we do this, we will seek to reduce dissonance by justifying our actions. If
we cannot find external justification, we will seek internal justification. This then leads to us
change our beliefs.
Counter-Attitudinal Advocacy is particularly effective where it is difficult for the person to later
deny that the dissonance-causing behavior actually took place. Thus written (and especially
signed) statements and public activities can be powerful tools of persuasion.

Research
Festinger and Carlsmith (1959) got experiment participants to do a boring task and then tell a
white lie about how enjoyable it was. Some were paid $1, others were paid $20. Later, they
were asked openly how much they had enjoyed the task. Those who were paid $20 said it was
boring. Those who had been paid $1 rated the task as significantly more enjoyable.

Example
Counter-Attitudinal Advocacy has been extensively used for brainwashing, both with prisonersof-war and peacetime cult members. It usually is done by making incrementally escalating
requests. Small rewards are offered, which are too small for the victims to use to attribute their
behavior change to, thus forcing internal attribution.

So what?
Using it
Get people to agree with you, perhaps on a small point, about something which you want to
persuade them. Ensure there is no significant external justification. After a while, their beliefs
will change.

Counterfactual Thinking
Description
Counterfactual thinking is thinking about a past that did not happen. This often happens in 'if
only...' situations, where we wish something had or had not happened.
This can be so powerful we can change our own memories, adjusting the facts and creating new
memories. It can happen to cover up trauma or may be just excuses to avoid facing
uncomfortable truths. It can also be to explain what is otherwise unexplainable.
This effect is increased by:

Replication: if we can easily reconstruct events as happened or as wished for.

Closeness: if the unwanted event is close, such as just missing winning the lottery by
one number or just missing a taxi.

Exception: if the event occurred because of a non-routine action that might well not
have happened ('if only...').

Controllability: if something could have been done to avoid the event.

Action: in the short term, we regret actions that cause problems more than inaction
that might have the same effect (although in the longer term, this effect is
reversed).

We can also do the reverse, thinking about bad things that did not happen, such as when we
narrowly avoid being in an accident. Counterfactual thinking often happens around situations of
perceived 'luck'.

Research

Kahneman and Tversky offered the following scenario to a number of people:


"Mr. Crane and Mr. Tees were scheduled to leave the airport on different flights, at the same
time. They traveled from town in the same limousine, were caught in a traffic jam, and arrived at
the airport 30 minutes after scheduled departure time of their flights.
Mr. Crane is told that his flight left on time. Mr. Tees is told that his flight was delayed, and just
left five minutes ago.
Who is more upset, Mr. Crane or Mr. Tees?"
96% of participants felt that Mr. Tees would be more upset. Just missing the flight would
increase the chance of him generating the counterfactual thoughts of having caught it.

Example
Silver medal winners do it all the time. The closeness to winning causes much regret and they
need to excuse themselves for their 'failure'. In a reverse effect, Bronze medal winners often
feel lucky to get a medal, as they were very close to not getting a medal at all.
Young people may regret taking a course at college that they do not enjoy. Older people will
regret dropping out or not switching to the right course.

So what?
Using it
Cause tension by highlighting something about the other person that will cause dissonance, then
offer a new thought that can replace the uncomfortable thought. Encourage them to accept the
new thought. A neat form is 'What if you had...'.

Defending
You are human and imperfect. That's ok. Beware of people trying to change history

Covariation Model
Description
When explaining other peoples behaviors, we look for similarities (covariation) across a range of
situations to help us narrow down specific attributions. There are three particular types of
information we look for to help us decide, each of which can be high or low:

Consensus: how similarly other people act, given the same stimulus, as the person in
question.

Distinctiveness: how similarly the person acts in different situations, towards other
stimuli.

Consistency: how often the same stimulus and response in the same situation are
perceived.

People tend to make internal attributions when consensus and distinctiveness are low but
consistency are high. They will make externalattributions when consensus and distinctiveness
are both high and consistency is still high. When consistency is low, they will make situational
attributions.
People are often less sensitive to consensus information.

Example
If a manager yells at a person, we assume it is his nature if he is the only person to yell at that
person (low consensus), he yells at other people too (low distinctiveness) and he yells at them
often. However, if everyone else gets cross with the same person (high consensus) and the
manager does not yell at other people (high distinctiveness), we assume it is something external
probably the person being yelled at. Finally, if the manager has not yelled at the person
before, we assume that something unusual has happened (situational attribution).

So what?
Using it
Use this to help understand how others are thinking.

Credibility
Description
A credible source of information makes for quicker and firmer decisions.
A credible person is expert (experienced, qualified, intelligent, skilled) and trustworthy (honest,
fair, unselfish, caring). Charisma can increase credibility. Charismatic people, in addition to
credible, are extroverted, composed and sociable.
Credibility is context-dependent, and an expert in one situation may be incompetent in another.
It is also a cue that is used in selecting the peripheral route to decision-making.
Credibility-enhancing actions include:

Highlighting your own experience and qualifications.

Showing you care about the other person and have their best interests at heart.

Showing you are similar to them by using their language, body language, dress, etc.

Being assertive. Quickly and logically refuting counter-arguments.

Leveraging the credibility of others, e.g.


o

Highlighting the credibility of your sources of information.

Getting introduced by a credible person.

Language that reduces credibility includes:

Ums, ers and other, ah, hesitation.

Totally and absolutely excessive exaggeration.

Kinds of qualifications that sort of lack assertion, I guess.

Politeness, sir, that indicates subordination.

I know it is silly to say this, but disclaimers do reduce credibility.

So what?

Using it
Build your credibility before persuading. Understand what builds and destroys it. Protect it like a
baby, because once lost it can be impossible to recover. Use it to gain commitment without
having to argue your case.

Defending
When you are making a big decision, be careful to examine the real credibility of your advisors,
including what they stand to gain from your decision.

Decisions
There are many tidbits of research that are of interest in decision-making, but not really big
enough to . This is a parking place for these.

Closure goals
When people have achieving closure as a goal in itself, such as when they pressed for time, they
will cease or significantly reduce analytical thinking about the subject in hand and just seek
closure.
When people are motivated to avoid closure, then this goal makes them think harder about the
subject as they seek for objections.

So what?
When people dive for closure, they may not be really bought in and you may need later to work
hard on sustaining commitment.
When people are objecting, they are thinking and you have their attention, so help them think
around objections.

Deindividuation
Description
We normally carry our sense of identity around with us and are thus well aware of how we are
relating to other people. There are ways, however of losing ourselves, including:

Becoming a part of a large group, such as a mob or army.

Becoming engrossed in an interesting task, such as a hobby.

Meditation and other contemplative activities.

Deindividuation into a group results in a loss of individual identity and a gaining of the social
identity of the group. When two groups argue (and crowd problems are often between groups),
it is like two people arguing. The three most important factors for deindividuation in a group of
people are:

Anonymity, so I can not be found out.

Diffused responsibility, so I am not responsible for my actions.

Group size, as a larger group increases the above two factors.

When you are in a group, you may feel a shared responsibility and so less individual
responsibility for your actions. In this way a morally questionable act may seem less personally
wrong. You may also feel a strong need to conform to social norms.
A paradox of deindividuation is that when you let go of your self, returning to you self can be an
exhilarating experience. This is one of the rewards of engrossing hobbies and meditation.
Significant external stimulation helps deindividuation as it distracts you from internal chatter and
rumination. This is one reason that pop and rock music (and orchestral music, for that matter) is
often played loudly along with dramatic visual lighting effects.

Research
Diener et al gave trick-or-treaters the opportunity steal candy. When they were in groups and
when they were sure of their anonymity, the stealing went up threefold.

Example
The effects of mobs are particularly alarming as lynchings, riots and wartime atrocities have all
been done during periods of deindividuation. Crowds give you the opportunity to hide and also
allow you to share the blame, reducing the sense of individual responsibility. Uniforms and warpaint also help hide your true identity. Even sunglasses can support aggressive attitudes as they
hide the eyes, a very important part of the individual.

So what?
Using it
To get someone to do something they would not normally do, provide lots of external
distractions, including noise and visual action. Also camouflage or disguise them so they do not
worry about being discovered by others.

Defending
Beware of crowd effects and especially other people who encourage you to join in and do things
that you would not normally do. If things get nasty, fade into the background. Others who are
caught up by the mass hysteria will not notice.
To reduce deindividuation in others, make them more self-aware. Use their name. Tell them
what they are doing.

Disconfirmation bias
Description
When people are faced with evidence for and against their beliefs, they will be more likely to
accept the evidence that supports their beliefs with little scrutiny yet criticize and reject that
which disconfirms their beliefs.
Generally, we will avoid or discount evidence that might show us to be wrong.

Research
Lord, Ross and Lepper had 24 each of pro- and anti-death penalty students evaluate faked
studies on capital punishment, some of which supported the death penalty and some which did
not. Students concluded that the studies that supported their views were superior to those that
did not.

Example
I am a scientist who is invited to investigate a haunted house. I rubbish the idea and decline the
invitation. When given a paper which supports my pet theories, however, I laud the fine research
with little questioning as to the methods used.

So What?
Using it
When you want to change beliefs, you may need to give significant evidence to overcome the
disconfirmation bias.

Defending
Try to be open when faced with evidence and viewpoints, even if it is contrary to what you know
to be true.

Discounting
Description
We often underestimate the effects of one cause of our behavior when another cause is more
conspicuous.

Example
If you like playing the guitar in a band, and get a lot of adulation from your fans, you might end
up discounting your simple enjoyment of playing music and conclude that you are really in it for
the fame.

So what?
Using it
Keep reminding people of the lesser-attended-to causes of their desirable behaviors. Or shift
perceived causes by emphasizing a cause which may be a step on the way to a change of
behavior.

Drive Theory
Description
We all have needs. which lead to internal stimuli prodding us into action, driving us to reduce
those stimuli by satisfying the relevant needs. Drive theory is consequently also known as Drive
Reduction Theory.
These drives are necessary, otherwise needs would not be satisfied. It is also important for the
person to perceive the stimulus and response in order to learn.
Primary drives are those related to basic survival and procreation. Secondary drives are related
to social and identity factors which are less important for survival.
As we act to satisfy needs we become conditioned and acquire habits and other unconscious
forms of response or reaction. Behavior is changed only if habits no longer satisfy needs, such
that drives remain.
If enacting of drives is frustrated or the driven action does not satisfy needs, this can lead to
anxiety and other negative emotions.

Example
A person in a strange house is hungry and looks for food. They find some under the staircase.
When they are in another house and hungry the first place they look is under the stairs.

So What?

Using it
Understand what drives people and stimulate these in order to get a person into action. Ensure
you motivate the drive such that the person acts in a way that you want them to.

Defending
When you feel driven to do something, pause and wonder why. Have you been wound up like a
toy by someone?

Durability bias
Description
When we predict how long we will feel about some event, we tend to over-estimate the duration
of the emotional impact.
Whatever our emotions, although we have ups and downs, we tend to return to a neutral 'home'
position within a relatively short time.
This may be caused by focalism, where people focus too much on the event in question and not
enough on other future events.
Durability bias is a form of impact bias.

Research
Wilson et al found that football fans were less likely to over-predict how long the outcome of a
football game would influence their happiness if they first thought about how much time they
would spend on other future activities

Example
I think about how I would feel if my girlfriend left me. I suspect I would feel very upset and
believe I would feel this way for a long time to come. The fact that I might meet someone else
before long and change how I feel does not come into my thinking.

So What?
Using it
Getting people to think about other events that will happen in the future and how they will react
to these will reduce their misperception about how long they will feel about current events and
the emotional impact of this.
You can also use this by getting people to think only about the impact of a desirable/undesirable
event and how long the feelings about this will last.

Defending
When thinking about how long you will feel about something, include the possibilities of other
events changing how you feel now.

Ego Depletion
Description
As humans, we have have natural urges and tendencies which, if we indulged, would not always
be socially acceptable. We therefore need to control these and a key part of childhood is spend
in learning this discipline. We also need to do things that we do not necessarily want to do,
which also requires inner control.
There are a number negative emotions that we may experience, from anger to fear, yet in social
situations there is a common value that such emotions should be suppressed rather than
expressed. Such control also takes ongoing effort, peaking at the moments when there internal
pressure to say or do something that might later be regretted.
This self-management takes constant emotional and cognitive effort. In these acts of self-control
and will-power, some acts take more effort than others. Overall, though, there is almost always
some ongoing effort in staying socially acceptable.
We have limited resources for this task, which can run low, leaving us exhausted and vulnerable.
In this state we may make more errors and our decision-making ability may well be impaired.
We may also be more liable to outbursts, such as of anger or shock. As control loosens emotions
intensify, including positive ones, and the person may become more excited.
In a Freudian sense, this self-control uses the conscious 'ego' to control the basic desires of the
'id'. Hence as it gets worn down through exercise, the ego becomes depleted.
Ego depletion tend to result in greater attention to the short term with priority being given to
this and consequent ignoring of longer-term factors. This can lead to unwise decisions.
The depletion that is caused may be restored to some extend by rest and positive experiences.
It has also been found that ingesting glucose has a significant restorative effect. This depletion
and restoration has contributed to the metaphor of will as a 'muscle'.

Research
Baumeister et al (1998) put subjects in either the position of having to resist taking chocolates
or resist eating radishes, or having nothing to resist. They then gave them an impossibly difficult
problem to solve. Those who had to resist chocolates reported being more exhausted and gave
up on the problem earlier than either of the other two conditions.
Subsequent research by Baumeister has shown that people who are less intelligent, and so find
it harder to do mental problems, suffer greater ego depletion. He also found that ego depletion
in shoppers was more likely to lead to impulse purchases.

Example

A person who is from a social group where swearing is common goes to a party in polite
company. They try not to swear, but as the evening wears on, a few expletives do slip out.

So What?
Using it
Asking people to do things they would not normally do, and which requires cognitive and
emotional effort, will act to tire them, making them more liable to accept later suggestions.

Defending
When you seem to be putting effort into something, beware of making subsequent significant
decisions. Take a good rest and refresh yourself before deciding.

Empathy-Altruism Hypothesis
Description
If we feel empathy towards a person who needs help, we are likely to help them (in proportion
to the empathy felt) without any selfish thoughts. Otherwise, we will help them only if the
rewards of helping them outweigh the costs.
Rewards of helping can be many and various, including relief from the distress of seeing another
in trouble. This means separating true altruism from selfish concerns can be very difficult.
Beggars live totally off empathy and can be expert at putting themselves in situations to
increase this, such as using children and animals.

Research
Toi and Batson (1972) played a radio station interview to students about a disabled person who
needed help. Afterwards they received an anonymous request for help. When instructed before
the experiment to be objective about what they heard, the students were much less likely to
offer help than when they had been asked to focus on how the person might be feeling.

Example
So what?

Using it
Find empathetic people or create an empathetic situation before you ask for help.

Endowed Progress Effect


Description
When people feel they have made some progress towards a goal then they will become more
committed towards continued effort towards achieving the goal.
Perception is critically important with this and the appearance of progress can have a strong
effect whilst actual progress that is not recognized can be demotivating.
The corollary is that people who feel they are making little or no progress will be more likely to
abandon efforts.
As people get closer to the goal, their commitment is likely to deepen as they strive increasingly
harder to achieve success.

Research

Nunes and Dreze set up a system in a car wash where you needed eight stamps on a loyalty
card to get a free car wash. In variant (A) customers theoretically needed ten stamps, though
the card already had two 'free' stamps on it. In (B) the card had only space for eight stamps.
In variant (A), with two 'free' stamps, the redemption rate was 34%. In (B) the redemption rate
was only 19%. Also, the customers in (A) also came back more often and the time between
washes got shorter and shorter as they got closer to the free car wash.

Example
A teacher gives homework where the first couple of questions are short and easy. The questions
then slowly get harder.

So What?
Using it
If you are seeking to create change or keep somebody committed to a longer term goal, show
them that they are making progress. This may be helped by making the first steps very easy for
them.

Defending
If you feel you have to keep working towards something that you actually do not really want,
then take a deep breath and quit.

Endowment Effect
Description

When I own something, I will tend to value it more highly. If I have to sell it, I will probably
want to ask more than it is really worth.

Research
In a Duke University study, students who had won prized basketball tickets would sell them at
around $2400. Those who had not won would pay about $170.

Example
Look around your house. Pick something. How much would you sell it for? How much would
people really pay for it? How much would you pay for something like this at a second-hand
store? The contents of your house are more valuable to you than other people.

So what?
Using it
When you want somebody to feel well-off, get them to total up their net worth.

Defending
When you are buying something, take along a neutral sales guide to show people what they are
selling is really worth.

Epistemological Weighting Hypothesis


Description
We gain knowledge in two ways:
(a) By ourselves, by both active trial and error and passive observation.
(b) Through others, by communication and observation.

When our views differ from the groups view, these conflict with one another. The degree to
which we will conform with the group norms depends on the weighting we place between
personal and social knowledge.

So what?
Using it
Find the weighting that other person uses and play to it. For example, if they are biased towards
social knowledge, then talk about what other people have done.

Defending
Know your own preference. Beware of people who play too much to it.

Equity Theory
Description
People are happiest in relationships where the give and take are about equal. If one person is
getting too little from the relationship, then not only are they going to be unhappy with thisthe
person getting the lions share will also be feeling rather guilty about this imbalance. This is
reinforced by strong social norms about fairness.
In short-term relationships we tend to trade in things, such as loaning small sums or buying
beers. In longer-term relationships the trade is more emotional.
Overall, though, it is still better to be getting more than lessalthough you could feel better
about the relationship, the benefits you get from it can buy you compensatory happiness
elsewhere.
Equity Theory is also called Inequity Theory as it is the unequal difference that is often the area
of interest.

Example
Men who have been pulled away from their family by their work sometimes try to even the
scales with expensive holidays. This does not work well as they are trying to trade (short-term
value) money for (long-term value) emotion.

So what?

Using it
If you are getting the short end of the stick in a relationship, use this to make the other person
feel even more guilt than they already feel. Get them to focus on the value of the relationship
itself rather than the more material things they are getting from it.

Defending
If you are getting what you want from a relationship, resist attempts to change the balance.

ERG Theory
Description
Clayton Alderfer extended and simplified Maslow's Hierarchy into a shorter set of three needs:
Existence, Relatedness and Growth (hence 'ERG'). Unlike Maslow, he did not see these as being
a hierarchy, but being more of a continuum.

Existence
At the lowest level is the need to stay alive and safe, now and in the foreseeable future. When we have
satisfied existence needs, we feel safe and physically comfortable. This includes Maslow's
Physiological and Safety needs.

Relatedness
At the next level, once we are safe and secure, we consider our social needs. We are now
interested in relationships with other people and what they think of us. When we are
related, we feel a sense of identity and position within our immediate society. This
encompasses Maslow's Love/belonging and Esteem needs.
Growth
At the highest level, we seek to grow, be creative for ourselves and for our environment.
When we are successfully growing, we feel a sense of wholeness, achievement and
fulfilment. This covers Maslow's Self-actualization and Transcendence.

So what?
Using it
Find the relative state of the other person's needs for each of existence, relatedness and growth.
Find ways of either threatening or helping to satisfy the needs.

Defending
Know how well your own needs in this model are met, and what would threaten or improve
them. Be careful when other people do things that threaten or promise to improve them.

Escape Theory
Description
Many of the activities in which we indulge help us to get away from our lives or our characters
with which we are not happy. These can be relatively harmless, such as sports or hobbies. they
can also be hazardous and even fatal, including taking drugs and indulging in extreme sports. At
the most extreme, some commit suicide to escape an unhappy life.
In effect, we are trying to escape from our selves or some aspect of our character. Of course this
cannot be done but this does not stop us from repeatedly trying.

Research
Heatherton and Baumeister found significantly more dysfunction with regard to body esteem,
suicidal ideation other irrational thoughts with those who indulged in binge drinking, as
compared with non-binge-drinkers.
Baumeister found escape behavior in such as sexual activities and suicide.

Example
I have a boring and unfulfilling job and have difficulty sustaining love relationships. I often go
out drinking with my friends at the weekend.

So What?
Using it
Offer people escape as a negotiation chip or to create a sense of reciprocity.
You can also perhaps help people who you can see escaping, for example by enabling them to
live more fulfilling lives.

Defending
Note your own tendency to escape. Re-think your life and motivations as appropriate, getting
help where you can.

Expectancy Violations Theory


Description
We predict the future based on our schemas and other beliefs we have formed. Having made the
prediction, we then expect our predictions to come true. When they do not, an expectancy
violation has occurred.
What happens next is that we are surprised. This draws us in, capturing our attention as we try
to understand what has happened and perhaps modify our schema to cope with this new
situation.
Socially, we have expectations about how other people should and will behave. Our reaction to
the deviations of others from expectancy depends on what we have to lose or gain.
How we react to violations depend on reward value, or what we expect to get from the
relationship. Thus a man is likely to react more positively towards an attractive younger woman
standing close than a larger man from an out-group.

Research
Karmarkar and Tormala found that people whod read tentative professional review of a
restaurant were willing to pay 56% more than people who read the highly certain professional
review. Yet those who read a confident amateur review were willing to pay 54% more for a meal
than those who read an uncertain amateur review.
People expect experts to be confident and amateurs to be uncertain. When this expectation was
violated, the resulting surprise seems to have led the subjects to conclude particular significance
in the statements.

Example

A sales person showing a person a pricey hi-fi system that has moderate quality. This sets the
price-performance expectation. They then show them a mid-priced one which sounds much
better. They then 'share' (and so amplify) the person's surprise at the superior quality. The
person happily walks out with the system (which has a good margin), convinced they have a
bargain.

So What?
Using it
Surprise people. Set their expectations then do something different. A good way is to set
expectations low then exceed them.

Defending
Beware of people who surprise you, then try to convince you about something.

Expectancy Theory
Description
As we constantly are predicting likely futures, we create expectations about future events. If
things seem reasonably likely and attractive, we know how to get there and we believe we can
'make the difference' then this will motivate us to act to make this future come true.
Motivation is thus a combination of:

Valence: The value of the perceived outcome (What's in it for me?)

Instrumentality: The belief that if I complete certain actions then I will achieve the
outcome. (Clear path?)

Expectancy: The belief that I am able to complete the actions. (My capability?)

Of course you can have an unpleasant outcome, in which case the motivation is now one of
avoidance.
Expectancy Theory is also called Valence-Instrumentality-Expectancy Theory or VIE Theory.

So what?
Motivate people to do something by showing them something desirable, indicating how
straightforward it is to get it, and then supporting their self-belief that they can get there.

Explanatory Coherence
Description
When we are trying to understand something, we will often build several candidate hypotheses
as possible explanations. We will tend to prefer those explanations which:

Have greater explanatory breadth, which explains a wide number of factors.

Are simple, requiring very little thought to fully understand.

Are plausible, being easy to explain from other information.

Once the scales are tipped and one hypothesis starts to look good compared with the others, the
acceptability of the hypothesis rapidly increases until it is the only 'logical' choice.

Example
If a friend is unpleasant to me, I like to think that they have had a bad day. This explains other
behaviors too, is simple and can easily be explained away.

So what?
Using it
When explaining something help the other person to develop an internal hypothesis that is easy
for them to accept.

Defending
Beware plausible explanations.

Extended Parallel Process Model


Description
People who are threatened will take one of two courses of action: danger control or fear control.
Danger control seeks to reduce the risk. Fear control seeks to reduce the perception of the risk.
Danger control is outer-focused and towards a solution. Fear control is inner-focused and away
from a solution.
For danger control to be selected, a person needs to perceive that an effective response is
available (response efficacy) and that they are capable of utilizing this response to reduce the
risk (self efficacy). If danger control is not selected, then action defaults to fear control.

So what?
Using it
If you want a person to take an action, show them the threat, but also ensure they can see that
there is a solution which they can use (probably your solution).

Defending
When feeling threatened, pause before taking the obvious solution to reduce the threat.
Consider who else will benefit from you using the solution.

External Justification
Description
When we do something that causes uncomfortable cognitive dissonance, we will have a greater
tendency to justify it by making external attributions, blaming it on something outside of us.
This is as opposed to internal justification, where we attribute it to our character or some
personal trait or belief.

Example
When you last had a car accident, did you blame yourself? Or did you blame the road, the rain,
or something else?

So what?
Using it
When the other person runs away from the truth, maintain the tension by holding up a mirror so
they cannot externally justify their actions. Or take the opposite approach: when they are
suffering dissonance, build trust by helping them externally justify.

Defending
Beware of people blaming you as they externally justify their actions.

Ethnocentric Bias/Group Attribution Error


Description
Groups tend to behave in many ways like individuals, making decisions in similar ways.
However, the rules for group decisions are not necessarily the same as for the individuals within
the group.
The group attribution error occurs where it is assumed that individuals in the group agree with
the decisions of the group. When people make decisions in groups they often follow group rules
and are influenced by the social dynamic within the group at the time, thus downplaying their
own real preferences.
Attribution often tends to be done at group level, whether in-group or out-group, assuming that
those within an identified group think in the same way. This helps us talk about 'them' as a
coherent concept, but falsely assuming that people within the group are more similar than they
actually are.

Example
Business meetings are a minefield of bias and false attribution, often with decisions forced by
individual members. Yet the whole team may well be seen as owning the decision, including by
themselves and by others.

So what?

Using it
Just because a team has made a decision, don't assume that everyone agrees. You can change
decisions by approaching individuals.

Defending
When in a group, you don't have to buy into decisions made. Also beware of others assuming
that you agree with decisions the group makes.

Extrinsic Motivation
Description
Extrinsic motivation is when I am motivated by external factors, as opposed to the internal
drivers of intrinsic motivation. Extrinsic motivation drives me to do things for tangible rewards or
pressures, rather than for the fun of it.
When I do something, I have to explain why I do it. If I am being rewarded extrinsically for
doing it, then I can explain to myself that I am doing it for the reward. In this way, rewards can
decrease internal motivation as people work to gain the reward rather than because they like
doing the work or believe it is a good thing to do.
In effect, extrinsic motivations can change a pleasurable into work.

There are three primary types of extrinsic motivation, as in the table below:

Motivation

Behavior sustained
by...

External motivation

...environmental reward
or punishment
contingencies.

Do work because paid to


do it.

Introjected motivation

...desire to avoid
internally imposed guilt
and recrimination .

Do work to earn money to


sustain family.

Identified motivation

...desire to express
important selfidentifications.

Do work because it is
'what I want to do'.

Example

Research
Lepper, Greene and Nisbett (1973) asked two groups of children to do some drawings. One
group was promised a 'good player medal' for their work and the other was promised nothing.
On a return visit, the groups were given paper and crayons and what they did was observed.
The group who had been given the medal for drawing previously spent significantly less this
time drawing as compared with the no-reward group.

Example
Supermarkets use loyalty cards and discounts, airlines use air miles, companies use bonuses
and commissions. Extrinsic motivation is everywhere.

So what?
Using it
You can offer positive motivations such as rewards and other bribery or you can use negative
motivation such as threats and blackmail. Either way, extrinsic motivation is crude, easy and
often effective. However it focuses people on the reward and not the action. Stop giving the
reward and theyll stop the behavior. This can, in fact, be useful when you want them to stop
doing something: first give them extrinsic rewards for doing the unwanted behavior, then
remove the reward.

False Consensus Effect


Description
We tend to overestimate how the degree to which our own behavior, attitudes, beliefs, and so on
are shared by other people.
This may be because our friends and people we spend time with are indeed like us, and we use
theAvailability Heuristic to deduce that many other people are similar (our own beliefs, etc. are
also very available). When there is limited information on which to base a good estimate, then
what we believe is a fair alternative to a wild guess. We will use false consensus more when we
attribute our own behavior to external factors as these are the same factors which presumed to
affect others. False consensus also helps reinforce my own motivations.
False consensus is stronger when:

The behavior is seen to come from strong situational factors.

The matter at hand is seen as being important to the person.

When we are largely sure we are correct.

Research
Ross and colleagues asked students to walk around campus with a sign saying Eat at Joes.
Those who agreed said that 62% of other people would agree to carry the sign. Those who
disagreed said that 67% would not carry the sign.

Example
Romantic relationships between people often start off with a glow as hormones and False
Consensus overshadow real differences. However, the cloud-9 effect eventually wears off as the
loving couple eventually discover that they are not, after all, that similar (and in fact often are
amazingly incompatible!).

So what?
Using it
Build rapport by assuming their behavior, attitudes and beliefs. Other people are very often
taken in by such false empathy as they see it as normal that you are like them.

Defending
See other as they are, not as you want them to be.

False Memory Syndrome


Description
We can have quite vivid memories of past experiences which are actually false but which we
absolutely believe to be true.
This can be caused by such as police questioning or helpful psychotherapists. When we are
sufficiently motivated, we can actually change what we remember.
People are better at creating false memories when asked to imagine the supposed event in
detail, and if they are also good imagers.
We can also easily create a false memory when two things are similar. For example we may be
sure a specific person was at an event when actually it was someone else who looked like them.
False memory can appear when we want something to have happened just because it is
pleasant to recall.
This is caused by what is sometimes called 'imagination inflation'.

Example
In a famous 1988 case, Paul Ingram was accused by his daughters of having committed sexual
abuse, satanic rituals and even murder (they suddenly remembered these events after many
years). Even he eventually became convinced that he must have committed these crimes and
then somehow repressed the memories. He was given a long prison sentence. Many believe that
he is innocent and a victim of false memory syndrome.

So what?

Using it
If you pressurize someone, they may suddenly 'recall' something that reduces that pressure,
either giving you what you want or giving them a way out. Beware of such sudden memories.

Defending
Do not depend on your memory to be completely accurate (or even any way accurate),
especially if you want to believe a memory and even more especially if someone else wants to
believe the memory and they are pressing you to recall it.

Fatigue
Description
Causes of fatigue include:

Insufficient, interrupted or irregular sleep

Disruption of the biological clock and daily patterns of activity

Incorrect nutrition, especially deficiencies of B vitamins, vitamin C, magnesium,


sodium, zinc, L-tryptophan, L-carnitine, coenzyme Q10, and essential
fatty acids.

Insufficient water intake.

Various drugs, especially those that affect muscles.

Conditions such as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

Age

Physical activity

Stress

Cognitive effort

Boredom

High levels of noise

Symptoms of fatigue include:

Forgetfulness

Reduced ability to communicate clearly

Yawning

Always tired

Closing eyes, nodding off

Lack of alertness

Drowsiness

Socially withdrawn

Moodiness, quick to anger

Sore eyes

Depression

Lack of self-regulation

Impaired decision skills

Physical fatigue reduces the ability to perform physical activities such as running and lifting.
Fatigue also affects cognitive functioning and it becomes harder to think and make effective
decisions. This is significant wherever choice is important, such as for doctors and nurses,
soldiers, etc.

We like choice as it gives us a sense of control. Yet increased choice requires more cognitive
effort, which is more tiring, causing decision fatigue. This can lead to people preferring less
choice, which can seem counterintuitive (Iyengar and Lepper, 2000).

Research
Fletcher et al. (2003) and others have found similar patterns of performance loss when
comparing the effects of fatigue and alcohol.

Example
A tired nurse forgets to administer critical drugs to a patient.
Near the end of an energetic match, a footballer passes the ball to an opposing player when a
team-mate was nearby and could easily have taken the ball.

So What?
Using it
People may well be easier to persuade when they are tired, both because they do not have the
energy to argue and because they will put less effort into deciding.
When giving people a choice, you can give them less to make it easier, or give them a lot if you
want to tire them so you may then make a recommendation that is easier to accept.

Defending
Avoid important decisions when you are tired. Sleeping on decisions is a good way to make
better decisions.

Focalism
Description
When we are experiencing emotions about a current or anticipated event, we tend to think just
about that event and forget about the other things that happen.
Focalism thus happens where we tend to assume that our feelings are driven by a single event
in current focus and not the complexity of events we experience.

Example
When a mother is asked to imagine how she would feel seven years after the death of her child,
she will likely focus exclusively on that tragedy and fail to consider the many other events that
will happen over that time period, capture her attention, require her participation, and hence
influence her general emotional state.

So What?
Using it
Focus on one thing when persuading and the other person may forget other factors.

Defending
Keep your mind open about the multiple causes of how you feel.

Focusing Effect
Description
When we are making judgments, we tend to weigh attributes and factors unevenly, putting more
importance on some aspects and less on others.
This is typically due to factors such as stereotyping and schemas that we use that bring certain
factors to mind and downplay others.

Research
Schkade and Kahneman asked people who would be happier, Californians or Mid-westerners.
Many said Californians because they placed disproportionate focus on the assumption of there
being more sun in California and that the lifestyle was more relaxed. The higher crime rate and
threat of earthquakes in California was not given any focus.

Example

I am deciding between buying one of several houses. I choose the house with the biggest
kitchen, perhaps because my current kitchen is small and this causes me problems.

So What?
Using it
Get people thinking about the topic for decision long ahead of the decision to be made. Put
particular emphasis on, and play up, attributes that you want them to use when deciding.

Defending
When making a decision, pause to identify all attributes first and give them rational weighting.

Forced Compliance
Description
People sometimes feel obliged to comply with commands against their will or better judgment.
When this happens, some expected and some odd effects can happen:

People will comply with perceived authority, even acting in strongly immoral ways or
doing other things that contradict their values.

Attempts at forced compliance can easily create a backlash effect, particularly


amongst those who refuse to comply.

Persuaders who are disliked are more likely to be successful in creating a change in
attitude.

The reason why disliked persuader are more effective is possibly because of the way people seek
to explain and justify their actions. If they comply with someone attractive or otherwise likable,
they can tell themselves they were acting as a favor to the person or because they liked them.

Research
Zimbardo et al (1965) used an authority figure to pressure students into eating Japanese
grasshoppers. When the persuader acted politely, a significant number of students later reported
a lower affinity with eating grasshoppers than when the persuader was brusque.

Example
A sales manager rudely interrupts a sales person's spiel to correct performance details about
car. The customer finds the car more interesting.

So What?
Using it
Be careful with this as having other people liking you is generally good for persuasion. An
effective way of using this is with a collaborator who plays the persuasive 'bad guy' on a
particular point to your 'good guy' who completes the overall persuasion.

Defending
Notice how you react to persuasive comments. You can sometimes be persuaded by attractive
people and, as noted here, also by people who are less attractive!

Four-factor Model
Description
When people tell lies, there are four underlying mechanisms at work:

Arousal: Lying causes anxiety and arousal, either because of dissonance at


conflicting values and behavior, or due to fear of getting caught. This can be detected
via lie detectors, speech errors and hesitations, repetitions, fidgeting and
displacement activity, blinking, higher vocal pitch and pupil dilation.

Behavior control: We try to control body language that might give us away. In fact
this is impossible and leakage often occurs, for example where we are controlling our
face and our legs give us away.

Emotion: Our emotions change when we are lying. For example, duping delight,
where the liar is secretly pleased at their perceived success. Guilt may also appear.
Micro-motions in facial muscles can betray hidden emotions.

Thinking: To lie, we usually have to think a lot harder, such as to ensure coherence in
our arguments. This leads us to take longer in speaking with more pauses. We also
tend to use more generalities to avoid getting trapped by specific detail.

Research
Zuckerman et al. found pupil dilation to be a fairly good indicator of deception. Many other
indicators have been found, such as fidgeting, blinking, vocal pitch, etc. Like non-verbal
behavior, however, no single method is guaranteed to work each time.

Example
Poker players often wear dark glasses to hide the dilation of their pupils when they are aroused
that they cannot control. Otherwise, they are often masters of controlling their non-verbal
behavior.

So what?
Using it
Do not lie, especially in front of someone (like the police) who are trained to spot lies. Use the
above pointers to detect when others are lying.

Filter Theory
Description
We make some choices through a series of selection filters. The more important, the more effort
and filtration. One of the most important selections is of our friends and partners.
Relationships go though stages whereby different criteria are used at successive stages. It starts
with social variables, such as class and religion. Then it moves to internal values. Finally, it
moves to personality traits. Note that we seek similarity in social variables and values, but
personality traits may be complementary.

Example
Men often seek female partners initially on looks. Other compatibility factors are considered
after the initial advance (or even much later in the relationship).

So what?
Using it
Be aware of the social, values and trait stages and be ready to match the other person at each
stage. Point out how rivals do not fit the current filter.

Defending
Watch out for too-close matching. If someone fits all of your criteria all of the time, check
whether they are like this with other people.

Framing
Description
A frame is the combination of beliefs, values, attitudes, mental models, and so on which we use
to perceive a situation. We effectively look through this frame in the way we would look through
tinted spectacles. The frame significantly effects how we infer meaning and hence understand
the situation.
Kahneman and Tversky defined a decision frame as the decision-makers conception of the act,
outcomes and contingencies associated with a particular choice.

Research
Tversky and Kahneman offered people one of the following choices:

A: A sure gain of $240

B: A 25% chance to gain $1000 and 75% chance of getting nothing.

84% of people chose the more certain A. They then offered them one the following choices:

C: A sure loss of 750

D: A 75% chance of losing $1000 and a 25% chance to lose nothing.

Now 73% preferred to gamble.


The framing of the question in each case was important, as B and D actually have higher
expected utility (value) than A and C. It also shows how framing a choice in terms of gain will
push people towards a certain decision, whilst framing it in terms of a loss increases the chance
that people will choose to gamble.

Example
I see a holiday in the hills as a opportunity for outdoor exercise. My friend sees is as a chance
for a quiet read. My son sees it as a long period of boredom.

So what?
Using it
Change elements of a person's frame (reframing) and hence how they view the world). This is a
powerful persuasive technique.
Being able to see things through many frames yourself gives you a broader perspective and able
to understand more of how others think.

Defending
When people ask you to look at something from another viewpoint, be aware that there
are manyviewpoints, many of which are valid and legitimate.

Friendship
Description
Factors which increase the chance of making friends include:

Similarity: How much we have in common with them (birds of a feather). Similar
friends provide social validation for our beliefs, characteristics, etc. In practice,
opposites seldom attract.

Proximity: The Propinquity Effect leads us to like most people we see often.

Reciprocity: We like people who like us and dislike those who dislike us.

Beauty: Physical attraction counts, although how it is defined varies around the
world.

Competence: We like people who are competent (but they should not be tooperfect).

Example
Think about your friends. How many have the above characteristics? What about people who
you see to whom you feel immediate attraction?

Frustration-Aggression Theory
Description
When people perceive that they are being prevented from achieving a goal, their frustration is
likely to turn to aggression.
The closer you get to a goal, the greater the excitement and expectation of the pleasure. Thus
the closer you are, the more frustrated you get by being held back. Unexpected occurrence of
the frustration also increases the likelihood of aggression.

Research
Barker, Dembo and Lewin (1941) put toys behind a wire screen where children could see them.
When they eventually got to play with them, their play was very destructive.

Example
Football crowds can become aggressive when their team starts to lose. People in business can
also become aggressive when others start to frustrate their ambitions.

So what?
Using it
You can cause tension by frustrating the other person, but beware of it turning to aggression.

Defending
Beware of people winding you up. If they dangle a carrot then whisk it away, either refuse to
play or play hard, early and fast.

Fundamental Attribution Error


Description
When we are trying to understand and explain what happens in social settings, we tend to view
behavior as a particularly significant factor. We then tend to explain behavior in terms of internal
disposition, such as personality traits, abilities, motives, etc. as opposed to external situational
factors.
This can be due to our focus on the person more than their situation, about which we may know
very little. We also know little about how they are interpreting the situation.
Western culture exacerbates this error, as we emphasize individual freedom and autonomy and
are socialized to prefer dispositional factors to situational ones.
When we are playing the role of observer, which is largely when we look at others, we make this
fundamental attribution error. When we are thinking about ourselves, however, we will tend to
make situational attributions.

Research
Edward Jones and Victor Harris (1967) asked people to assess a persons pro- or anti-Castro
feelings given an essay a person had written. Even when the people were told the person had
beendirected to write pro- or anti- arguments, the people still assumed the author believed what
they were writing.

Example
I assume you have not done much today because you are lazy, rather than perhaps tired or lack
the right resources.

So what?

Using it
Beware of people blaming you for things outside of your control. Also watch out for people doing
it to you. You can make friends and build trust when individuals are blamed by others, by
showing that you understand how it is not to do with their personality.

Defending
Watch how others make attributions. When they seem to go against the trend and be in your
favor, be curious about their motives.

Gambler's Fallacy
Description
The 'Gambler's Fallacy' (first noted by Laplace in 1796) occurs where people assume they can
predict random events.
A number of descriptions define this solely in terms of reversals, where it is assumed that when
one alternative happens it is less likely to happen in subsequent events. This is to

misunderstand the law of large numbers, where a large number of random events, such as
coin tossing, will closely approach the natural distribution (eg. 50% heads and 50% tails).
This fallacy can appear as a contradiction to the Hot Hand Phenomenon, where a run of success
is assumed to continue.

In the more general description of the gambler's fallacy, it includes the assumption of a run
of luck or 'winning streak', where because I have won several times I feel I am more likely
to continue winning.
Other false predictions around luck include assumptions of luck running out and being on a
losing streak.
Generally we all need to explain our experiences (as in attribution theory) and gamblers are
no different. They thus form theories about why they are winning or losing based on luck
and their own skill. Recency and availability effects also have an impact on predictions.

Example
I toss a coin and it comes down heads. I expect the next coin to be more likely to be tails than
heads. It comes down heads. Now I am even more convinced that the subsequent coin will very
likely be tails. If I am a betting person, I might double my bet each time, sure that I will walk
away a winner.

So What?
Using it
Encourage people to take risks by telling them they (or your or the investment firm, etc.) are
lucky or on a 'winning streak'.

Defending
Understand probability. Avoid depending on luck. Watch out for people who encourage
otherwise.

Goal-Setting Theory
Description
In order to direct ourselves we set ourselves goals that are:

Clear (not vague) and understandable, so we know what to do and what not to do.

Challenging, so we will be stimulated and not be bored.

Achievable, so we are unlikely to fail.

If other people set us goals without our involvement, then we are much less likely to be
motivated to work hard at it than if we feel we have set or directed the goal ourselves.

Feedback
When we are working in the task, we need feedback so we can determine whether we are
succeeding or whether we need to change direction. We find feedback (if it is sympathetically
done) very encouraging and motivating. This includes feedback from ourselves. Negative selftalk is just as demotivating as negative comments from other people.

Directional and accuracy goals


Depending on the type of goal we have, we will go about achieving it differently.
A directional goal is one where we are motivated to arrive at a particular conclusion. We will
thus narrow our thinking, selecting beliefs, etc. that support the conclusion. The lack of
deliberation also tends to make us more optimistic about achieving the goal.
An accuracy goal is one where we are motivated to arrive at the most accurate possible
conclusion. These occur when the cost of being inaccurate is high. Unsurprisingly, people invest
more effort in achieving accuracy goals, as any deviation costs, and a large deviation may well
more. Their deliberation also makes them realize that there is a real chance that they will not
achieve their goal. When we have an accuracy goal we do not get to a 'good enough' point and
stop thinking about it--we continue to search for improvements.
Both methods work by influencing our choice of beliefs and decision-making rules.

Research
Tetlock and Kim motivated people to use accuracy goals by giving them a task and telling them
they would have to explain their thinking. The people wrote more cognitively complex responses
than the control group.

So what?

Using it
If you want someone to deliberately think about what they are doing, give them an accuracy
goal.

Defending
Choose your own goals. Notice the difference between when you are diving into action and when
you are carefully thinking.

Group Locomotion Hypothesis


Description
Members of a group are motivated to help achieve the goals of the group. This is a classic
situation of conformity, where the individual replaces their own desires with the greater good.

Example
I am a member of the Parents Association at the local school where my children attend. I know
many teachers there and spend many hours helping out the school.

So what?
Using it
Be a member of a group. Ensure the group goals are aligned with your goals. Ensure the others
in the group know the goals.

Defending
When looking at a group, find out their goals and decide whether these make sense to you
before joining.

Group Polarization Phenomenon


Description
In groups, people tend to be more extreme in their decisions.
Imagine you are arguing your point with someone else: to make the point and separate what
you have to say from other people, you may exaggerate your position somewhat. The problem
then is that having taken a position you feel obliged to support it, even if you think it actually is
a bit extreme.
People who tend to take risky decisions will make riskier decisions in a group as the risk is
shared (risky shift). People who are more conservative will tend to make very conservative
decisions as they take on the persona of the group and try to protect them from the effects of
any risky decisions.

Example
Groups of young people will often do stupid things that they later bitterly regret.

So what?
Using it
To get risky decisions made, bring together people who tend towards risk. To sustain the status
quo, use groups of conservative people.

Defending
When a group you are in makes a decision, highlight the real risk vs. the assumed risk in the
decision.

Groupthink
Description
Groups sometimes fall into a style of thinking where the maintenance of the groups cohesion
and togetherness becomes all-important and results in very bad decision-making.

Janis (1972) defines it as "a way of deliberating that group members use when their desire for
unanimity overrides their motivation to assess all available plans of action."
The eight primary symptoms of groupthink are:

Illusions of invulnerability where the group think it is invincible and can do no wrong.

Collective efforts to rationalize or discount warnings.

Unquestioned belief in the moral correctness of the group.

Stereotyped views of the out-group, often as too evil, weak or stupid to be worth
bothering with.

Self-censorship as people decide not to rock the boat.

Pressure to conform.

A shared illusion of unanimity (everyone always agrees with everyone else).

Protecting the group from contrary viewpoints, by self-appointed mind-guards.

As a result, groups 'suffering' from group think are more likely to:

Be dogmatic.

Justify irrational oor decisions.

See their actions as highly moral.

Stereotype outsiders.

Groupthink happens most often when the group is already cohesive, is isolated from conflicting
opinions and where the leader is open and directive. The lack of a formal decision process is also
common.
Problem-solving and task-oriented groups are particularly susceptible.
Resulting decisions are often based on incomplete information and fail to consider alternatives
and risks.

Example
The most famous example of Groupthink is the presidential advisory group who almost led
Kennedy into invading Cuba and potential nuclear war in the Bay of Pigs affair.

The Challenger disaster was another effect where NASA officials disregarded engineers concerns
and decided to launch the shuttle.
For an enjoyable example, watch the movie 'Twelve Angry Men', which is about blind agreement
and dissent on a jury.

So what?
Defending
The leader should avoid being too directive and be vigilant for groupthink effects. External
opinions should be taken seriously or even having external people included in meetings. The
group should be split into subgroups for reporting back and discussion. Individuals should be
privately polled for personal opinions.

Halo Effect
Description
When we consider a person good (or bad) in one category, we are likely to make a similar
evaluation in other categories.
It is as if we cannot easily separate categories. It may also be connected with dissonance
avoidance, as making them good at one thing and bad at another would make an overall
evaluation (which we do anyway) difficult.

Research
Edward Thorndike found, in the 1920s, that when army officers were asked to rate their charges
in terms of intelligence, physique, leadership and character, there was a high cross-correlation.

Example
Just because I dress like a rock star, it does not mean I can sing, dance or play the guitar (come
to think of it, the same is true of some real rock stars!).

So what?

Using it
Show how you are good at something, even somewhere relatively unimportant, and then talk
about something else where the other person can infer you are equally good.

Heuristic-Systematic Persuasion Model


Description
People either use heuristics and short-cuts in decision-making or they systematically process the
merits and demerits of a given argument.
Heuristics include our own emotions as we ask How do I feel about this? although this can
cause a problem where we mix up the cause and effect of our emotions.
Systematic processing is more likely when:

Careful thought is likely to generate judgment confidence.

The message is uncertain or unexpected and more thought is needed to work out
what it means.

The message is particularly relevant to the person, such as when it is about them
personally or about their goals or interests.

The person does not agree with the message or feels threatened, and is seeking to
resist any persuasive attempts.

Example
When asked to donate to a charity I will quickly dig into my pocket. If asked to help more
actively, I will think about it more carefully.

So what?
Using it
Embed heuristics and trite statements in a peripherally-aimed speech and theres a good chance
they will get through.

Defending
When things are important do not use short-cut decision-making, especially if others are
encouraging you to do so.

Hostile Media Phenomenon


Description
Opposite groups, such as at football matches, will both perceive balanced and neutral views as
hostile to their side. This is why referees are universally disliked.
We see the world through the eyes of our own side and thus have very biased view of anything
about situations where we compete.

Research
Vallone, Ross and Lepper (1985) showed news broadcasts about the Middle East to Arabs and
Israelis. Each group thought the broadcasts were biased towards the other side.

Example
Fighting children will both will see intervening teachers as being 'unfair'.

So what?
Using it
Beware of treating innocent bystanders as being 'on the other side' (they are actually potential
recruits!).

The Hot Hand Phenomenon


Description
The Hot Hand Phenomenon occurs where people believe that 'success breeds success' such that
when a person succeeds at something then they are more likely to succeed in subsequent
attempts, whereas the truth is that they are still governed by the laws of chanced.
Whilst there is some truth in this in that a person may be particularly fit or their confidence is
boosted by an initial success, the 'Hot Hand' phenomenon goes past this where people make
assumptions that are statistically inaccurate.
The Hot Hand Phenomenon is also known as the Hot Hand Fallacy, and is sometimes contrasted
with the Gambler's Fallacy, where reversals of fortune are assumed.

Research
Gilovich, Vallone, & Tversky questioned 100 basketball fans. 91% thought a player has a better
chance of making a shot after having just made his last two or three shots than he does after
having just missed his last two or three shots.
Given a player who makes 50% of his shots, these subjects thought that the shooting
percentage would be 61% after having just made a shot 42% after having just missed a shot.
84% thought it important to pass the ball to someone who has just made several shots in a row.
A later statistical analysis of shots showed that these assessments were wildly inaccurate.

Example
A soccer player scores two goals. More of his team mates start passing him the ball more often
in the assumption he is 'on the ball'.

So What?

Using it
Talk up how you (or others) are 'on form' as you encourage them to support you.

Defending
If a player (including you) seems hot, enjoy the skill but do not bet on the 'run' continuing.

Hindsight Bias
Description
It can be embarrassing when things happen unexpectedly. To cover up this embarrassment we
will tend to view things which have already happened as being relatively inevitable and
predictable.
This can be caused by the reconstructive nature of memory. When we look back, we do not have
perfect memory and tend to fill in the gaps.
This is also known as the I-knew-it-all-along effect, reflecting a common response to surprise.
Hindsight bias can be reduced when people stop to think carefully about the causes of the
surprise. It is also important to consider how other things might have happened.

Research
Fischhoff gave participants a detailed description of an event that could have had various
outcomes. When the people were told of what 'happened' (this was varied for the experiment, of

course) and then asked to estimate the probabilities of the various outcomes, they increased the
likelihood of the 'actual' outcome.

Example
Fatalism is a whole branch of philosophy dedicated to explaining how things are inevitable. It is
very helpful for those using hindsight bias.

So what?
Using it
If you want someone to believe something, engineer a slightly disturbing surprise such that they
will have to change their beliefs (and even their memories) in order explain it.

Defending
When you are surprised, bite your tongue before you say you are not surprised. It is not a sin to
be surprised and it is a great opportunity for real learning.

Hyperbolic discounting
Description
Given a choice, we choose a small benefit in the short term over a larger benefit in the longer
term.

However, if all choices appear to be in the longer term, larger benefits will be chosen, even if
these appear even later than the smaller benefit.
The name 'hyperbolic' comes from the fact that when plotted on a graph, the change in
preferences for short and long-term gives a hyperbolic shape over time. This reflects the way we
that value things is inversely proportional to delay.
A contributory reason for this may be that our perception of time is non-linear. The year ahead
seems quite long, whilst a year in ten years time is conceived as being shorter. In our
conception of time, we often use a 3-D visual representation, in which the effects of perspective
foreshorten more distant periods.

Research
Ainslie showed that this effect happens with pigeons, implying that it was a deep instinct.

Example
If you were offered the choice between $50 now and $100 a year from now, most would ask for
the $50.
However, given the choice between $50 in nine years or $100 in ten years you would be likely
choose the $100 in ten years.

So What?
Using it
Offer immediate payment and you may well get a discount. When selling, you can sell for a
higher price if you allow the other party to pay later.

Defending
Be rational about the utility of things. When offered 'pay later' deals, understand the real effect
on your finances.

Illusion of Asymmetric Insight


Description
We commonly believe that we understand others better than they understand us.
The rationale for this stems from our external, objective viewpoint and the assumption that the
other person has a significant blind self, whilst our own blind self is small.
There is also asymmetry in the reverse situation -- we believe we understand ourselves better
than others understand us and may feel insulted if they try to show they understand us more
than we do.
The same effect happens for groups, where the in-group believes they understand out-groups
better than out-groups understand them.
Overall, this is a position where we generally assume we know more than others, perhaps
because we know more about what we know.

Research
Pronin et al found that college roommates believed that they knew themselves better than their
roommates knew themselves.

Example
In an argument with another person you tell them what they are like in great detail because
clearly they have very little self-knowledge. They argue back telling you things about yourself
that are clearly wrong or that you knew anyway. How can people be so stupid?

So What?
Using it
Be cautious about judging others and assumptions that they do not know themselves.

Defending
When others try to read your mind, forgive them their foolishness. Do not be drawn into
slanging matches.

Illusory Correlation
Description
We often mistakenly assume things are correlated when they are not. When we make this
mistake, we will find ways to prove it or simply believe and assert the correlation.
This is particularly likely when the things we are correlating stand out in a distinctive way.
The opposite is an invisible correlation where an actual correlation is missed, for example the
link between smoking and cancer was not realized for a long time.

Research
Redelmeier and Tversky (1996) assessed 18 arthritis patients over 15 months, whilst also taking
comprehensive meteorological data. Virtually all of the patients were certain that their condition
was correlated with the weather. In fact the actual correlation was close to zero.

Example
I meet people from around the world. One of the ways I assess people is how generous they
are. I meet a person who is very generous. I like them and ask where they are from, which
turns out to be Iceland. I later meet another generous person who also turns out to be from
from Iceland.
I assume that most people from Iceland are, by my standards, generous.

In fact, I've spoken to many people from Iceland before who were not that generous, but I did
not pay attention to their origins.

So what?
Using it
Assert correlation between the use of your product and the health, wealth and happiness of
everyone who uses it.

Defending
When a correlation is asserted, ask for proof. Beware also when you find yourself finding
correlationit may have been caused by subtle manipulation of your expectations.

Imagined Memory
Description
Although we reconstruct memory, we can often tell the difference between what is a real
memory and what is an imagined memory.
Real memories include more:

Sensory data. We recall colors, how things physically felt, smells, etc.

Detail, including irrelevant stuff. Where books were on the bookshelf. What a person
at the bus stop looked like. etc.

Association, such that the memories logically link to other memories and events.

Logic. Imagined memories can be impossible.

We can also get confused and turn an imagined memory into what we think is a real memory.
Repeated thinking about something can add the necessary detail.

Example
Police cross-questioning witnesses can implant false memories. Hypnotic techniques are
particularly susceptible.
Police also know what to look for in liars.

So what?
Detect lying by asking about sensory data, detail, etc.

Impact Bias
Description
When we think about some emotional event, we tend to over-estimate how strongly we will feel,
how long this will last and other factors that impact us. This applies to both negative and
positive events.
In doing so, we tend to forget that other events in our life, as well as our general ability to
recover from trauma will mitigate these feelings. Gilbert et al called this ability to recover the

'psychological immune system', in the way that we psychologically fight bad feelings and hence
recover from trauma faster than we might otherwise do.

Research
Gilbert et al demonstrated in 6 studies that participants overestimated the duration of their
affective reactions to the dissolution of a romantic relationship, the failure to achieve tenure, an
electoral defeat, negative personality feedback, an account of a child's death and rejection by a
prospective employer.

Example
When I think about breaking up with my girlfriend, I believe I will be so upset I will unable to do
my job effectively for a long time to come.

So What?
Using it
Persuade people by asking them to think about the emotional impact of events you describe.
They will over-estimate and hence be more open to suggestions.

Defending
Think twice when considering your emotional response to events. Know that we are better able
to cope than we sometimes give ourselves credit for.

Implicit Personality Theory


Description
This is the general expectations that we build about a person after we know something of their
central traits. For example when we believe that a happy person is also friendly.

Example
I may assume intelligent people are arrogant, quiet people are timid and aggressive people are
stupid.

So what?
Using it
Understand the traits that are implicitly linked with traits with which you want to be associated.
Then display these traits and by inference, you will assumed to have the other traits. For
example, a person who is polite and attentive may well be assumed to be trustworthy also.

Defending
Think carefully about people to whom you are giving trust. Do you have real evidence about
their trustworthiness, or are you guessing it from other cues.

Impression Management
Description
When we are under scrutiny, we will try to deliberately manage the impressions that others form
of us.
We will use self-enhancement to make us seem good, for example through smart dress, careful
language, etc. The alternative is other-enhancement to make the other person feel good, such
as with flattery.

Example
Watch people being interviewed on TV. Notice how a good interviewer uses other-enhancement
to relax them. Spot how people use self-enhancement to look good.

So what?
Using it
Look good, sound good, make the other person feel good. But dont over-do it!

Defending
Appearances are deceptive.

Inattentional Blindness
escription
Inattentional Blindness occurs where attention to one thing causes us to miss what to others
may seem to be blindingly obvious.
We have a limited ability to focus and attention in one area can distract us from another area.
Visually, if we are engaged in imagination we create internal pictures that uses some of the
bandwidth of the image processing parts of the brain. This may impede the ability to process
real-world images.
This effect is significantly increased after drinking even a small amount of alcohol, which may
dull our ability to attend.

Research
Simons and Chabris served participants drinks, which unbeknownst to the subjects either
contained alcohol or did not.
After downing their drinks, the participants watched a 25-second video clip of six people playing
with a ball. They were instructed to count the number of passes.
Halfway through the video, a person dressed in a gorilla suit ran through the game beating its
chest.
Subjects who had consumed the alcoholic beverage were twice as likely to miss seeing the
gorilla, even though it was onscreen for nearly a third of the test.

Example
A person driving whilst talking on a mobile phone misses a red light at a crossroads and has a
serious accident.
If I look for red things, all red things seem to jump out at me. In doing so, I am less likely to
notice green things.

So What?
Using it
To distract people away from one thing, get them to focus on something else thing. Giving them
even a bit of alcohol increases this effect.

Defending
When people seem to be distracting you, look elsewhere to see what is happening.

Information Bias
Description
When we are trying to make a decision, we generally seek data on which to rationally base the
choice. Where this goes wrong, is when we assume that all information is useful, and that 'more
is better'.
Sometimes, extra information adds no significant value. Sometimes it simply serves to confuse.

Research

Baron, Beattie, and Hershey (1988), gave subjects a diagnostic problem involving fictitious
symptoms, tests and diseases. Many subjects said they would need additional tests even when
they had sufficient data.

Example
A manager gets consultants to do a study of the marketplace when a third party report is
already available at far less cost.

So What?
Using it
When you want people to pay attention to your information, even when they have other
information you may well be able to present it, for example as 'new findings'.
You can also deliberately create overload by encouraging people to seek more and more data.

Defending
Think first about what information you need and go for that which is just sufficient and
necessary.

Information Manipulation Theory


Description
In order to persuade or deceive, a person deliberately breaks one of the four conversational
maxims:

Quantity: Information given will be full (as per expected by the listener) and without
omission.

Quality: information given will be truthful and correct.

Relation: information will be relevant to the subject matter of the conversation in


hand.

Manner: things will be presented in a way that enables others to understand and
with aligned non-verbal language.

Example
A student is late handing in an essay. They approach the lecture trembling and weeping, saying
how they have just been dumped by their long-term partner and forgot to hand in the essay
(they had done it in time, honestly!).

So what?
Using it
Persuade by omitting information, telling untruths, going off the subject and confusing the other
person. Use excuses. Be economical with the truth. Woffle.

Defending
Question what you are told, especially you find yourself changing your mind as a result. Probe
for detail. Seek corroborating evidence. Watch the body language.

Information Processing Theory


Description
To be persuaded, you have to first pay attention to a message and then agree with it. To agree
with it, you must compare your previous view with the new view and reject the previous view.

Example
'Testimonial' promotions often have people telling how they used to think that their old washing
powder was good until they tried the new Sudso brand. This is telling the audience how to think.

So what?
Using it
Ensure the other person hears your message. Elicit any opposing views they have and guide
them through the comparison with your message.

Defending
Beware of people telling you how to think and make decisions. Do not be led.

Informational Social Influence


Description
When we do not know how to behave, we copy other people. They thus act as information
sources for how to behave as we assume they know what they are doing. Also because we care
a great deal about what others think about us, this provides a safe course of actionat the very
least, they cannot criticize us for our actions.
We are more likely to use this principle when the task in question is important to us.
This leads to such effects as people ignoring public muggings and cult members being led into
bizarre and even suicidal acts.
Private acceptance occurs when we genuinely believe the other person is right. This can lead to
permanent changes in beliefs, values and behaviors.
Public compliance occurs when we copy others because we fear ridicule or rejection if we behave
otherwise.

Informational social influence (also called social proof) occurs most often when:

The situation is ambiguous. We have choices but do not know which to select.

There is a crisis. We have no time to think and experiment. A decision is required


now!

Others are experts. If we accept the authority of others, they must know better than
us.

In other words, when we are not sure of our own ability to know what to do, we will look to
others to tell us.

Example
Police often find themselves in situations of ambiguity and crisis. People will naturally turn to the
police for advice in such situations.

So what?
Using it
Get the other person into a state of relative confusion where they are uncertain about what to
do next, then lead them to where you want them to be. It works best if you go first, doing it.
Telling them what to do can also be effective, but requires them to accept you as an authority.
For permanent change, precede this by sufficient work that they trust you completely and view
you as an authority with enviable values and beliefs.

Defending
When the situation is ambiguous or in crisis, do not just look to other people (who may well be
looking to you). In particular, beware of people who set themselves up as an authority without
adequate proof (and a white coat or commanding attitude is not proof).
Know that you always have individual choice, just as you have individual responsibility for your
own actions. In any situation, you always have common sense available to you. Do not abandon
it.

In-Group Bias
Description
If we believe that someone else is in a group to which we belong, we will have positive views of
them and give them preferential treatment.

This works because we build our self-esteem through belonging, and the presence of someone
from an in-group reminds us of that belonging.
The opposite of in-group bias is out-group biaswhere, by inference, out-group people are viewed
more negatively and given worse treatment. This is the basis of racial inequality.
In-group linguistic bias is where out-group people are described in abstract terms (which
depersonifies them) when they conform to the out-group stereotype. Out-group people will be
referred to in more specific, concrete terms when they act in unexpected ways.

Research
Henri Tajfel visibly divided people in to random groups. They rapidly found in-group people
preferable to out-group people, even finding rational arguments about how unpleasant and
immoral the out-group people were.

Example
Watch children in the school yard. Notice how they form groups and how they treat those not in
their gang.

So what?
Using it
Make yourself and the other person a part of the same group, and they will be biased towards
you (and away from anyone you cast as out-group).

Inoculation
Description
Like in medicine, this is using a weak dose of a counter-argument to make a person resistant to
it.
Inoculation works because it exposes people to arguments, making them think about and
rehearse opposing arguments. When they hear the arguments again, even stronger versions,
they pay less attention to them, especially if they believe their opposing argument is stronger.
There are three stages to inoculation:

Warning: Tell the person that it is about to happen so they are forced to get ready.

Weak attack: Attack them, but weakly so they can easily resist.

Active defending: The person must actively defend them self (and find it relatively
easy to do so).

Example
My child was being verbally abused at school. I play-acted with him the situation. I played the
abuser, but with weak and stupid insults. He played himself, laughing them off. When he got to
school, he found verbal abuse easy to dismiss.

So what?
Using it
After persuading someone, inoculate them to prevent anyone else later undoing your good work.
Tell them about people who will try to persuade them otherwise and help them develop counterarguments.

Defending
Just because an argument works against something, it does not mean it is valid in other, similar
circumstances.

Insufficient Punishment
Description
This is the dissonance felt when a person lack sufficient external justification for having resisted
a desired activity or object. This often results in the person devaluing the forbidden thing.

Research
Aronson and Carlsmith (1963) threatened children with either mild or severe punishment if they
played with favored toys. None of them played with toys, even when left alone with them.
Afterwards the children who had only been mildly threatened favored the toys less. Lacking a
strong external justification, they had made internal attributions that they actually did not like
the toys so much.

Example
Company disciplinary systems often start with a weak dissuasion. This is all that most people
need. Before long they not only follow but believe the company line.

So what?
Using it
To stop someone doing something, dont threaten massive punishment. Threaten only just
enough (or use some other minimal technique) to stop them for a while. Eventually, they will
give up voluntarily.

Interpersonal Deception Theory


Description
Lying happens in a dynamic interaction where liar and listener dance around one another,
changing their thoughts in response to each others moves. Liar behavior includes:

Manipulating information: to distance themselves from the message, so if the


message is found to be false, they can extricate themselves. Thus they use vague
generalities and talk about other people.

Strategically control behavior: to suppress signals that might indicate that they are
lying. For example their face may be more impassive and body more rigid.

Image management: for example by smiling and nodding more.

Example
Watch small children who have found out about lying. They point at their siblings, put on their
best 'innocent' expression, hold their hands behind their backs. At that age they are very flexible
and learn fast. Before long they can pull the wool very well over their parent's eyes.

So what?
Using it
To detect liars, watch for the above behavioral patterns. People who are liars themselves tend to
be better at detecting lying because they know the techniques better.

Interpersonal Expectancy Effect


Description
The way we act towards others depends on how we perceive them and hence predict how they
will behave. The way they behave is then impacted by our expectation of them as they act to
fulfill this expectation and so a self-fulfilling prophecy is created.
As a part of this process we expect and look for particular attributes and behaviors in the other
person and ignore those factor which we do not expect. This helps confirm our suspicions. It
also downplays the importance of these behaviors for the target person.
This is also known as the 'Pygmalion Effect', after the book by George Bernard Shaw.

A related effect is the Galatea Effect, whereby we meet the expectations (high or low) we place
upon ourselves.

Research
Rosenthal and Jacobson told teachers that random students were 'late bloomers' and would soon
show a marked improvement in their performance. These children did improve, because of the
expectancy that had been created in the teachers and their subsequent change in behavior
towards these students.

Example
A manager tells subordinate that they are good at analysis but bad at interpersonal influence.
The person's analysis results improve but their relationships with others deteriorates.

So What?
Using it
To get someone to behave in a certain way, first believe that they are capable of doing this and
then communicate your expectation to the other person.

Defending
When people expect you to fail, reject this and set your own expectations.

Interview Illusion
Description
After only a brief conversation with another person, we believe we understand them well enough
to be able to predict their behavior in all kinds of different situations. As we learn more about
the person, we may change this view, but each time we will end up believing our revised model
is sufficient to predict.
We also tend to integrate this perception so well we forget how we felt before we created this
perception. We believe that we have always seen the person in this way.
Our deep need to predict and the limited time we have with others leads us to use this short-cut
approach. Our needs for consistency and Hindsight Bias affects our changing perception of
ourselves.

Example
Parents and especially grandparents are often shocked at the behavior of young people. They
have forgotten and revised their perception of their former adolescent misbehaved selves.

So what?
Particularly when you first meet people, help them to form a useful prediction model of yourself.
If things go wrong, don't worry. Although it is more difficult, once you have convinced them that
you have changed, unless you have seriously betrayed them, they will forget how they
previously perceived you (literally forgiving and forgetting).

Intrinsic Motivation
Description
Intrinsic motivation is when I am motivated by internal factors, as opposed to the external
drivers of extrinsic motivation. Intrinsic motivation drives me to do things just for the fun of it,
or because I believe it is a good or right thing to do.
There is a paradox of intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. Intrinsic motivation is far stronger a
motivator than extrinsic motivation, yet external motivation can easily act to displace intrinsic
motivation (see the Overjustification Effect).

Example
Most people's hobbies are intrinsically motivated. Notice the passion with which people collect
little bits of china or build detailed model ships. Few people carry that amount of passion into
their workplace.

So what?
Using it
If you can get someone to believe in an idea or align their values with what you want, then you
have set very powerful motivation in place. Seek to make them feel good about what you want.
Also minimize extrinsic motivation. So, for example, pay them fairly, then do everything to keep
money out of the equation of why they come to work.

Investment Model
Description
Our commitment to a relationship depends on how satisfied we are about:

Rewards and costs and what we see as a fair balance.

A comparison with potential alternative relationships

How much we have already invested in the relationship.

Investments can be financial (like a house), temporal (such as time spend together) or
emotional (such as in the welfare of the children). Investments can thus has a sunk cost effect,
where a person stays in a relationship simply because they have already invested significantly in
it.

Research
Rusbult tracked relationships of college students. Their satisfaction and investment were key
predictors staying in the relationship, with availability of alternatives as a trigger for getting out.

Example
Cults often have a sequence of 'inner circles', each of which requires increasing investment. To
get through these doors cult members have to donate their worldly wealth, go through bizarre
rituals, learn lengthy texts, and so on.

So what?
Using it
To keep a person in a relationship, get them to invest heavily in it.

Defending
If you are unhappy with a relationship, remember that the past is past. Look to the future and
what you can get there rather than what you have spent and can never retrieve. All you have is
the rest of your life.

Involvement
Description
When a person is emotionally involved in an issue they will process information and hence react
in a different way to when the issue is not important and they are not really paying attention to
it.
Involved people want to make their own decisions. Non-involved people do not want to put
effort into decisions and will probably let you tell them what to think.
Involved people want clear and sufficient information from which to draw conclusions. People
can be encouraged to become non-involved people when they are snowed with a lot of complex
information. Quantity may thus be inaccurately equated to quality.

Example
When a charity can get someone involved, they know that they can get that person for life. The
first involvement need only be a small one-day helping with a collection, but you are already on
the hook. Once they have you on the local committee, then you are definitely a lifer.

So what?
Using it
Draw people in. Get them involved. Give them things to do. Let them make decisions.

Defending
Just because you are involved it doesn't mean you have to go all the way. Always ensure you
have a way out.

Ironic Reversal
Description

When we are trying to avoid doing, saying or thinking about something, we often find that this is
impossible.
This is because of the 'Catch 22' situation that in order to avoid thinking about something, we
need to know what we are trying to avoid and hence we have to think about it. The situation
then gets worse as our failure to succeed causes us to work harder at the task.
The thought can also act as a block against other thoughts. When searching for a word for a
particular situation, the more available words that pop into our minds first become more
available and consequently keep coming back when we try to think of other words.
As we get worn out by this fruitless task, our ability to control the situation weakens, we get
stuck in the cycle and thinking can easily turn into saying and doing. Repetition also tends to
strengthen our belief in what we are thinking, as inMere Exposure Theory.
This spiral can easily fall into obsessive-compulsive behaviors and many psychological disorders
include an inability to stop thinking about something uncomfortable.

Research
Wegner and associates asked people not to mention a word and then talked to them giving them
cues that would trigger the participants into saying the words. When the participants were put
into a higher-stress situation, then mentioned the words far more often.

Example
Hypnotists use this in phrases like 'You may notice how, as your eyes close, your hand gets
heavier and you sink into a deep trance.'
When you are trying to solve a crossword puzzle or quiz question, even though your first idea is
not right, it gets in the way of you finding the correct answer.
Telling children not to drop a plate makes them think about dropping it, thus taking them a step
closer to the act!

So what?
Using it
If you want someone to think about something, talk about it (or even tell them not to
do/say/think about it). To accentuate the effect, get them cognitively overloaded and stressed
beforehand.

Defending
The way out of the trap is not to try. It's like going to sleep: the more you try, the more you
can't. The trick is to not be bothered about it, reducing the stress.

James-Lange Theory of Emotion


Description
We have experiences, and as a result, our autonomic nervous system creates physiological
events such as muscular tension, heart rate increases, perspiration, dryness of the mouth, etc.
This theory proposes that emotions happen as a result of these, rather than being the cause of
them.
The sequence thus is as follows:
Event ==> arousal ==> interpretation ==> emotion
The bodily sensation prepares us for action, as in the Fight-or-Flight reaction. Emotions grab our
attention and at least attenuate slower cognitive processing.
This is not a new theory and was proposed in 1884. It combined the ideas of William James and
Danish physiologist Carl Lange, who largely independently arrived at the same conclusion.
William James described it thus:
"My theory ... is that the bodily changes follow directly the perception of the exciting
fact, and that our feeling of the same changes as they occur is the emotion. Common
sense says, we lose our fortune, are sorry and weep; we meet a bear, are frightened
and run; we are insulted by a rival, and angry and strike. The hypothesis here to be
defended says that this order of sequence is incorrect ... and that the more rational
statement is that we feel sorry because we cry, angry because we strike, afraid
because we tremble ... Without the bodily states following on the perception, the
latter would be purely cognitive in form, pale, colorless, destitute of emotional
warmth. We might then see the bear, and judge it best to run, receive the insult and
deem it right to strike, but we should not actually feel afraid or angry"
Lange particularly added that vasomotor changes are the emotions.
It was largely supplanted by the Cannon-Bard theory, but of late, it has made something of a
come-back, although the notion of causality is not as strong and there is ongoing uncertainty as
to the chicken-and-egg question of which comes first, physiological and emotional feelings.

Example
I see a bear. My muscles tense, my heart races. I feel afraid.

So What?
Using it
Watch people's physiological signals (facial color, etc.) and deduce what emotions will result.

Defending
Notice your own physical feelings and muse about how these lead to emotion. If you could relax
deliberately, would you feel better?

Justification of Effort
Description
If I have to work hard to achieve something, I will afterwards find it more attractive.
This effect works because the thought of having wasted effort would show me to be stupid and
consequently damage my self-esteem. If others know about the effort, then the cost of backing
out is even higher.

Research
Aronson and Mills (1959) recruited students for a discussion group, making it varyingly difficult
for each third. When asked to rate a boring tape recording, it was scored most highly by those
who had had the most severe initiation.

Example
Gangs and secret societies have known this for years, with sometimes very painful and
degrading initiation rites.

So what?
Using it
Make entrance examinations, rituals, etc. difficult. This will not only help keep membersit will
also give your club an air of exclusivity.

Just-world phenomenon
Description
We tend to believe that the world is, on the whole, fair, and that wrongs will be punished and
rights rewarded at some time in the indeterminate future.
The Bible agrees: 'whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.' (Galatians 6:7). The
Christian religion also includes the potential for reward and punishment to be meted out after
death in the fields of heaven or fires of hell.

This attitude helps us make sense of the world as we translate events as being just, foreordained or inevitable.
This is also a mindset of bullies, who believe that they are punishing their victims.

Research
A number of studies have shown beliefs that people who suffer deserve it and have brought
their ills upon themselves.

Example
A common belief is that homeless people are obviously lazy, whilst rich people probably got their
wealth through diligent hard work.

So What?
Using it
Help people attribute cause where it serves your purpose.

Defending
Be charitable. Beware of assuming the unfortunate deserve what they get.

Kin Selection / Prosocial Behavior


Description
Prosocial behavior occurs when someone acts to help another person, particularly when they
have no goal other than to help a fellow human.
So why does this altruistic behavior appear? One thought, of Kin Selection, is that it is a genetic
response to supporting the broader gene pool. Social conditioning can also have be a cause and
prosocial parents lead to prosocial children.
The Reciprocity Norm may also have an effect, where people help others, knowing that one day
they may want someone else to help them in the same unselfish way. Demonstrating such social
norms is likely to get you admiration from other people around you.
Prosocial behavior varies with context as much as between people. Men will tend to be
chivalrous for short periods, whilst women will work quietly for longer periods. People who are in
a good mood are more likely to do good, as are people who are feeling guilty. People in small
towns are more likely to help than those squashed together in cities.

Example
Evidence abounds of people helping others without asking for anything in return. This is the
whole principle of charity. Their rationale for helping others is often Intrinsic Motivation.

So what?
Using it
Ask for help. It is surprising how often people will give it, without thought of asking for
something in return.

Defending
When you are helping other people out of the goodness of your heart, beware of people taking
advantage of you. This does not mean you should not be altruistic; just beware of vampires.

Lake Wobegon Effect


Description
We tend to over-estimate our abilities and achievements, particularly in comparison with other
people.
Most importantly, we like to consider ourselves 'above average'. High achievers (or those who
consider themselves to be such) think themselves in the top X percent, where X may be 25, 10,
5, 2 or 1, depending on the frame of reference.
This happens largely because we derive our sense of self-worth in contrast with other people.
Thus, rather than considering myself 'good', I actually seek to be 'better'.
Lake Wobegon appears in the radio series 'A Prairie Home Companion', by Garrison Keillor,
where "all the children are above average".

Research
This effect has been found in many studies, for example Zuckerman and Jost found that most
students considered themselves more popular than average.

Example
I am a consultant and am therefore more knowledgeable about most areas than all of my
clients. I am also cleverer than most other consultants.

So What?

Using it
Flatter people by recognizing them as above average or deflate them by being honest about how
average they are.

Defending
Look in the mirror and know that you are not perfect. Accept this and accept yourself. Beware of
acting cleverer than you are and hence appearing stupid to others.

Language Expectancy Theory


Description
In any situation we will have expectations about what language will and will not be used. When
language outside this region is used, we will be surprised and possibly shocked.
For example men are expected to use stronger language than women. Men are also expected to
use stronger language when they are with other men than when a woman is present. And men
on a football field are expected to use stronger language still.
When language that is unexpected or vivid is used, then it is often remembered more, possibly
because the listener thinks about it more, perhaps to try and understand why it was used or to
process the mental pictures created.

Research

Burgoon, Jones and Stewart (1975) found that women using intense language were less
persuasive than men using the same language.

Example
My teenage daughter has picked up some rather choice language from her peers and has started
to use it at home. I find use of such foul-mouthed words in my home appalling, especially from
her.

So what?
Using it
Understand the effects of language in a given situation. Know when you will surprise and shock
and use the appropriate words for desired effect.

Law of Attraction
Description

The more we have similar attitudes to other people, the more we are attracted by them. This is
a pretty linear relationship. 'Birds of a feather flock together' much more than 'Opposites
attract'.

Research
Byrne (1971) asked people to complete a questionnaire on their personal characteristics. The
people were then shown (fabricated) descriptions of a range of different people and asked how
they felt towards them. Those with characteristics similar to the person being studied were rated
as more attractive.

Example
Professional societies, religious groups, sports clubs. All are opportunities for birds of a feather
to find one another.

So what?
Using it
Assume the attitudes of the person you are trying to persuade.

Defending
Notice who you like. Notice the similarity of your and their attitudes. Now notice what they may
have to gain from this similarity.

Leader-Member Exchange (LMX) Theory


Description
Leader-Member Exchange Theory, also called LMXor Vertical Dyad Linkage Theory, describes
how leaders in groups maintain their position through a series of tacit exchange agreements
with their members.

In-group and out-group


In particular, leaders often have a special relationship with an inner circle of trusted lieutenants,
assistants and advisors, to whom they give high levels of responsibility, decision influence, and
access to resources. This in-group pay for their position. They work harder, are more committed
to task objectives, and share more administrative duties. They are also expected to be fully
committed and loyal to their leader. The out-group, on the other hand, are given low levels of
choice or influence.
This also puts constraints upon the leader. They have to nurture the relationship with their inner
circle whilst balancing giving them power with ensuring they do not have enough to strike out on
their own.

The LMX process


These relationships, if they are going to happen, start very soon after a person joins the group
and follow three stages.
1. Role taking
The member joins the team and the leader assesses their abilities and talents. Based on this,
the leader may offer them opportunities to demonstrate their capabilities.
Another key factor in this stage is the discovery by both parties of how the other likes to be
respected.
2. Role making
In the second phase, the leader and member take part in an unstructured and informal
negotiation whereby a role is created for the member and the often-tacit promise of benefit and
power in return for dedication and loyalty takes place.

Trust-building is very important in this stage, and any felt betrayal, especially by the leader, can
result in the member being relegated to the out-group.
This negotiation includes relationship factors as well as pure work-related ones, and a member
who is similar to the leader in various ways is more likely to succeed. This perhaps explains why
mixed gender relationships regularly are less successful than same-gender ones (it also affects
the seeking of respect in the first stage). The same effect also applies to cultural and racial
differences.
3. Routinization
In this phase, a pattern of ongoing social exchange between the leader and the member
becomes established.

Success factors
Successful members are thus similar in many ways to the leader (which perhaps explains why
many senior teams are all white, male, middle-class and middle-aged). They work hard at
building and sustaining trust and respect.
To help this, they are empathetic, patient, reasonable, sensitive, and are good at seeing the
viewpoint of other people (especially the leader). Aggression, sarcasm and an egocentric view
are keys to the out-group wash-room.
The overall quality of the LMX relationship varies with several factors. Curiously, it is better when
the challenge of the job is extremely high orextremely low. The size of the group, financial
resource availability and the overall workload are also important.

Onwards and upwards


The principle works upwards as well. The leader also gains power by being a member of their
manager's inner circle, which then can then share on downwards. People at the bottom of an
organization with unusual power may get it from an unbroken chain of circles up to the
hierarchy.

So what?
Using it
When you join a team, work hard to also join the inner circle. Take on more than your share of
administrative and other tasks. Demonstrate unswerving loyalty. See your leader's point of view.
Be reasonable and supportive in your challenges to them, and pick your moments carefully.
As a leader, pick your inner circle with care. Reward them for their loyalty and hard work, whilst
being careful about maintaining commitment of other people.

Defending
If you want to be an 'ordinary' member of a team, play your part carefully. There will be others
with more power. If you want to lead an equal team, beware of those who curry favor.

Learned Helplessness Theory


Description
How we attribute the events that occur in our lives has a significant effect on our attitudes and
efforts in improving our lot. In particular there are three types of belief affect us:

Stable or unstable cause: If we believe that events are caused by factors which do
not change, we assume that it is not worth us trying to change them. So if I believe
my success is based on an unchangeable ability, it will seem that it is not worth my
trying to improve myself.

Internal or External cause: We can believe that events are caused by ourselves or
something outside of ourselves. If I assume a serious car crash was my fault, I will
be less likely to drive again than if I attribute it to a greasy road.

Global or Specific cause: If we believe that events are caused by a large number of
factors then we feel we can do less to change things than if we see few and specific
causes.

Research
Seligman rang a bell whilst shocking a restrained dog. He then allowed it to move out of the way
and rang the bell again. The dog did not move! What it had learned was not that ringing a bell
means pain, but that it is futile trying to get away from shocks.

Example
If a poor test result is attributed to a lack of intrinsic capability as evidenced by many past
failures, then we are likely to reduce our efforts, be more depressed and view ourselves in an
ever-fading light.

So what?
Using it
To build influence, make and encourage attributions about other people so they learn
helplessness and become dependent on you.
To help people become less helpless, show them what is happening. Help them make
attributions that lead to positive actions and 'learned confidence'.

Defending
Positively seek unstable, external and specific causes that mean you can change your world.
Guard against friends and others who push you into dependence.

Least Interest Principle


Description
In any relationship, the person who has the least interest in continuing the relationship (i.e. has
the best walk-away strategy) has the greatest power.

Example
If I am thinking vaguely about selling my house and the buyer is desperately keen on buying it,
I have no need at all to reduce my price. I could even invent 'another interested person' to help
crank the price up.

So what?
Using it
Develop your walk-away position. Ensure you can leave at any time. Try to damage the other
persons ability to walk away. Watch out for them damaging your walk-away position.

Defending
Never appear desperate for agreement: you will only lose.

Linguistic Inter-group Bias


Description
We tend to communicate positive in-group and negative out-group behaviors more abstractly
than negative in-group and positive out-group behaviors, which are communicated more
explicitly.
Abstract communications tends to be persistent over time. Thus we use abstraction to imply that
in-group people are more consistently good and out-group people are consistently bad.
When an item is communicated abstractly, it may be followed up with more detail, perhaps to
explain cause.

Research
In a review of Italian reports, Riva and Giuseppe found differences where Berlusconi (head of
the right-wing coalition) said: "Previti [a member of his coalition] asked the Rome judge for a
suggestion." Referring to the same event, a sample of out-group discourse followed: Rutelli
(head of the left-wing coalition) said: "When Previti intended to bribe the Rome judge, he invited
him in[to] his office."

Example
My friend John was helpful.
My enemy Jim failed again.
John did not help Jennifer cook the fish last night, because he was not feeling well and had
helped at lunchtime.
Jim helped Jennifer pick up the fish from the supermarket this morning.

So What?

Using it
To establish yourself in a group, use these patterns to indicate your positive regard for the group
and lower regard for out-group members.

Defending
When others talk about you in a way that indicates out-group thinking, challenge them or
otherwise correct the language to establish your in-group linguistic pattern.

Locus of Control
Locus of Control as a principle was originated by Julian Rotter in 1954. It considers the tendency
of people to believe that control resides internally within them, or externally, with others or the
situation.
Note that, like other preferences, this is a spectrum. Some people have a wholly internal or
external locus of control, but many will have some balance both views, perhaps varying with
situation. For example some may be more internal at home but more external at work.

Internal
People with a high internal locus of control believe in their own ability to control themselves and
influence the world around them. They see their future as being in their own hands and that
their own choices lead to success or failure.
Rotter (1990) describes the internal locus of control as:
'the degree to which persons expect that a reinforcement or an outcome of their
behavior is contingent on their own behavior or personal characteristics'

Their belief in their ability to change things may well make them more confident and they will
hence seek information that will help them influence people and situations. They will also likely
be more motivated and success-oriented. These beliefs may even lead them to be more
politically active.
They are more likely to have expectancy shifts, where a sequence of similar events are expected
to have different outcomes. They tend to be more specific, generalizing less and considering
each situation as unique. People in middle age tend to have the highest internal locus of control.
A downside of an internal locus of control is that, in accepting responsibility, the person has to
also accept blame for failures.

External
People with a high external locus of control believe that control over events and what other
people do is outside them, and that they personally have little or no control over such things.
They may even believe that others have control over them and that they can do nothing but
obey.
Rotter (1990) describes the external locus of control as:
'the degree to which persons expect that the reinforcement or outcome is a function
of chance, luck, or fate, is under the control o f powerful others, or is simply
unpredictable.'
With such beliefs, people with an external locus of control tend to be fatalistic, seeing things as
happening to them and that there is little they can do about it. This tends to make them more
passive and accepting. When they succeed, they are more likely to attribute this to luck than
their own efforts.
They are less likely to have expectancy shifts, seeing similar events as likely to have similar
outcomes. they hence step back from events, assuming they cannot make a difference. Younger
and older people tend to have higher external locus of control than people in middle age.

Stability
A factor that affects both internal and external locus of control is the stability of the causal
factor. Common attributed causes in each of the four cases are shown the table below:

Locus of Control
Four common attributed causes

Internal

External

Stable

Ability

Task
difficulty

Unstable

Effort

Luck

Stability

Hence a person with stable internal locus of control will likely assume that failure is due to a lack
of their ability, whilst a person with unstable external locus of control might say they were
unlucky.

So what?
Understand the preference of the person and the stability of the cause being discussed. If you
want to build rapport, attribute to similar causes. If you want to challenge, get them to consider
alternative causes or change their locus of control.
If you want people to take more control of their lives, act in a more healthy way or become
more successful at studies or work, then encouraging them to take a more internal position may
well help.

Looking-glass Self
Description
We see ourselves through the eyes of other people, even to the extent of incorporating their
views of us into our own self-concept.

Example
Teenagers are often strongly influenced by their peers and will go beyond conforming to
changing their self-image to match.

So what?
Using it
If you want someone to believe something about themselves, act towards them as if it were
true.

Love
Description
Love is a massive motivator and can lead people to perform all kinds of self-sacrificial acts.
In the ninteenth century, the French writer Stendhal described the stages of the 'crystallization'
of love as:

Admiration: Marvelling at the qualities of the other person.

Acknowledgement: Realizing the pleasure of gaining their attention.

Hope: Imagining having the love reciprocated.

Delight: Happiness with the inflated view of the other person's beauty and merit.

More recently, Sternberg describes three styles of love:

Intimacy: Closeness to, and liking of, the other person.

Passion: Intense longing and physiological arousal. Ecstasy on reciprocation, despair


on rejection.

Commitment: The readiness to do anything for the sake of the love.

These combine to create seven styles:

Liking: Intimacy alone

Infatuation: Passion alone

Empty love: Commitment alone

Romantic love: Passion + Intimacy.

Companionate love: Intimacy + Commitment

Fatuous love: Passion + Commitment

Consummate love: Intimacy + Passion + Commitment

The games of love are played on six different stages, and individuals will have preferred modes
(Lee):

Eros: Passionate and physical. Looks are important.

Ludus: love as a non-serious game. Harm is not intended but often happens.

Storge: slow-growing, evolving out of friendship and affection. Similarity is


important.

Pragma: Commonsense and pragmatic. Known conditions must be met.

Mania: An emotional roller-coaster. Stereotyped romantic love.

Agape: Unselfish and giving. Spiritual and other-focused.

Peterson and Seligman reduce love to three prototypical forms:

Romantic love

A childs love for a parent

A parents love for a child

Love can be viewed as a form of transferencewhereby one person puts a part of themself into
another person and then feeling lost without that part, and subsequently feeling whole again
when they relate to that person.

Example
Many romantic mismatches occur when partners both state their love for one another, but each
is talking about a different style of love. Maybe you have experience of this?

So what?
Using it
If you want blind followers, look good and build a passionate image. Otherwise find the history
of love of the other person and play to their needs.
Great sales people know that the true secret is to love both their products and their customers.
They also know that true love binds, and devious trickery is out of the question.

Defending
If you dive into love heart first, pause first and ask whether the other person is truly committed.
Beware of blind love. Love can be the best thing ever, but also know that love hurts, especially
when betrayed.

Matching Hypothesis
Description
People who become romantic partners tend to have a similar level of physical attractiveness.
This also tends to be true about normal friends.
This does not work when one person has particularly low self-esteem. If I dont like myself, then
I wont like other people who are like me. Also, in times of uncertainty, we may prefer someone
different who is more likely to be able to handle the uncertainty.

Research
Walter et al. ran a 'computer dating' dance where people were actually matched up with others,
based on attractiveness criteria. Those who were of similar attractiveness were more likely to
continue dating afterwards.

Example
Look at the romantic partners you know--are they generally of similar physical attractiveness?
Chances are that the majority will be.

So what?
Using it
If your level of physical attractiveness is different from the person you want to partner with,
take action! Dress differently. If youre desperate, consider plastic surgery.

Defending
Look beyond attractiveness! Beauty is only skin deep. Find out those other things which are
important before making any lasting commitments.

Mental Models/Schema
Description
A schema is a mental structure we use to organize and simplify our knowledge of the world
around us. We have schemas about ourselves, other people, mechanical devices, food, and in
fact almost everything.
Schemas can be related to one another, sometimes in a hierarchy (so a salesman is a man is a
human).
Schemas affect what we notice, how we interpret things and how we make decisions and act.
They act like filters, accentuating and downplaying various elements. We use them to classify
things, such as when we pigeon-hole people. They also help us forecast, predicting what will
happen. We even remember and recall things via schemas, using them to encode memories.

Schemas help us fill in the gaps. When we classify something we have observed, the schema will
tell us much about its meaning and how it will behave, hence enabling threat assessment and
other forecasting.
Schemas appear very often in the attribution of cause. Themultiple necessary cause schema is
one where we require at least two causes before a fit to the schema is declared.
Once we have created or accepted a schema, we will fight hard to sustain it, for example by
ignoring or force-fitting observations that do not comply with the schema. It is only after
sustained contrary evidence that many of us will admit the need to change the schema.
Schemas are often shared within cultures, allowing short-cut communications. Every word is, in
effect, a schema, as when you read it you receive a package of additional inferred information.
We tend to have favorite schema which we use often. When interpreting the world, we will try to
use these first, going on to others if they do not sufficiently fit.
Schemas are also self-sustaining, and will persist even in the face of disconfirming evidence.
This is because if something does not match the schema, such as evidence against it, it is
ignored. Some schema are easier to change than others, and some people are more open about
changing any of their schemas than other people.
Other types of schema include:

Social schemas are about general social knowledge.

Person schemas are about individual people.

Idealized person schemas are called prototypes. The word is also used for any
generalized schema.

Self-schemas are about oneself. We also hold idealized or projected selves,


or possible selves.

Role schemas are about proper behaviors in given situations.

Trait schemas about the innate characteristics people have.

Event schemas (or scripts) are about what happens in specific situations.

Object schemas about inanimate things and how they work.

The plural of Schema is Schemas (USA) or Schemata (UK). Schemas are also known as mental
models, concepts, mental representations and knowledge structures (although definitions do
vary--for example some define mental models as modeling cause-effect only).

Research

Cohen showed people a videotape of a scene including a librarian drinking. The people recalled
(reconstructed) it with the librarian drinking wine, because their schemas for librarians classified
them as being more likely to drink wine.

Example
Some people dislike police because they have a schema of police as people who perceive
everyone as guilty until proven innocent. Other people feel safe around police as their schemas
are more about police as brave protectors.

So what?
Using it
Find people's schemas around the area of interest, then either create trust by utilizing their
schema or reframe to change their schema.

Defending
Become more self-aware, knowing your own schemas and why there are useful for you. When
people try to change them, you can then more rationally understand whether your or their
schemas are better.

Mere Exposure Theory


Description
The more exposure we have to a stimulus, the more we will tend to like it. Familiarity breeds
liking more than contempt. Things grow on us and we acquire tastes for things over time and
repeated exposure.
This stimulus can be people, commercial products, places, etc. We can get to like most things,
given time. We can even get to like unpleasant things, such as when prisoners miss prison.
When we make choices, the familiar is often chosen over the unfamiliar. Better the devil you
know as they say.
Exposure can be overdone. After a certain number of exposures we will ignore the message. If
the exposures continue, we will get irritated and take revenge by assuming negative responses
to the message.
The exposure effect is linked to the disgraced world of subliminal messages and subliminal
(<50ms) exposure has increased liking.

Research
Zajonc (1968) showed Chinese characters to people from one to 25 times, asking them to guess
the meaning. The more they saw a character the more positive a meaning they gave.
Miller (1976) showed people posters about stopping foreign aid up to 200 times. They were
persuaded most by moderate exposure. After 200 exposures they reacted negatively to the
message!
Kunst-Williams and Zajonc briefly (1 ms) showed octagons to experimental participants.
Although they were later unable to identify the octagons, their liking for the shapes increased.

Example

Adverts use this effect. By repeated exposure, viewers gradually start to like the product without
every having tried it. It is also possible to become sick of endlessly repeated ads, so advertisers
will regularly change the advertisement (thereby giving rise to a highly profitable industry).

So what?
Using it
To convince someone to buy a product, let them use it or even borrow it for a while. Find ways
of getting it in front of them, whether it is by advertisements, giveaways or whatever. Repeat
advertisements, but not too often.

Defending
When you keep seeing something, wonder why. Notice if someone or some organization is
presenting that something to you. Decide consciously about what you like.

Mere Thought Effect


Description
Just thinking about something makes it seem more significant and important. This leads us
towards increasingly more extreme attitudes as the item, fresh in the mind, seems bigger and,
in contrast, other things seem smaller. In this way, mere thought creates polarization of
attitudes.
When people have long enough to muse about something, the mere thought effect may be
reversed as their continued reflection and consideration of alternatives acts to balance out the
effect, reducing the polarization effect.

Example
Just before a customer visit, a sales person sends the customer some research in areas related
to and supporting the salesperson's product. In the sales meeting, they then mention aspects of
what they are selling that coincide with the research, which the customer mentions. They

discuss this further, after which the customer places an order. The down-sides of the product
being sold are never mentioned.

So What?
Using it
To persuade somebody of something, get them thinking about it. Also prevent them thinking
about alternatives.

Defending
Always take time to consider multiple viewpoints when making a major decision. Do not get
hurried into a decision.

Minimum Group Theory


Description
Even when a people are arbitrarily assigned to unimportant group categories, they will still act in
classic ways towards in-group and out-group people.

Research
Tajfel (1970) randomly allocated schoolboys to groups who preferred paintings by Klee or
Kandinsky. When asked to allocate points, they were biased toward their own group.

Example
People in a crowded elevator will silently act together to dissuade additional people from trying
to get in.

So what?
Using it
Find a minor point of similarity with the other person and put yourself and the other person in it,
with rivals in outside. Talk about us and them.

Defending
Decide on who your friends are by substantial and sustained evidence, not sudden chumminess
and belonging to a common and unimportant category.

Minority Influence
Description
Minorities can have disproportionate influence. One person has little influence on a larger group
(other than in the position they hold relative to others), and so a stranger will have very little
influence. However if that lone voice is joined by one other, they now form a minority group and
their confidence and ability to influence jumps significantly, provided that they are in clear
agreement.
The social cost of holding a view that is different from that of the majority is relatively high,
which means minorities often hold their views more strongly. Their passion often leads them to
acquire significant expertise in their areas of interest, thereby increasing their ability to
persuade from a position of authority.
Although groups seek to normalize their members behaviors, they also will often tolerate
minorities. Sometimes this is unavoidable, when the group is a coalition where the minority
holds a disproportionate power, such as in coalition governments or where the minority controls
key resources, such as a oil supply.
Many people in majorities are only there because they do not hold strong views and are
generally conservative in nature and are willing to flex their views to fit in with others. This
accepting position also makes them vulnerable to influence and, when faced with a strongly-held
minority view, they may be shocked into considering the arguments.
For minorities to be taken seriously, they must be very tight knit, expressing the same viewpoint
over a period of time. If they do not do this, they will be ignored as a bunch of individual
eccentrics. Given their size, there is more likely to be dissenting voices within any majority. A
consistent minority exerts as much influence as a non-unanimous majority, particularly if they
can 'divide and conquer'.
Minorities can strengthen their social validity by claiming the ethical high ground in particular
areas of interest, such as human rights, and so position themselves in the moral right. They can
also leverage and express the views of external, but influential groups, such as when a single
person of a given racial background can threaten anti-racial adverse publicity.
Majorities tend to exert normative social influence, whilst minorities tend to use informational
social influence.

Example
Trade Unions for specific professions have had disproportionate effect for example through in
crippling strikes. Some companies have countered by closing down and then restarting as a nonunion employer.

So what?
Using it
If you disagree with norms of groups in which you work or socialize, start a minority group. If
possible, ensure the minority group controls a critical resource or other form of effective
blackmail which can be used to prevent rejection or punishment.
An effective approach is to accumulate brownie points by first supporting the majority, and
then branching out. With luck and skill, you may take a number of others with you.
You can also remain in the main group and quietly support minority groups who can be used to
do things you could not otherwise perform.

Defending
Where you are in the main group and have an influential minority, seek ways of either
accommodating or circumventing them. You can also seek to divide and conquer, sowing seeds
of discontent within the minority group.

Mood-Congruent Judgment
Description
Our judgments are not cold and logical: they are biased by our moods. When we are in a good
mood, we see the world in a more friendly light, and our judgments are more positive. Likewise,
when we are grumpy we evaluate things around us as being bad.
This can create a spiral, as positive judgments lead to positive moods. They also lead to positive
moods in others, who then infect us back again.
Mood can be affected by such as movies, music and comments of others.

Research
Isen and colleagues gave some people in the street small gifts. Another person then asked them
to participate in a 'consumer survey' where they asked about how satisfied they were with their
televisions, cars, etc. People who had receive the gift were more positive.

Example
Depressed people see the world as unfriendly and threatening, which keeps them depressed.

So what?
Using it
If you want someone to make a decision, either wait until they are in a supporting mood or work
to get them into that mood.

Defending
Before making decisions, consider the mood you are in and how this might affect your decisions.
After the decision also review the affect of your mood. Consider how you got in the mood and
who influenced this.

Mood Memory
Description
When we encode a memory, we not only record the visual and other sensory data, we also store
our mood and emotional state. Our present mood thus will affect the memories that are most
easily available to us, such that when we are in a good mood we recall good memories (and vice
versa). The associative nature of memory also means that we tend to store happy memories in
a linked set.
Mood-congruent memory occurs where current mood helps recall of mood-congruent material,
regardless of our mood at the time the material was stored. Thus when we are happy, we are
more likely to remember happy events.

Mood-dependent memory occurs where the congruence of current mood with the mood at the
time of memory storage helps recall of that memory. When we are happy, we are more likely to
remember other times when we were happy.

Research
Eich and his associates got people into good or bad moods, gave them neutral words and asked
them what past memories came to mind. The memories recalled often had associated moods
similar to those that had been induced.

Example
I like going to the movies. I'm feeling good this evening. I know--I'll go to the movies!
I'm depressed. My whole life seems a misery.

So what?
Find people's current moods by asking about neutral things. Accentuate their current mood and
demonstrate how good they can feel by eliciting things from the past.
If you want to remember something, get into the mood you were in when you experienced it.

Multi-Attribute Choice
Description
How do people make choices when there are many attributes to compare (which is most of the
time).

When there are simple choices, they will usecompensatory strategies, trading off different
attributes, such as condition against color. Traded attributes are often of similar priority. Another
approach is to focus on differences.
With complex choices, non-compensatorystrategies are often used.

The conjunctive rule is used to eliminate choices that are outside boundaries, such as
price levels.

The disjunctive rule is used to evaluate each choice in terms of its best attribute.

Lexicographic choice is used to choose on one dimension only.

Elimination-by-aspects compares one key dimension at a time, eliminating those that


do not fit.

Example
When I bought a new pair of loudspeakers, I used a compensatory strategy to compare and
trade off differences between the speakers available in the shop.

So what?
Using it
Find out the strategies that they prefer, for example with a discussion about previous choice and
then play to it.

Defending
Be aware of the strategies you use and the alternatives. Watch out for people leading you up the
garden path.

Negative Face/Politeness Theory


Description
We maintain two kinds of face:

Positive face, when others like, respect and approve of us.

Negative face, when we feel that others cannot constrain us in any way.

Both of these may be threatened when someone makes a request of us.


This causes a dilemma, as if I ask in a pleasant way, positive face is satisfied but negative face
may lead them to think they can take advantage of us. The reverse is also true, as defensive
talk will threaten the positive face.
Conformance to the social rules of politeness is treading a central and safe path which neither
threatens nor signals that you may be threatened.
Politeness means acting to help save face for others.

Example
When I am with my boss, I show positive face. When I am with the new guy (who seems pretty
incompetent) I show negative face.

So what?
Using it
Build trust by being polite. Use negative face with out-group people or those who would
dissuade the other person.

Defending
Just because a person is polite it does not mean they have good intentions towards you.

Neglect of probability bias


Description
Probability is sometimes a difficult concept to cope with, particularly when you want to make an
absolute yes or no decision. As a result some people completely ignore it, assigning either 100%
or 0% to the likelihood of future events.
This leads to an easy black-and-white decision-making process, but a likely disappointment
when things do not turn out as expected.

Research
Baron, Granato, Spranca, and Teubal asked children what should be done in a scenario about
wearing seat belts. They prevaricated between use and not depending on arguments used.

Example
A person managing a software project promises that it will be delivered on a certain date after
planning for all tasks but without including any contingency for risks and unexpected issues.

So What?

Using it
Use black and white arguments to test whether people will avoid probability and then (if they
do) argue in this way for your case and against alternatives.

Defending
Always know that there is no black and white. Every future event has a probability, which may
also change over time with other events.

Non-Verbal Behavior
Description
The communication without words. The face is used a great deal. Hand signals, shrugs, head
movements, etc. also are used. It is often subconscious. It can be used for:

Expressing emotion (e.g. smiling to show happiness)

Conveying attitudes (e.g. staring to show aggression)

Demonstrating personality traits (e.g. open palms to show accepting qualities)

Supporting verbal communication

Non-verbal behavior also varies across cultures (such as the ok finger O), although the six
major emotions (anger, fear, disgust, sadness, happiness and surprise) are common across the
world.
Non-verbal behavior is commonly calledbody language.

Research
Mehrabian (1971) found that non-verbal aspects were a significant part of communication,
particularly when mixed messages are sent.
Later studies showed the situation to be more complex, with percentages varying with the
situation or even with individual things being said. For example, if a person is not moving, then
words and tone take far greater proportion.

Example
Try the difference between listening to someone with your eyes closed and listening/watching
with your eyes open. It is much easier to understand when you are watching them.

So what?
Using it
Read the other persons non-verbal behavior. Watch for changes in response to your
communications. Also spot mixed messages for when the voice says one thing body says
anotherthis can be a sign of attempted deception.
Beware of popular myths about body language (such as crossing arms signifying defensiveness).
Many such anecdotes are at best dangerous half-truths. Body language is most significant when
they appear in clusters, at the same time as a significant event (such as being asked an
embarrassing question) and when it is unlikely that the other person is trying to control their
non-verbal behavior.
Watch your own body language too for signs of what your subconscious is thinking. Be careful
when controlling it, as this can lead perceived mixed messages from you.

Defending
Watch your own and others non-verbal behavior. Use it to improve your understanding of what
is going on, especially at the subconscious level. Make conscious decisions.

Normative Social Influence


Description
There is a fundamental human need to belong to social groups. Evolution has taught us that
survival and prosperity is more likely if we live and work together. However, to live together, we
need to agree on common beliefs, values, attitudes and behaviors that reduce in-group threats
act for the common good.
We thus learn to conform to rules of other people. And the more we see others behaving in a
certain way or making particular decisions, the more we feel obliged to follow suit.
This will happen even when we are in a group of complete strangers. We will go along with the
others to avoid looking like a fool. However the forces are strongest when we care most about
respect and love from others in the group. Thus families and friends can apply very strong
normative influence.
People with lower self-esteem and who crave approval of others may well be more easily
influenced this way.
When a person in a group does not conform, then they may be considered a deviant and both
private and public advice may be given to them on how to fit in. If they still do not obey norms,
they will eventually be ejected and membership of the group revoked.
National culture also has a significant effect, and people in countries like Japan, who have
collectivist cultures, are far more likely to be influenced than in more individualistic cultures,
such as in the USA (although it is a testament to the power of this effect that it still has a
massive impact here).

Research
Solomon Asch showed a group of people a line on a card and asked them to find a matching line
from a group of three lines on another card, one of which was pretty obviously the right choice.
The catch was that all except one person in the group were collaborators and chose the wrong
line. When it came to the victims turn, guess what? In a range of experiments, 76% of them
followed suit. The presence of just one supporter reduced this to 18%.

Example
Fads and fashions lean heavily on normative social influence. So do racial, political and other
situations of persuasion.

So what?
Using it
To change a persons behavior, put them in a group who (perhaps primed) clearly all exhibit the
desired behavior. Then engineer the situation so the person must exhibit the behavior or face
potential rejection or other social punishment. If they do not comply, ensure the group gives
steadily increasing social punishment rather than rejecting the target person immediately. When
they do comply, they should receive social reward (eg. praise, inclusion).

Defending
Where you want to do something and the group in which you currently are socially punishes you
for doing it, make a conscious decision as to whether it is worth fighting back or just giving up
and leaving. If they mean nothing to you, just carry on and ignore them.
It can also be very heartening to watch other people resisting (and your doing so may well give
heart to other doubters).
You can also acquire idiosyncrasy credits,where the group puts up with your eccentricities. To do
this, be consistent in what you do, whilst also showing that in doing so you are not threatening
the integrity of the group.

Objectification
Description
Complex ideas are, almost by definition, difficult to understand. To help us make sense of them,
we turn them into concrete images. There are three processes by which objectification is done:

Ontologizing gives an idea physical properties, for example by using close metaphors
like the mind as a computer.

Figuration turns the ideas into pictures or images, for example traffic jams.

Personification turns the idea into a person. For example, a genius as Einstein.

The term 'objectification' or depersonification is also used to describe the way we treat other
people as objects, in particular the way men can treat women as sex 'objects'. By reducing other
people to things, it permits us to treat them with less care and human concern, bypassing our
values around this subject.

Example
This car is like a thoroughbred race-horse. Just imagine thundering up the roads, with trees and
houses flying by. People will think you are Michael Schumacher.

In war, effort is often put into depersonifying the other side, thus legitimizing and even
encouraging killing them.

So what?
Using it
Explain your ideas through analogous or metaphorical things, pictures or people.

Defending
Just because the other person can explain their ideas clearly, it does not mean they are good
ideas.

Object Relations Theory


Description
Object Relations Theory is a theory of relationships between people, in particular within a family
and especially between the mother and her child. A basic tenet is that we are driven to form
relationships with others and that failure to form successful early relationships leads to later
problems.
It is also concerned with the relation between the subject and their internalized objects, as well
as with external objects. Thus we have a relationship with the internal mother as well as an
external one.

The development of male gender identity is seen as more difficult as the first person with whom
the infant identifies is female.
Winnicott differentiated between object-relating and object-usage. Object-relatingis a
phenomenon of the subject and thus about Projection and the earlyundifferentiated unity when
the mother facilitates the child's illusion of omnipotence. Object-usage is more developed, as it
requires cognitive separation from the object.

Discussion
The idea of object relations was invented and developed in a paper by Karl Abraham (1927),
however Melanie Klein is largely credited with developing the modern theory, particularly with
the mother as the principal object.
Unlike Freud, who focused on introjectionof same-sex parents, Object Relations Theory
considers the child having multiple internal objects.
Klein saw relations with the breast as significant. As the child feeds, it feels gratified and
satiated when the breast produces sufficient milk, in which case it is loved and cherished. When
the child is prematurely withdrawn or the breast does not provide sufficient food, the child is
frustrated and the breast is hated and the recipient of hostile thoughts. The mother thus
receives love or destructive attack depending on this.
The baby experiences extremes of feeling. When he is angry, it is total anger and rejects and
thrusts away the mother. When he is happy, he loves and adores her. He projects his bad feeling
and associates her with it.
ORT is related to Attachment Theory.

Operant Conditioning
Description
A behavior will increase if it is followed by positive reinforcement. It will decrease if it is followed
by punishment.
Operant Conditioning is thus learning by consequences.
Whereas Classical Conditioning involves automatic, pre-programmed responses, Operant
Conditioning involves learned behaviors. Also, whilst Classical Conditioning associates two
stimuli, Operant Conditioning associates a stimulus and a response.
Favorable circumstances are generally known as reinforcing stimuli or reinforcers, whilst
unfavorable circumstances are known as punishing stimuli or punishers.
Operant Conditioning is also known as Instrumental Conditioning.

Research
Skinner put rats and pigeons in a box where pressing a lever resulted in food being dispensed.
From accidental knocking of the lever, they quickly learned to deliberately press it to get food.

Example
Parents often try to balance praise and punishment. To be effective, they should punish only
behaviors they wish to extinguish--they should not punish for not doing what should be done.

So what?
Using it
If you want someone to work harder, do not punish them when they do not workreward them
when they do. If you want them to stop smoking, make it unpleasant when they do rather than
pleasant when they refrain.

Opponent-Process Theory
Description
We have pairs of emotions that act in opposing pairs, such as happiness and sadness, fear and
relief, pleasure and pain. When one of these is experienced, the other is temporarily suppressed.
This opposite emotion, however, is likely to re-emerge strongly and may curtail or interact with
the initial emotion.
Thus activating one emotion also activates its opposite and they interact as a linked pair.
To some extent, this can be used to explain drug use and other addictive behavior, as the
pleasure of the high is used to suppress the pain of withdrawal.
Sometimes these two conflicting emotions may be felt at the same time as the second emotion
intrudes before the first emotion wanes. The result is a confusing combined experience of two
emotions being felt at the same time that normally are mutually exclusive. Thus we can feel
happy-sad, scared-relieved, love-hate, etc. This can be unpleasant but as an experiential thrill it
can also have a strangely enjoyable element (and seems to be a basis of excitement).

Research
Solomon and Corbit (1974) analyzed the emotions of skydivers. Beginners experienced extreme
fear in their initial jump, which turned into great relief when they landed. With repeated jumps,
the fear of jumping decreased and the post-jump pleasure increased.

Example
A person buys something to cheer themselves up but later feels guilty at having spent so much.
So they buy something else to cheer up again.
A thrill seeker goes rafting. The excitement of the journey is a mix of fear of the next rapids and
relief at having survived the last one.

So What?
Using it
To stop a person feeling one thing, stimulate the opposite emotion.
Tell people good and bad news in close succession. Then in the confusion get them to agree to
your real request.

Defending
When you are stimulated to feel one emotion, pause and think about the future: will the
opposite appear afterwards? Is this what you want?
When you feel conflicting emotions, take care not to agree to anything. Calm down first.

Optimism Bias/Valence Effect


Description
We are generally more optimistic than pessimistic and tend to over-estimate the probability of
good things happening as compared to the chance of bad things happening.
The valence of anything is the emotional charge that we feel when we think about it. This can be
positive or negative emotion, which indicates positive valence or negative valence.
It is natural for us to want good things and so we think more about them. The reverse is
generally true when we think less of bad things. The availability that this creates when we are
assigning probability tends to make good things seem more likely.
Of course if people are pessimistic, then they may think bad things more likely. However, most
of us, most of the time, find optimism a more effective state as it can create a self-fulfilling
prophecy through the motivational effects it causes. It also likely has evolutionary benefits.

Because of the bias towards optimism, being slightly pessimistic is likely to make you more
realistic. People whose future is inescapable, such as those with a terminal illness can be more
realistic in this way.
FMRi tests have shown that optimism is related to reduced coding of undesirable information
about the future in the frontal cortex that has been is sensitive to negative estimation errors.
The 'Polyanna' effect is where a person sees good in all things and is overly optimistic. Whilst
some optimism can be helpful, being unremittingly positive is probably not the best survival
strategy.
The valence effect is sometimes also called 'wishful thinking' or 'optimism bias'.

Research
Rosenhan and Messnick offered subjects a pack of cards that had an equal number of smiling
faces and frowning faces. When asked to predict the likelihood of picking particular cards, the
subjects over-estimated the chance of picking a smiling face.

Example
A young person asked about the chance of them being successful in a difficult task will more
likely think they can succeed than that they may fail.

So What?
Using it
Play to the natural tendency of the valence effect and be positive when persuading others.

Defending
When accurate forecasting is important, remember this tendency and carefully balance the
positive and negative effects.

Other Enhancement/Impression Management


Description
When we are under scrutiny, we will try to deliberately manage the impressions that others form
of us.
We will use self-enhancement to make us seem good, for example through smart dress, careful
language, etc. The alternative is other-enhancement to make the other person feel good, such
as with flattery.

Example
Watch people being interviewed on TV. Notice how a good interviewer uses other-enhancement
to relax them. Spot how people use self-enhancement to look good.

So what?
Using it
Look good, sound good, make the other person feel good. But dont over-do it!

Defending
Appearances are deceptive.

Outcome dependency
Description
When we have something we are trying to achieve, then we will tend to bias our judgments
about the world and people around us to make the achievement of that goal more believable.
This works in positive and negative ways: we will like our potential friends and dislike our
potential enemies.
This is a form of optimism, preparing us give the situation the best chance to succeed.

Research
Berscheid and colleagues took people going on a blind date and showed them a video of their
potential partner in conversation with two other people. They then asked the participants to
rate the people in the video for likeability. The participants tended to rate their prospective
partner higher than the other people in the video.

Example
If you and I are put on the same team, I will believe that you are a likable, competent and
cooperative person.

So what?
Find a task to share with the other person. They will automatically like you more.

Out-Group Bias/In-Group Bias


Description
If we believe that someone else is in a group to which we belong, we will have positive views of
them and give them preferential treatment.
This works because we build our self-esteem through belonging, and the presence of someone
from an in-group reminds us of that belonging.
The opposite of in-group bias is out-group bias where, by inference, out-group people are
viewed more negatively and given worse treatment. This is the basis of racial inequality.
In-group linguistic bias is where out-group people are described in abstract terms (which
depersonifies them) when they conform to the out-group stereotype. Out-group people will be
referred to in more specific, concrete terms when they act in unexpected ways.

Research
Henri Tajfel visibly divided people in to random groups. They rapidly found in-group people
preferable to out-group people, even finding rational arguments about how unpleasant and
immoral the out-group people were.

Example
Watch children in the school yard. Notice how they form groups and how they treat those not in
their gang.

So what?
Using it
Make yourself and the other person a part of the same group, and they will be biased towards
you (and away from anyone you cast as out-group).

Out-Group Homogeneity
Description
We tend to classify people who are not in our in-group as being similar to one another. Theyre
all like that is a common reference term. In contrast, we see people in out in-group as being
more individual.
We thus tend to use a set of stereotypes for people from different countries, cities and
companies. These generalizations lead us to discriminate uniformly towards people from these
groups.
When visiting a new country or group, the behavior of the first few people we meet will quickly
be used to create a stereotype of the others in the same group.

Research
Students shown videos of other students making a choice about music were asked to assess
whether other students from the same college would make the same or different choices. When
they were told the other students were from their college, they forecast that the other students
would make a wide range of choices. When they were told that the other students were from
another college, they forecast that other students from that college would choose very similar
music.

Example

Much of the fighting around the world is based on differences of religion. Zealots cast the other
side as jointly and severally guilty for the sins of their peers and equally likely to commit the
same acts of war. Thus genocide seems the only answer as they blindly fight on.

So what?
Using it
To form your own group, visibly cast selected other people as all having specific undesirable
attributes. Act in a hostile manner to these out-group people when people you want to be in
your group are around.

Defending
When dealing with a person, find their out-group biases and them deliberately show how you do
not fall into any of those groups. Faced with overwhelming disconfirming evidence, they will be
likely to accept you into their group.

Overconfidence Barrier
Description
We tend to have too much confidence in the accuracy of our own judgments. As we find out
more about a situation, the accuracy of our judgments may well not increase, but our
confidence will, as we equate quantity with quality. Confidence also tends to increase if we are
given incentives to perform well.
Overconfidence is greatest when accuracy is near chance levels, and reduces as accuracy
increases from 50% to 80%. Once accuracy exceeds 80%, people become under-confident.

Related to this, in what has been called the 'God Complex', we tend to believe that we know the
answer to complicated problems. This can be seen in daily gossip where individuals confidently
propose solutions to world issues.

Research
Fischhoff, Slovic and Lichtenstein (1977) gave subjects a general knowledge test and then asked
them how sure they were of their answer. Subjects reported being 100% sure when they were
actually only 70%-80% correct.

Example
Teachers sometimes decide that some individuals and groups are more intelligent than others.
This can lead to a self-fulfilling prophecy.

So what?
Using it
Ask the other person something they dont know about. Then use their over-confidence. Or take
something they know and lever the seeds of doubt as to the absolute accuracy.

Defending
When making a judgment, stop to consider the reasons why you may be wrong. Practice this.
Before long, you confidence will more closely match the accuracy of your decisions.

Overjustification Effect
Description
This occurs where I attribute my behavior more to a conspicuous extrinsic motivator than to
intrinsic reasons.
This effect is less when rewards are given for performance success rather than simply
completing tasks, but can still be significant.

Research
Greene, Sternberg and Lepper (1976) played mathematical games with schoolchildren, which
the children seemed to enjoy. After a while, they started giving rewards for success. When they
took away the rewards, the children quickly gave up playing the games.
The explanation was that the children had decided that they were playing for the reward, not for
the fun.

Example
I fly largely with one airline, where I do not think I get particularly good service. I do it only
because I have been trapped into collecting their 'air miles' loyalty points.

So what?
Using it
If you want someone to really buy into something, do not use big extrinsic rewards.

Defending
Beware of short-cuts in thinking. Understand when someone rewards you what your real
motivation is. Even notice the effects of emotional rewards like smiling and congratulations.

Perceived Behavioral Control/Planned


Behavior Theory
Description
The best predictors of persons planned and deliberate behaviors are:

Their attitudes towards specific behaviors (not general attitudes).

Subjective norms, which are their beliefs about how their friends will view the
specific behaviors.

Perceived behavioral control, which is how easily they can perform the behaviors.

The Theory of Reasoned Action (TRA) was described in 1967 by Fishbein and includes the idea
that behavior is driven by intentions, which a function of an individual's attitude toward the
behaviour and subjective norms around the performance of the behavior. In 1985, this was
extended as the Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB).

Research
A number of women were asked a broad set of questions, including their attitude towards the
birth control pill and whether they might use it within the next two years. Two years later, they
were asked whether they had used the pill. Their previous general attitude turned out not to be
a very good predictor of their actions. Only when very specific questions had been asked were
these good predictors.

Example

Interviewers for jobs will often probe or otherwise test for these factors in an attempt to
discover whether the interviewee will fit well into the target environment.

So what?
Using it
Ask specific questions to elicit attitudes. Be careful about asking what their friends will think.
Show how easy it is to do the thing you want them to do.

Perceptual Contrast Effect


Description
When we make decisions, we tend to do it by contrasting between the decision item and
reference items. When two things appear close to one another, we will tend to evaluate them
against one another more than against a fixed standard.

Research
Sherif, Taub and Hovland (1958) found that when subjects first lifted a heavy weight, they
underestimated the weight of lighter weights they were subsequently asked to lift.

Example

When you meet two other people, you are likely to compare each against the other on several
dimensions to decide which you prefer. This may include physical beauty, similarity of interests
and various personality factors.
A simple physical way of illustrating perceptual contrast is to put one hand into hot water and
other into cold water, then move them both to lukewarm water. The cold hand will feel hot and
the hot hand will feel cold.

So what?
Using it
To make something look good, first show something of inferior quality. To get someone to buy
something expensive, first show them something even more expensive.

Defending
When you make a decision, think about the comparison standards you are using. If it is
something you have recently seen, consider whether the person who showed you the first thing
is using it for the contrast effect.

Perceptual Salience
Description

We tend to over-estimate the causal role (salience) of information we have available to us.

Research
Taylor and Fiske (1975) arranged two people facing each other having a conversation, with other
people sat in a circle around them. Afterwards, they asked the people from the circle to attribute
cause for several incidents. The people attributed more to the people whose faces they could see
better.

Example
When we see news of criminal muggings, we become more fearful when we go out, even though
the chance of us being hurt remains unchanged and very small.

So what?
Using it
Give the other person plenty of information that will help them make the decisions you want of
them.

Defending
When making important decisions, look beyond the available data.

Peripheral Route/Elaboration Likelihood


Model
Description
There are two ways we make decisions and hence get persuaded:

When we are motivated and able to pay attention, we take a logical, conscious
thinking, central route to decision-making. This can lead to permanent change in our
attitude as we adopt and elaborate upon the speakers arguments.

In other cases, we take theperipheral route. Here we do not pay attention to


persuasive arguments but are swayed instead by surface characteristics such as
whether we like the speaker. In this case although we do change, it is only temporary
(although it is to a state where we may be susceptible to further change).

One of the best ways motivating people to take the central route is to make the message
personally relevant to them. Fear can also be effective in making them pay attention, but only if
it is moderate and a solution is also offered. Strong fear will just lead to fight-or-flight reactions.
The central route leads to consideration of both arguments for and against and a choice is
carefully considered.
People are more motivated to use the central route when the issue has personal relevance to
them. Some people have a higher need for cognition, deliberately thinking about more things
than people with a lower need. These people with a higher need for cognition are more likely to
choose the central route.
When they are feeling good, they will want to sustain this and will avoid focusing on things that
might bring them down again, so they take a more cursory, peripheral route. People in a
negative or neutral mood are more likely to take the central route.
In practice, this is more of a spectrum than a bipolar model. We may increasingly notice and
consider evidence or steadily let events act simply as cues to automatic responses.

So what?

Using it
To effect longer-term changes in attitude, use the central route. For simple compliance, use the
peripheral route.
If you have their attention, be logical and present a compelling argument. If, however, they are
not really paying attention to you (and you can deliberately distract them), put them in a good
mood (eg. with a joke) then use subtle cues such as attractive clothes and leading statement.
Then quickly lead them one more step at a time to where you want them to be.

Defending
Learn to pay attention to how you are making decisions. In particular, pause when you are about
to make a commitment (and especially if it means signing a legal document). Think back about
how you made your decision. Was it reasoned, or did you somehow seem to arrive at the point
of commitment without much conscious thought (perhaps being distracted by the other person)?

Personal Construct Theory


Description
People develop internal models of reality, called constructs in order to understand and explain
the world around them in the same way that scientists develop theories. Like scientists, they
develop these constructs based on observation and experimentation. Constructs thus start as
unstable conjecture, changing and stabilizing as more experience and proof is gained.
Constructs are often defined by words, but can also be non-verbal and hard to explain, such as
the feeling you get when your football team just won the championship.
When constructs are challenged or incomplete the result is emotional states such as anxiety,
confusion, anger and fear.
Constructs are often polar in that they have opposites (and are hence dichotomous). Thus the
construct of good implies another of bad. Polar constructs create one another: thus 'good'
cannot exist without 'bad'. When poles are denied, they are said to besubmerged.
Although we share the idea of constructs through words, the detail of constructs are particular
to the individual and hence are called personal constructs.
Constructs that are important to the person are core constructs, whilst others are
calledperipheral constructs.

Constructs may be expanded (dilated) to accommodate new ideas or constricted to become


more specific.
Kelly's (1955) basic postulate is that 'A person's processes are psychologically channelized by
the ways in which he anticipates events'. He followed this with eleven corollaries.

The construction corollary: We conservatively construct anticipation based on past


experiences.

The experience corollary: When things do not happen as expected, we change our
constructs (thus reconstructing). This changes our future expectations.

The dichotomy corollary: We store experience as constructs, and then look at the
world through them.

The organizational corollary: Constructs are connected to one another in hierarchies


and network of relationships. These relationships may be loose ortight.

The range corollary: Constructs are useful only in limited range of situations. Some
ranges are broad, whilst other ranges are narrow.

The modulation corollary: Some construct ranges can be 'modulated' to


accommodate new ideas (e.g. 'big'). Others are 'impermeable'.

The choice corollary: We can choose to gain new experiences to expand our
constructs or stay in the safe but limiting zone of current constructs.

The individuality corollary: As everyone's experience is different, their constructs are


different.

The commonality corollary: Many of our experiences are similar and/or shared,
leading to similarity of constructs with others. Discussing constructs also helps to
build shared constructs.

The fragmentation corollary: Many of our constructs conflict with one another. These
may be dictated by different contexts and roles.

The sociality corollary: We interact with others through understanding of their


constructs.

Example
I look at a teenager and consider him uncouth, arrogant and thoughtless. All of these are
constructs that I have created or learned in order to explain the behavior of teenagers I have
met.

So what?

Using it
Listen to people. Hear the constructs they use. Then talk to them using their constructs. They
will be amazed at how much you understand them.
You can also lead them in building new constructs.
To destabilize the other person, attack their constructs.

Defending
When you are building new ideas, consider where these have come from. Was there a
conversation with an influential other person involved?

Personal Validation Fallacy


Description
When asked to assess the accuracy of general words that supposedly describe our personality,
we tend to score them as highly accurate. This is particularly true if they are positive and show
us in a good light (although an occasional 'incisive' criticism can be very powerful).
This effect increases if we trust the source of the 'analysis' and believe that it is customized just
for us.
This also works when we are asked to give or choose words that describe ourselves, where we
tend to use sweeping generalisms that could describe many other people.
The personal validation fallacy is also called the Forer effect, after its originator. It is also called
the Barnum effect, after the old Barnum circus, because of the way that fortune tellers will
amaze us with their accuracy by using broad terms based on a simple assessment of us.

Research
Forer gave students a 'personality test' and then gave them all the same general analysis, based
on an combination of horoscopes. He then asked them to rate the accuracy of the analysis, from
1 (inaccurate) to 5 (accurate). They gave an average score of 4.26.

Example
When did you last read a newspaper horoscope about you and thought it quite accurate? If you
had read the other horoscopes, you might also have found that they seemed quite accurate too.

So What?
Using it
Use general terms to show you understanding of others and build trust and rapport with them.

Defending
Beware of personality assessments that use rather general descriptions. Read those for other
people and share your own to check that yours works for you only.

Personalism/Correspondent Inference Theory


Description
When we are making attributions about other people, we compare their actions with alternative
actions, evaluating the choices they have made. It is easier for us to make internal attributions
when there fewer non-common effects between these choices. That is, when both choices have
a lot in common and there are thus fewer things which differentiate them. When the behavior is
not what we would have forecast, we assume that it is due to their internal preferences or
character traits.
Information about five factors is sought to make these inferences:

Whether the behavior being considered is voluntary and freely chosen.

What is unexpected about the behavior (non-common effects).

Whether the behavior is socially desirable.

Whether the behavior impacts the person doing the inferring (hedonic relevance).

Whether the behavior is of personal interest to the person doing the inferring
(personalism).

Example
A person is choosing between two jobs. They are very similar apart from location and salary.
This makes it easier for us to attribute their choice to the persons individual preferences. If they
choose the lower salary job, it is easy for us to assume that the person is not money-driven.

So what?
Using it
When surprised by another persons actions, it may seem obvious that this is because this is just
because of who they are. We should be careful to look closer in these cases as this may not be
true.

Persuasion
Description
Persuasion occurs when a person causes someone else to change. The change may either be to
their inner mental systems or to their external behavior. Inner systems include values, attitude,
beliefs, schema, goals. The change may creation of something new, or extinguishing or
modifying something that already exists.
Elements of persuasion include:

Intent: We usually persuade intentionally, but we can also accidentally persuade. In


fact every interpersonal interaction causes a change to both parties.

Coercion: Coercion gains compliance, where behavior is changed, but without any
internal commitment or change of inner mental systems (in fact these may be
strengthened in the opposite direction).

Context: A changed behavior may be constrained to limited context.

Plurality: You can persuade one person or many people. You can even persuade just
yourself.

Presence: You can be physically with the other person (allowing maximum
communication) or communicating via such as the telephone or written words.

Media: Communication may be done via a range of media.

Inner systems are often held as networks of connected beliefs, etc. Persuasion often acts to
break and redirect those interconnections.
A three part model of persuasion includes the source, message and target:

Communicator or source of the persuasion

The actual persuasive appeal

The target audience of the appeal

Persuasive Arguments Theory


Description
Before meeting in a group, members of the group will develop arguments to support their
positions. To sway others, the arguments will tend to be more extreme. In the end, one
argument will win and the group will find itself supporting an extreme decision.

Example

Company strategists often frame competitors and the general business environment in very
alarming terms in order to shock managers into accepting their radical ideas.

So what?
Using it
Before the meeting, meet with others and persuade them to your point of view.

Defending
Before the meeting, meet with others to learn their point of view and encourage moderation.

Placebo Effect
Description
The 'placebo effect' occurs where ineffective medical interventions have actual effect. For
example where a doctor gives a patient a non-pharmaceutical pill, yet the patient responds as if
it was pharmaceutically effective.
The placebo effect for pills increases with:

Larger pills

More pills

Red or orange ('hot') pills

The brand of the pill

More expensive pills

The reason the placebo works is because the patient believes it will be effective. There may also
be some conditioning effect. The credibility of the person administering the placebo is hence
another important factor, as is the manner of administration.
Alternative medicines, from acupuncture to homeopathy have been considered as working
primarily (or completely) due to the placebo effect. 'Quack medicines' peddled by charlatans
depend for their success on the placebo effect.
Doctors know that this often works, which is why they use it when there is no clear alternative.
There is an ethical dilemma with using a placebo, as it necessarily involves deception.
The placebo is by no means a cure-all and there are many diseases where it has no effect. The
effect also varies with the individual, their credulity and how convinced other people they meet
are that it will work.
More generally, the 'placebo effect' is also used to describe any situation where suggestion is
used to some effect or where the principle of 'mind over body' is significant.
'Placebo' is Latin for 'I shall please'.
The 'nocebo effect' (Latin for 'I will harm') is a reverse of the placebo, where interventions have
a negative effect.

Example

A person complains of regular headaches and normal analgesics do not seem to have an effect.
A doctor prescribes a placebo but says it is a new wonder-drug. The headaches magically
disappear.

So What?
Using it
Make suggestions that people will be able to do something or something will happen to them
because of some intervention you have used.

Defending
If you are unsure that people have good intent for you, beware of them making linked
suggestions. It it still always a good idea to believe doctors.

Planning Fallacy
Description
When building plans, we tend to under-estimate how long things will take in practice.
This is often due to an assumption that no risks will occur, no changes will happen to the
specification, nobody will be ill or leave, all supplies will arrive on time and so on.
A common rule of thumb for project managers is to do a best-case estimate then multiply by
two or more, depending on the project.

Research
Buehler et al asked students to estimate how long a thesis would take to complete. The average
response was 33.9 days. In practice, they took an average of 55.5 days.

Example
In planning a business change project I assume that everyone will cooperate and attend all
meetings and not object to any of the changes. Of course this does not happen as expected and
the subsequent issues make the project drag on for three times as long as I had expected.

So What?
Using it
When making plans, multiply your first estimate by at least two. When others make plans, check
that they have plenty of contingency in and have planned to manage the risks.

Planning Fallacy
Description
When building plans, we tend to under-estimate how long things will take in practice.
This is often due to an assumption that no risks will occur, no changes will happen to the
specification, nobody will be ill or leave, all supplies will arrive on time and so on.
A common rule of thumb for project managers is to do a best-case estimate then multiply by
two or more, depending on the project.

Research

Buehler et al asked students to estimate how long a thesis would take to complete. The average
response was 33.9 days. In practice, they took an average of 55.5 days.

Example
In planning a business change project I assume that everyone will cooperate and attend all
meetings and not object to any of the changes. Of course this does not happen as expected and
the subsequent issues make the project drag on for three times as long as I had expected.

So What?
Using it
When making plans, multiply your first estimate by at least two. When others make plans, check
that they have plenty of contingency in and have planned to manage the risks.

Plasticity
Description

Many questions will be answered very differently by the same person according to the context of
the questions, including where they are placed amongst other questions.
This happens to some extent because the things which have gone before put us in a particular
frame of mind or mental state which has an effect on how we perceive the question.
Plasticity is the degree to which questions may be affected by the context and previous
questions. A highly plastic

Research
Schuman and Presser (1981) asked people the following two questions:

1. Do you think a Communist country like Russia should let American newspaper
reports come in and send back to America the news as they see it?
2. Do you think the United States should let Communist newspaper reports from other
countries come in and send back to their papers the news as they see it?
82% said yes to the first question and 75% said yes to the second question. However, when the
questions were reversed, only 55% said yes to letting Communist reporters report from USA and
64% approved of US reports from Communist countries.
They also found differences when they rearranged a question about whether divorce should be
easier to obtain, remain the same or be more difficult to obtain.

Example
Police will reconstruct a crime to help witnesses (as well as victims) answer questions accurately.
The reconstruction may also shock the perpetrators into mistakes.

So what?
Using it
If you want someone to say yes, then ask questions beforehand which have an obvious yes
answer. If you want them to reject something, ask them a question before that makes them
more fearful.

Defending
When answering a question, pause to let your mind clear and emotions settle.

Pluralistic Ignorance
Description
Groups all have norms of attitude and behavior which are shared and which help form the
identity of the group. Adopting these norms, even if you do not agree with them, is a part of
the individual sacrifice that people accept as a price of group membership.
Pluralistic ignorance occurs where the majority of individuals in a group assume that most of
their others are different in some way, whilst the truth is that they are more similar than they
realize. They thus will conform with supposed norms. When most people do this, the supposed
norm becomes the norm.
These situations typically occur when the norms are older than all members of the group or
when one member or a small group is dominant and can force their attitudes on the rest of the
group.

Research
Prentice and Miller knew that there was abnormally high levels of student alcohol consumption
at Princeton, through various eating clubs, rituals and parties that had led to a number of deaths
and injuries. When they questioned students, they found many who assumed that others wanted
to partake whilst they did not. Their were worried about possible consequences but still joined in
the celebrations for fear of rejection.

Example
When a lecturer asks a class 'Any questions?' there will often be a deafening silence, even if
nobody understands.

So what?
Using it
Set up norms within a group and act as if everyone believes in them.

Defending
If you disagree with a group norm, quietly ask other members of the group whether they really
believe in the norm.

Polarization
Description
When people are enthused by a particular idea they may gradually acquire a more extreme
viewpoint.
When looking at evidence, they will amplify confirming evidence and downplay disconfirming
evidence. This contributes to their viewpoint becoming more entrenched and extreme.
This is partly due to a desire for distinctness from alternative views, leading to the person
moving their position away from views that have some similarity. To agree with an opponent on
a small point may seem to be a slippery slope and confuse one's clarity.
In arguing, many people like clear positions, where they are 'good' and the other person is 'bad'.
This means that any agreement at all is hazardous as it makes oneself bad in any area of
overlap. It may also seem as if the other person is trying to 'seduce me to the dark side' (so
causing further retreat).
The easiest approach in such cases is to take an extreme position and/or push your opponent to
the opposite extreme.

When the two opponents are in the same place together, the effect can be exacerbated as each
seeks to avoid losing face and is constantly reminded of their differences by the presence of the
other. (On the other hand, when a person is present it is difficult to objectify them).

Research
Lord, Ross and Lepper showed how people who supported or opposed capital punishment
selectively used the same body of evidence to support their own viewpoint.

Example
A person believes in right wing politics and seeks failures in a left-wing government to prove the
correctness of right-wing views. In doing so, they become even more convinced they are right.

So What?
Using it
Get a person to take an extreme position by setting someone else up in opposition to them.
One way to prevent a person polarizing away from you is simply not to be there. Use a third
party to present your case or an asynchronous method such as email or promotions.

Defending
Consider how you got to the viewpoints you have, particularly if it is relatively extreme.

Positive Psychology
Description

Positive psychology is the study of the positive approaches and experiences of life and how and
why they happen.

Subjectively, it is about such as well-being, contentment, optimism, happiness.

Individually, it is about such as the capacity for love, courage, interpersonal skill,
aesthetic, determination, forgiveness, creativity and wisdom.

Collectively it is about such as civilization, citizenship, social responsibility, society


and tolerance.

Psychology grew up as a science that was related to medicine and was consequently largely
about sickness and dysfunction. After writing about such as Learned Helplessness, Martin
Seligman made the brilliant observation that the positive experience was an almost completely
unexplored field. Positive psychology is about our strengths rather than our weaknesses. It is
about:

A pleasant life: seeking success and positive emotions of past, present and future.

A good life: building major life themes such as in work, love, and family living.

A meaningful life: serving a greater cause or belief beyond our immediate needs.

Interestingly, positive emotions all feel pretty similar, yet negative emotions such as fear, anger,
disgust and sadness each have quite unique feelings. This is possibly due to their evolutionary
purpose of driving different behaviors, whilst positive feelings just mean 'Stay as you are and
keep doing what you're doing'.

Example
A person gives a significant amount to a charity.
Some people just seem happier and upbeat.

So What?
Using it
Understand what makes people happy and offer them happiness as a reward for compliance in
some way with your needs.

Defending
When people are being nice to you, wonder why. Maybe they are just being prosocial. Maybe
they want something from you.

Positive Test Strategy/Confirmation Bias


Description
When we have made a decision or build a hypothesis, we will actively seek things which will
confirm our decision or hypothesis. We will also avoid things which will disconfirm this. The
alternative is to face the dissonance of being wrong.
We use this approach both for searching our memory and looking for things in the external
world. This has also been called the Positive Test Strategy.
Confirmation bias has also been calledConfirmatory Bias, Myside Bias andVerification Bias.

Research
Snyder and Cantor (1979) gave participants a description of a person called Jane that included
mixed items such as sometimes showing her as introverted and sometimes as extraverted. A
couple of days later, half were asked to assess her for an extraverted job (real estate agent) and
the rest asked to assess her for a librarian's job. Each group were better at remembering the
attributes that supported the job for which they were assessing. This implied they were using a
positive-test strategy when trying to remember things about Jane.

Example
After having bought a piece of clothing, we will look for the same clothing in a more expensive
store to confirm that we have bought a bargain.
This is caused by the post-decisional dissonance between the decision made and the possibility
of being wrong.

So what?

Using it
After having persuaded a person of something, help them feel good by letting them find
examples that confirm their good example.

Defending
After a decision is made, consider whatever evidence you can find, even if it disconfirms the
decisionat least you will make a better decision next time. Also beware of people feeding you
confirming evidence.

Positivity Effect
Description
When considering people we like (including ourselves), we tend to make situational attributions
about negative their behaviors and dispositional attributions about their positive behaviors. We
probably do the reverse for people we do not like.
This may well be because of the dissonance between liking a person and seeing them behave
negatively.

Research
Taylor and Koivumaki gave people a list of positive and negative behaviors done by themselves,
their partners and friends and asked them to rate the degree to which these were due to
situational or behavioral factors. Positive behaviors were attributed largely to dispositional
factors, whilst negative behaviors were attributed to situational factors.

Example
If my friend hits someone, I will tell him that the other guy deserved it or that he had to defend
himself.

So what?
Using it
Make friends by making situational attributions about their problems and dispositional
attributions about their positive behaviors.

Defending
Beware of people who overlook your mistakes and praise too fully. Especially when they start
asking you for things.

Post-Decision Dissonance
Description
After we have made a decision, we will feel dissonance regarding the possibility of it being
wrong. We will often change our perceptions to reduce this dissonance and make the decision
seem more attractive.

This is the basis of the foot-in-the-door technique where people who are asked to make a small
commitment (such as signing a petition) will later change their views to align with the action and
consequently be more amenable to a more significant request. It is also the basis of
brainwashing.

Research
Brehm (1956) asked shoppers to rate the attractiveness of household appliances. They were
then allowed to choose, as a gift, between two appliances they had rated equally attractive.
Twenty minutes later, they were asked to re-evaluate the appliances. Guess what? They now
rated their gift somewhat more highly.
Knox and Inkster (1968) found that after placing a $2 bet, race-goers increased their estimation
as to the likelihood of their horse winning the race.

Example
How often have you bought something then worried about whether you have got a bargain or
otherwise. Seeing the item for more money in another shop is always comforting (and the
reverse, of course, is also true).

So what?
Using it
When you want people to do something of which they do not approve, start small. Get them to
do something similar in a very small way, downplaying it. Then let them know of what they have
really done.

Defending
Beware of people asking you for small favors in areas where you do not particularly agree. Stick
to your principles, no matter how small the request.

Power
Description
Power is the ability to get others to change their behavior even if they do not wish to do so.
There are five bases of power defined by French and Raven (1960):

Reward power: control over valued resources.

Coercive power: ability to inflict punishment, possibly physical.

Expert power: superior knowledge.

Legitimate power: formal rank or position.

Referent power: when people want to be like you.

Power is much written about and other typologies include:

Jeffery Pfeffer: Personal attributes, organization structure and the fit between
situational requirements and personal traits

Charles Handy: Power resources (physical, financial, position, expert, personal),


methods of influence (force, rules/procedures, exchange, persuasion, ecology,
magnetism)

Henry Mintzberg: Resources, technical skill, knowledge, formal power and access to
others

Simplifying, power comes from:

Being able to do something that the other person does not want.

Having something that the other person wants (or at least controlling access to it).

Being able to change the beliefs or understanding of the other person ( through
rational logic or irrational charisma).

Example
I have all forms of power over my children. They have reward power over me, by withholding
their affections.

So what?
Using it
Understand your situation of power. Seek to build it over time. Use it sparingly: abuse of power
often has unintended negative effects, such as reactance.

Defending
Recognize the power that you always have. At minimum you always have power over your own
actions, as workers have known for centuries.

The Pratfall Effect


Description
When a person makes a mistake or acts in a clumsy way that might even make people laugh,
they are found to be more likeable, including in comparison with people who are more intelligent
and clever.
When you make a mistake, you appear more human, more like others and so more likeable.
People who are perfect can seem threatening, but people who are imperfect are safe and hence
easier to truly like.

Research
Elliot Aronson played recordings of people answering a quiz, but with some you could hear the
person knocking over a cup of coffee. People listening to the recordings rated the people who
knocked over the coffee as being more likeable.

Example
A participant on a TV game show gets a big round of applause and many cheers for having a go
and making a big mess of their task, whilst the person who wins just gets polite applause.

So What?
Using it
If you want to be liked, make mistakes sometimes (or just admit to error), though do be careful
to make it in an area which is unimportant and which will not make people think you are
incapable in areas where they need your ability.

Defending
When others make mistakes watch for them immediately seeking your sympathy. It may be
genuine, but just beware of them using it as a lever.
Sometimes also others will try to appear helpless in order to get you to help them. In this sense,
they are playing as 'child' and want you to be the 'nurturing parent'.

Primacy Effect
Description
Given a list of items to remember, we will tend to remember the first few things more than those
things in the middle. We also tend to assume that items at the beginning of the list are of
greater importance or significance.
The primacy effect has most effect during repeated message when there is little or no delay
between the messages.

One reason that the Primacy effect works is that the listener is more likely to start off paying
attention, then drifting off when the subject gets boring or the listener is internally processing
data you have given them. The limitations of memory also have an effect, and we can miss
middle items as we continue to rehearse and process the initial items.

Research
Solomon Asch (1946) asked some people about a person described as envious, stubborn,
critical, impulsive, industrious and intelligent. He then asked other people about a person
described as intelligent, industrious, impulsive, critical, stubborn and envious. The second group
rated the person more highly than the first group. He also found that the second and third items
on the list had reduced primacy effects.

Example
On TV game shows where people can win everything in a list of items they see, they usually at
least remember the first few items.

So what?
Usage
If you want something to stand out in a persons mind, use it at the beginning of a conversation,
a written list, etc. Dont let it get lost in the middle. Repeat the message consecutively several
times to embed it in their minds.

Defending
When you choose something, do not just choose it because you remember it most clearly.

Priming
Description
Priming is providing a stimulus that influences their near-term future thoughts and actions, even
though they may not seem to be connected.
Priming also increases the speed at which the second, related item is recognized.
In effect, priming either introduces new things or brings old thoughts close to the surface of the
subconscious, thus making them more accessible and more likely to be used over less accessible
(and possibly more relevant) thoughts.
Priming has a limited effect as the thoughts fade back to the deeper subconscious. Typically,
primed ideas are effective for around 24 hours.

Conceptual priming occurs where related ideas are used to prime the response, for example 'hat'
may prime for 'head'.
Semantic priming occurs where the meaning created influences later thoughts. Semantic and
conceptual priming are very similar and the terms may be used interchangeably.
Non-associative semantic priming refers to related concepts but where one is less likely to
trigger thoughts of the other, for example 'Sun' and 'Venus'.
Perceptual priming, is based on the form of the stimulus, for example where a part-picture is
completed based on a picture seen earlier.
Associative priming happens when a linked idea is primed, for example when 'bread' primes the
thought of 'butter'. This particularly applies to 'free association' word pairs.
Masked priming occurs where a word or image is presented for a very short time but is not
consciously recognized.
Repetitive priming occurs where the repetition of something leads to it influencing later
thoughts.
Reverse priming occurs where people realize they are being primed and, feeling they have been
biased, over-respond in their choices which are now biased in the reverse direction.

Research

Bargh and Pietromonaco showed some people neutral words whilst others were shown hostile
words, very briefly flashed up on a computer screen. Both groups then read about a character
with ambiguous behavior. Those who had been primed with hostile words interpreted the
behavior as being more hostile.

Example
I take one bite from a chocolate bar. I now desire another bite even more than before I took the
first bite.
A stage magician says 'try' and 'cycle' in separate sentences in priming a person to think later of
the word 'tricycle'.
I start noticing other cars just like the one I bought.

So What?
Using it
Use a prime subtly so the person does not realize they are being primed, thus influencing them
towards a desired outcome.
Be careful of obvious priming which can cause a reverse-priming reaction.

Defending
When you seem to think of something in conversation with someone else, think back to what
may have triggered that thought.

Informational Social Influence


Description
When we do not know how to behave, we copy other people. They thus act as information
sources for how to behave as we assume they know what they are doing. Also because we care
a great deal about what others think about us, this provides a safe course of actionat the very
least, they cannot criticize us for our actions.
We are more likely to use this principle when the task in question is important to us.
This leads to such effects as people ignoring public muggings and cult members being led into
bizarre and even suicidal acts.
Private acceptance occurs when we genuinely believe the other person is right. This can lead to
permanent changes in beliefs, values and behaviors.
Public compliance occurs when we copy others because we fear ridicule or rejection if we behave
otherwise.

Informational social influence (also calledsocial proof) occurs most often when:

The situation is ambiguous. We have choices but do not know which to select.

There is a crisis. We have no time to think and experiment. A decision is required


now!

Others are experts. If we accept the authority of others, they must know better than
us.

In other words, when we are not sure of our own ability to know what to do, we will look to
others to tell us.

Example
Police often find themselves in situations of ambiguity and crisis. People will naturally turn to the
police for advice in such situations.

So what?
Using it
Get the other person into a state of relative confusion where they are uncertain about what to
do next, then lead them to where you want them to be. It works best if you go first, doing it.
Telling them what to do can also be effective, but requires them to accept you as an authority.
For permanent change, precede this by sufficient work that they trust you completely and view
you as an authority with enviable values and beliefs.

Defending
When the situation is ambiguous or in crisis, do not just look to other people (who may well be
looking to you). In particular, beware of people who set themselves up as an authority without
adequate proof (and a white coat or commanding attitude is not proof).
Know that you always have individual choice, just as you have individual responsibility for your
own actions. In any situation, you always have common sense available to you. Do not abandon
it.

Propinquity Effect
Description
The more we meet and interact with people, the more likely we are to become friends with
them.
As we meet people we become familiar and find things we like about them.
It is not so much 'birds of a feather flock together' as 'birds who just happen to be near each
other grow similar feathers'.

Research
Festinger, Schachter and Back (1950) followed friendships in a small two-floor apartment
building. Neighbors were mostly likely to be friends. Least likely were people on separate floors.
Those near ground-floor staircases and mailboxes had friends on both floors.

Example
Friendships appear in neighborhoods, workplaces, college classes and other places where people
get together.

So what?
Using it
To build trust, make friends. To make friends, ensure you meet up with the target people often.
To ensure you meet up, arrange your life so you repeatedly bump into them.

Resisting
When you keep bumping into a friendly person, be aware of the potential for them to have
ulterior motives.

Prosocial Behavior
Description
Prosocial behavior occurs when someone acts to help another person, particularly when they
have no goal other than to help a fellow human.
So why does this altruistic behavior appear? One thought, of Kin Selection, is that it is a genetic
response to supporting the broader gene pool. Social conditioning can also have be a cause and
prosocial parents lead to prosocial children.
The Reciprocity Norm may also have an effect, where people help others, knowing that one day
they may want someone else to help them in the same unselfish way. Demonstrating such social
norms is likely to get you admiration from other people around you.
Prosocial behavior varies with context as much as between people. Men will tend to be
chivalrous for short periods, whilst women will work quietly for longer periods. People who are in
a good mood are more likely to do good, as are people who are feeling guilty. People in small
towns are more likely to help than those squashed together in cities.

Example
Evidence abounds of people helping others without asking for anything in return. This is the
whole principle of charity. Their rationale for helping others is often Intrinsic Motivation.

So what?
Using it
Ask for help. It is surprising how often people will give it, without thought of asking for
something in return.

Defending
When you are helping other people out of the goodness of your heart, beware of people taking
advantage of you. This does not mean you should not be altruistic; just beware of vampires.

Prospect Theory
Description
We tend to value a gain that is certain more than a gain that is less than certain, even when the
expected value of each is the same. The opposite is even more true for losses: we will clutch at
straws to avoid a certain loss, even if it means taking even greater risks.
In general, when we perceive higher risk we focus on loss, whilst when risk is seen to be lower,
we switch to gains.

Research
Tversky and Kahneman told people to assume there was disease affecting 600 people and they
had two choices:

Program A, where 200 of the 600 people will be saved .

Program B, where there is 33% chance that all 600 people will be saved, and 66%
chance that nobody will be saved.

The majority of people selected A, showing a preference for certainty. They then offered them
another choice:

Program C, where 400 people will die.

Program D, where there is a 33% chance that nobody will die, and 66% chance that
all 600 people will die.

Most people now selected D, seeking to avoid the loss of 400 people.
Notice how the framing makes the difference. A and C are the same, and B and D are the same.

So what?
Using it
To get people to adopt something, focus on the gain. To get them to reject something, focus on
what they might lose.
If they perceive high risk, focus on loss. If they perceive low risk, focus on gain. If you want
them to focus on loss or gain, then set up the perceived risk accordingly.

Defending
In your choices, beware of words leading you astray. Think in a balanced way about potential
gains and losses.

Pseudo Certainty Effect/Certainty Effect


Description
When an outcome is certain and it becomes less probable, this has a greater impact than when
the outcome was merely probable before the probability was reduced by the same amount. Thus
100% - 10% = 90% has more psychological impact than 50% - 10% = 40%.
There is also a pseudo-certainty effect, where the certainty is only perceived.
Overall, this works because of our preference for absolutes and our inability to really understand
the meaning of the difference between different probabilities. To most people, 70%, 80% and
90% all mean the same: not certain, but fairly likely. Thus we would rather eliminate risk rather
than reduce it.

Research
Kahneman and Tversky (1979) asked students to evaluate insurance costing only 50% of
normal, but which would only pay out in 50% of cases (though their premium would be refunded
if they did not get the payout). 80% of students chose to refuse the insurance.

Example
Most people would pay more to remove the only bullet in the gun in a game of Russian Roulette
than they would to remove one bullet when there were four in the gun.

So what?
Using it
Instead of offering four for the price of three, offer one free with three purchased. The zero price
has greater certainty.

Defending
Beware of making decisions based on absolutes. Distinguish the real difference between 80%
and 90%.

Psychological Accounting
Description
When people make decisions, they tend to frame the outcomes of their choices in terms of the
direct consequences of the choice.
They also compare things in terms of ratios rather than absolute amounts. For example a gain of
$15 vs. a gain of $10 will be viewed more positively than a gain of $150 vs. a gain of $140.

Research
Kahneman and Tversky asked people whether, if they lost a $10 bill when going to see a $10
play, they would still see the play. 88% said they would. However, if they lost the $10 ticket,
only 46% would be prepared fork out $10 for another ticket.

Example
When I choose a meal at a restaurant, I am more concerned with how it will taste now than the
calories that will attach themselves to my waistline.

So what?
Using it
Frame choices in terms of consequences.

Defending
Think beyond the immediate consequences of a decision.

Public Compliance/Informational Social


Influence
Description
When we do not know how to behave, we copy other people. They thus act as information
sources for how to behave as we assume they know what they are doing. Also because we care
a great deal about what others think about us, this provides a safe course of actionat the very
least, they cannot criticize us for our actions.
We are more likely to use this principle when the task in question is important to us.
This leads to such effects as people ignoring public muggings and cult members being led into
bizarre and even suicidal acts.
Private acceptance occurs when we genuinely believe the other person is right. This can lead to
permanent changes in beliefs, values and behaviors.
Public compliance occurs when we copy others because we fear ridicule or rejection if we behave
otherwise.

Informational social influence (also calledsocial proof) occurs most often when:

The situation is ambiguous. We have choices but do not know which to select.

There is a crisis. We have no time to think and experiment. A decision is required


now!

Others are experts. If we accept the authority of others, they must know better than
us.

In other words, when we are not sure of our own ability to know what to do, we will look to
others to tell us.

Example
Police often find themselves in situations of ambiguity and crisis. People will naturally turn to the
police for advice in such situations.

So what?
Using it
Get the other person into a state of relative confusion where they are uncertain about what to
do next, then lead them to where you want them to be. It works best if you go first, doing it.
Telling them what to do can also be effective, but requires them to accept you as an authority.
For permanent change, precede this by sufficient work that they trust you completely and view
you as an authority with enviable values and beliefs.

Defending
When the situation is ambiguous or in crisis, do not just look to other people (who may well be
looking to you). In particular, beware of people who set themselves up as an authority without
adequate proof (and a white coat or commanding attitude is not proof).
Know that you always have individual choice, just as you have individual responsibility for your
own actions. In any situation, you always have common sense available to you. Do not abandon
it.

Self-Fulfilling Prophecy
Description
If a person thinks we are clever or stupid or whatever, they will treat us that way. If we are
treated as if we are clever, stupid or whatever, we will act, and even become, this way. The
person has thus had their prophecy about us fulfilled!
This is also known as the Pygmalion Effect.

Research
Robert Rosenthal and Lenore Jacobson, in 1968, gave all the children in an elementary class a
test and told teachers that some of children were unusually clever (though they were actually
average). They came back at the end of the school year and tested the same class again. Guess
what? The children singled out had improved their scores far more than other children.
(Rosenthal 1995).

Example
A management consultant starts off an engagement constantly agreeing with a senior manager
in an attempt to build trust. Before long, the senior manager is expecting agreement every time.
The consultant soon becomes a confirmed yes-man.

So what?
Using it
To make a person act in a certain way, all you have to do is believe this when you interact with
them. If you find it hard to make this jump, persuade others that the target person has desired
attributes.

Defending
When people treat you as if you had certain attributes, decide whether this is desirable or not.
Question their behavior if you do not wish to be pushed in this direction.

Rationalization Trap
Description
When we act to reduce dissonance it can end up as a whole set of justifications and
rationalizations that lead to ridiculous or even immoral actions. Like Pinocchio's nose, one
defense leads to another until we are all out of shape.
The trick is to avoid unthinking reaction, tolerating dissonance for long enough to be able to
decide on a more appropriate action.

Example
When President Richard Nixon got caught up in the Watergate scandal, his arguments and
denials led to his eventual demise. Bill Clinton also fell down the slippery slope but managed to
survive only through some embarrassing and very public confessions.

So what?
Using it
When people are seeking justification they are usually desperate. Give them straws to clutch at
that lead them in the right direction or give them rope with which they hang themselves. You
can even tip them into the need for rationalization in the first place.

Defending
Do you really need to go down that spiral of justification? For whom? Did you get there through
the trickery of someone else?

Reactance Theory
Description
When people feel that their freedom to choose an action is threatened, they get an unpleasant
feeling called reactance. This also motivates them to perform the threatened behavior, thus
proving that their free will has not been compromised.

Research
Pennebaker and Sanders (1976) put one of two signs on college bathroom walls. One read Do
not write on these walls under any circumstances whilst the other read Please dont write on
these walls. A couple of weeks later, the walls with the Do not write on these walls under any
circumstances notice had far more graffiti on them.

Example
When persuading my children, I have to be careful because I know that if I push too hard they
will do what I have told them not to do, just to show me who is really in charge!

So what?
Using it
Beware of persuading too overtly or too much. If people get wind that they are being railroaded,
they will leap right off the tracks.

Realistic Conflict Theory


Description
When there are limited resources, then this leads to conflict, prejudice and discrimination
between groups who seek that common resource. Once hostility has been aroused, it is very
difficult to return to normal relations and an ongoing feud can arise.

Research

Muzafer Sherif divided a Boy Scout camp into two groups, the Eagles and the Rattlers. After
helping the groups to each become cohesive, he introduced competitive games and other
conflicts. Before long, a full-scale riot was in progress and the researchers had to work hard at
mediation to defuse the situation.

Example
A common situation is where jobs are scarce and an established group blames immigrants for
taking the food out of our childrens mouths.

So what?
Using it
Gain control over a resource required by many. Where you cannot, point to others who use the
resource as causes of your own ills.

Defending
When resources are limited, pre-empt conflict by setting up joint councils, etc. to decide fairly
on allocation.

Recency Effect
Description
Given a list of items to remember, we will tend to remember the last few things more than those
things in the middle. We also tend to assume that items at the end of the list are of greater
importance or significance.
The recency effect has most effect in repeated persuasion messages when there is a delay
between the messages.

Research
Miller and Campbell recorded proceedings from a trial with a combination of sequences of
arguments for and against the plaintiff, sometimes with delays of a week between parts and the
judgment that they sought from experimental participants.
The results in the table below show that when there was no delay between the first and second
message, but then a week's delay before the judgment, a primacy effect occurred. When there
was a delay between the first and second message, but no gap between the second message
and the judgment, then a recency effect occurred.

First message

Delay after
first
message?

Second
message

Delay after
second
message?

Judgment

For plaintiff

No

Against
plaintiff

No

Balanced

Against
plaintiff

No

For plaintiff

No

Balanced

For plaintiff

No

Against
plaintiff

Yes

For

Against
plaintiff

No

For plaintiff

Yes

Against

For plaintiff

Yes

Against
plaintiff

No

Against

Against
plaintiff

Yes

For plaintiff

No

For

For plaintiff

Yes

Against
plaintiff

Yes

Balanced

Against
plaintiff

Yes

For plaintiff

Yes

Balanced

Example
What did you do in the last hour? What about the last day? Last week? Year?

So what?
Using it
If you want something to stand out in a persons mind, use it at the end of a conversation, a
written list, etc. Dont let it get lost in the middle. Repeat the message after a while, still with
the key items at the end.

Defending
Do not just pay attention to what other people have most recently said.

Reciprocity Norm
Description
This is a very common social norm which says that if I give something to you or help you in any
way, then you are obliged to return the favor.
This norm is so powerful, it allows the initial giver to:

Ask for something in return, rather than having to wait for a voluntary reciprocal act.

Ask for more than was given. You can even exchange a smile for money.

Reciprocity also works at the level of liking. We like people who like us, and dislike those who
dislike us. This can create a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Research
Kunz and Woolcott sent Christmas cards to a number of people he did not know. Most sent a
card back (and they got onto the permanent Christmas list of some).

Example
Hari Krishna people have used this by giving passers-by a small plastic flower and then asking
for a donation in return.

So what?

Using it
Give people things, whether it is your time or money. It helps if you give them something they
truly appreciate. Do not give them too much, lest they feel oppressed by their obligation. Ask for
something in return.

Defending
If people give you something, say thank you (which is giving them something back in return!).
When they ask for something in return, say no. Be polite (giving them something else). Or turn
the tables, giving them something you dont want, then ask them for something.
Always be aware of trickery when people you hardly know offer you something, especially if they
ask for something from you in return.

Regret Theory
Description
People know that when they make a decision they will feel regret if they make the wrong
decision. They thus take this anticipated regret into account when they decide.
This is probably what makes them loss-averse.
When thinking ahead, they may experienceanticipatory regret, as they realize that they may
regret in the future. This can be a powerful dissuader or create a specific motivation to do one
thing in order to avoid something else.

Example
When I go to buy a car, I am so terrified of buying a heap of junk, I read many magazines and
ask lots of knowledgeable friends first. And I listen to their advice rather than buying the car
that I think looks the nicest.

So what?
Using it
Remind the other person of what they may lose if they do not agree with you. Show what they
may regret.

Defending
Remember to anticipate the joy of gain. Be realistic about gains and losses.

Reinforcement-Affect Theory
Description

Classical Conditioning (learning by association) leads us to like people who are nearby when we
feel good. Even if they were not involved in making us feel good, after a while we will associate
them with the good feeling such that whenever we see them we feel good.
Operant Conditioning (learning by consequences) leads us to like people who reward us.
Rewards can include being friendly towards us, smiling and generally acting positively towards
us.

Example
Notice how politicians and other would-be leaders always turn up at rah-rah events, parties and
award ceremonies, pressing the flesh and smiling like mad.

So what?
Using it
Find out where the other person gets to feel good (eg. at racetrack, dances etc.) and just be
there. Tell them what a great time they are having. Use other liking-related stimuli such as
similarity.

Defending
Just because people are around when you are having a good time does not mean they are your
friends. Even being nice to you does not make them your friend. The best test of friendship is
when they have everything to lose and nothing to gain.

Relative Deprivation Theory


Description
We tend to decide how well-off or deprived we are not from any absolute standard or how
hungry are, but by comparing ourselves with other people.
In particular, we decide on what we deserve and what we should expect from looking at other
people. We then compare ourselves with this standard.

Research
Vanneman and Pettigrew (1972) asked white Americans how well off they were when compared
with other whites and also with black Americans. Those who felt not well off when compared
with other whites were more prejudiced against the black people.

Example
Even rich people can feel poor as the even richer parade in front of them.

So what?
Using it
Build up expectations of the other person, perhaps by showing what you have got. They will get
to feel deprived. Then show them the way to alleviate that deprivation.

Defending
When you feel deprived, consider how you got that way. When you are drowning, beware of
people who offer you straws to clutch.

Relationship Dissolution/Terminating
relationships
Description
There are several ways to break up a relationship. The results of some research are given here.
Codys survey of experience showed alternative strategies:

Positive tone: I still like you, but

Verbal de-escalation: Im dont love you any more.

Behavioral de-escalation: Avoiding contact. Seeing them less often.

Negative identity management: We each should see other people

Justification: This relationship is not giving me what I want.

Duck shows a four phase model:

1. Relationship phase. The relationship is fairly healthy, but dissatisfaction builds up


with feelings of theres something wrong. Eventually The I cant stand it any more
feelings build up to a point which catapults you into the breakdown stages.
2. Intrapsychic phase. Nothing much is said, but now the focus is on the faults of the
other partner. Evidence is sought by which they can be blamed for any problems.
When enough evidence is accumulated, the person feels justified in withdrawing.

3. Dyadic phase. The breakdown now comes out into the open, either with one person
saying Im leaving or Im thinking of leaving. Reality must now be faced by both
partners and intensive discussions may ensue. The focus here is on the partnership.
Eventually the pressure of I really mean it breaks out and it becomes a public issue.
4. Social phase. Now the focus turns outwards to the perceptions of other people.
Friends may be recruited to either camp and entire social groups may break into
open battles of who is to blame and what should be done. Eventually, it becomes
inevitable that the split will happen and things move on to the next phase.
There can also be a fifth phase:

Grave-dressing phase. The relationship now gets its official burying, with
explanations all in place (true or otherwise).

Example
Have you had long drawn out ending of a relationship? Many marriages go through long phases
of argument and recrimination rather than sudden endings.

So what?
Using it
To end a relationship, pick the most suitable from the above methods.

Defending
It takes two to tango. If the other person is pulling the plugs, just get out with your dignity.

Representativeness Heuristic
Description
People tend to judge the probability of an event by finding a comparable known event and
assuming that the probabilities will be similar.
As a part of creating meaning from what we experience, we need to classify things. If something
does not fit exactly into a known category, we will approximate with the nearest class available.

Overall, the primary fallacy is in assuming that similarity in one aspect leads to similarity in
other aspects.
The gamblers fallacy, the belief in runs of good and bad luck can be explained by the
representativeness heuristic.
People will also force statistical arrangements to represent their beliefs about them, for
example a set of random numbers will be carefully mixed up so no similar numbers are near one
another.
We will also tend to ignore base rates (the relative frequency with which an event occurs) as
well as regression towards the mean (where an extreme value is likely to be followed by one
which is much closer to the mean).
The law of small numbers is the assumption people make that a small sample is representative
of a much larger population.

Example
If I meet someone with a laid back attitude and long hair, I might assume they are Californian,
whereas someone who is very polite but rigid may be assumed to be English.
People will often assume that a random sequence in a lottery is more likely than a arithmetic
sequence of numbers.
If I meet three people from a company and they are all aggressive, I will assume that the
company has an aggressive culture and that most other people from that firm will also be
aggressive.

So what?
Using it
To make something attractive, take something that the other person finds attractive and then
find a way in which they are both similar. Even putting them together in time or space can do
the trick.

Defending
Watch out for seemingly irrelevant things that the other person brings up, and how these might
affect your decision on more significant items. Also learn more about statistics.

Repulsion Hypothesis
Description
We prefer people who have similar attitudes to us. We can get on with people whose attitudes
are moderately different, but we will be repulsed by people whose attitudes are particularly
different from us.
When looking for friends, we will first exclude people whose attitudes are outside of an
acceptable range, before looking more positively for closer friends.

Example
This is one of the reasons why people from different cultures and countries are repulsed by
behaviors such as public executions and eating different foods.

So what?
Using it
Beware of holding extreme attitudes as you may fall the first hurdle of friendship. If you cannot
get to be a good friend with a person, by being moderate, you can at least get to talk with them.

Restraint Bias
Description
We believe we can control natural urges more than we can in practice. Furthermore, his belief is
strengthened by:

Weak 'evidence' that we can overcome urges.

Not feeling the urge at the moment.

Not remembering how powerful the urge can be.

Urges are enhanced by the availability of stimulants, such as the urge to eat being increased by
the availability of food. People who are exhibiting restraint bias and believe they can withstand
urges are more likely to allow temptation to be put in their way. Optimism about our ability to
control urges is ill-founded, it seems.
The underlying problem is in the different mental state between thinking about being in an urge
state and actually being in the urge state. This has been called the 'cold-to-hot empathy gap'
and indicates how different emotional thinking really is and how it can easily override rational
thought.

Research
Loran Nordgren et al (2009) investigated this inner battle. They first gave one group of students
an easy memory task and another a hard one. Those on the easy task subsequently rated their
ability to overcome mental fatigue more highly. A serious impact of this effect was that the also
thought they could leave more of their coursework until the last week of term.
In a second study, students arriving or leaving the college cafeteria ranked seven snack bars
from least favourite to favourite and then chose one to take away. If they brought it back
uneaten the next week, they could keep the bar and also win $4. The leavers, who had already
eaten and whose self-perception of restraint ability was therefore higher, were more likely to

choose their first or second favourite snack bar, and were more likely to eat it during the
following week.
In a third experiment some were given a fake self-control test then asked to watch the movie
"Coffee and Cigarettes" whilst not smoking. They were promised a greater cash reward the more
difficult they made the challenge for themselves. Those given good results on the test chose
more tempting challenges, such as holding the cigarette in their hand rather than having it on
the desk. They were also more likely to give in to that temptation.
In a further study with people in a 'quit smoking' programme, those who claimed more impulse
control were found to be more like to relapse.

Example
I make a new year's resolution to eat less. Later that same day, I'm really hungry think 'Just one
won't make much difference and will make me feel so much better.' Later, I find myself in the
kitchen with my hand in the cookie jar without really realizing how I got there.

So What?
Using it
If you want to help someone to stop doing something, work on them when they have the urge
to do it, not when they can make easy commitments.
To persuade people of something, you can put temptation in their way -- they will be less able to
defend against it than they think they can.

Defending
If you want to give up something, do not put temptation in your way.

Risk Preference
Description
People will tend to be risk-seeking when it comes to losses. Thus they would rather risk a big
loss in preference to suffering a certain moderate loss. This is how gamblers get hooked. Once
they have made a loss, they keep gambling (sometimes in ever larger stakes) in trying to avoid
the loss.
On the other hand, people tend to be risk-avoiding when it comes to gains, preferring to hold
onto the bird in the hand. This is the mentality of the miser. Once they have something they are
loathe to risk losing it.

There are three common perceived dimensions of risk. risk dread which is about lack of control
and potential serious harm, unknown risks which are perceived but which we have little
information on probability or impact (such as from new drugs). The third dimension is about
how many people are exposed to risk.

Research
Tversky and Kahneman (1981) gave people the following choice:

A: A sure gain of $240


B: A 25% chance of gaining $1000 and a 75% chance of gaining nothing.

84% of people chose A, as a certain gain was preferred over a possible loss. They then offered
the following:

C: A sure loss of $750


D: A 75% chance of losing $1000 and a 25% chance of losing nothing.

Now 87% chose D, preferring to avoid the certain loss, even though C (as B in the first test) has
the better probable returns.

Example
We tend to accept greater levels of risk if we are in control, such as smoking and skiing as
compared with external risks such as passive smoking and rail accidents.

So what?
Using it
To get someone to do something risky, frame the alternative as a certain loss. This can include
non-financial loss such as a loss of social standing.
If they already have something and are asking for more, offer something higher value but risky,
and in exchange for what they already have.

Defending
Recognize risks for what they are! Decide rationally, not by comparing with other losses. Keep
accurate records. Beware of wishful thinking. Break compound decisions down into simple
decisions.

Risky Shift Phenomenon


Description
When people are in groups, they make decision about risk differently from when they are alone.
In the group, they are likely to make riskier decisions, as the shared risk makes the individual
risk less.
They also may not want to let their compatriots down, and hence be risk-averse (this is
sometimes called cautious shift). The overall tendency towards a shift in risk perception is also
sometimes calledchoice shift.
There are a number of reasons as to why this might happen. Theories have included:

Wallach, Kogan, and Bem (1964) proposed that greater risks are chosen due to a
diffusion of responsibility, where emotional bonds decrease anxieties and risk is
perceived as shared.

Collins and Guetzkow (1964) suggested that high risk-takers are more confident and
hence may persuade others to take greater risks.

Brown (1965) indicates that social status in groups is often associated with risktaking, leading people to avoid a low risk position.

Bateson (1966) suggests that as people pay attention to a possible action, they
become more familiar and comfortable with it and hence perceive less risk.

Research
Myers and Bishop (1970) put highly prejudiced students together to discuss racial issues. They
became even more prejudiced. The reverse happened with unprejudiced students, who became
even more unprejudiced.

Example

Entire football teams sometime get into aggressive or defensive moods as they either throw
caution to the winds trying to score or desperately try to avoid being caught out.
Juries given weak evidence will become very lenient after discussion, whilst when given strong
evidence they are likely to give harsh judgment.

So what?
Using it
Show the other person how other people are making the same decision. Frame the risk as
individually less.

Defending
Make decisions on your own. Shared risk is still the same risk.