Split-Second Persuasion
Split-Second Persuasion

Split-Second Persuasion

when a member of one species assumes or manipulates the characteristics of another (though this can also occur intraspecies) for the purposes of personal advancement. (Location 327)

variety is, like its animalistic counterpart, instinctive. The secret of good advertising often lies not in its appeal to our rational, cognitive faculties, but in its ability to get straight through to the emotion centers of our brains: primal, ancient structures that we not only share with but actually inherit from animals. (Location 391)

Sex sells, always has. Even the word “sex” sells. In fact, research conducted in 2001 revealed that “sex” appeared on 45 percent of all Cosmopolitan and Glamour front covers. That simple combination of letters—SEX—acts as a powerful, eye-catching, interest-grabbing, money-spinning key stimulus. (Location 397)

Supertoned tits and bums, genetically modified lips, six-packs chiseled out of granite, and legs that go on to infinity . . . all of these artifacts are the human sexual equivalents to those three red stripes and that thin brown stick. (Location 423)

The one for the client facing his desk was adjusted just that little bit higher than his own, so people could literally talk down to him while he listened. (Location 447)

How can they defend themselves? Plus he had his head down all the time I was shouting, and then he sort of looked straight up at me, still sitting on his hands. It was like he was saying: OK, well, here I am. Hit me if you want. And I couldn’t. Somehow I just couldn’t. So I left. I walked away.” (Location 454)

On closer inspection, the anatomy of Marco’s approach bears a striking similarity to the principles of animal appeasement: symbolic, ritualistic gestures aimed at defusing conflict and “talking your way out of trouble.” When escape is not on the menu, and you are. (Location 460)

Then there’s the sitting on the hands. Recent work on crayfish goes one step further than that on baboons—and suggests that appeasement might even be a superior strategy to dominance. When (Location 467)

phases. On first being challenged, what is his initial reaction? Well, we note from the text that he immediately “stoops down” (antithesis: incongruity: appeasement). Then, when the elders persist in their sophistry, he “lifts himself” back up again to deliver his famous riposte (confidence: assertiveness)—before reverting to a stooping posture and resuming a pose of appeasement. (Location 500)

Take business. Research has shown that top salespeople often lean slightly forward toward their clients when doing deals—a double whammy signifying not only empathy (through increased proximity) but also a sneaky subservience. (Location 516)

Bringing yourself down to someone’s level like this often speaks volumes. Remember Churchill and the (Location 520)

dinner party thief from the Introduction? What you are saying (without actually having to say it) is this: “Look—it’s not just you that’s in the shit here. It’s both of us. So why don’t we see if we can’t work as a team from now on. Deal?” (Location 521)

The conclusions we’ve come to are stark. With the arrival of language, and the rise of the neocortex, persuasion, rather than becoming more effective, has actually become less so. When it comes to persuasion, animals do better than we do. (Location 533)

Studies have shown that infants as young as four months look longer at pictures of infant faces than they do at those of older children or adults. (Location 574)

The appeal of the neonate is set in neural stone. (Location 578)

exhibiting an eclectic array of ingenious key stimuli to elicit nurturance and inhibit adult aggression. (Location 585)

In other words when expectations are violated, our brains (more specifically, areas such as the anterior cingulate cortex and parts of the temporoparietal junction) are moved to restore homeostasis. (Location 699)

From the comfort of our armchair, or the safety of the dress circle, we place ourselves quite willingly in the hands of the performer. (Location 701)

The answer was yes. Big time. Participants who believed that the person they were talking to was attractive responded to her in a warmer, more positive fashion than those who believed she was unattractive. Furthermore, when asked, prior to the conversation, to record their initial impressions of the student, expectations clearly differed on the basis of attractiveness. (Location 724)

For women who are ovulating, it’s actually masculine facial features that prove the bigger turn-on. Stronger, robuster, they ruggedly allude to greater immunological competence—a heritable resistance to disease—and faces that embody a more macho physiognomy assume a subtly heightened significance (see Figure 2.4a). (Location 750)

“The baby kicked off a caring feeling in people,” says Wiseman—a nurturing instinct toward vulnerable infants that has evolved to safeguard the survival of future generations. (Location 803)

The trick, as everyone knows, is to make eye contact with oncoming drivers. Once eye contact has been established, the chances of being let out increase dramatically. (Location 885)

Eye contact—just like cute looks—is a human key stimulus of persuasion.† (Location 889)

One way, it’s been demonstrated, is if I increase the amount of eye contact I have with you. Studies reveal that two people engaged in conversation don’t look at each other in equal measure. (Location 897)

Research has shown that eye contact can account for as much as 55 percent of information transmission in a given conversation—the rest being apportioned between “nonverbal auditory” (e.g., intonation) at 38 percent, and “formal” verbal content at just 7 percent. (Location 903)

They lack empathy, are superficially charming, possess not the slightest sense of the consequences of their actions, and are out purely for themselves. (Location 909)

the babies looked longer at the faces that they could make eye contact with than at those they couldn’t. (Location 918)

In actual fact, the reason that we find faces with dilated pupils more attractive than those without comes down to reciprocity. Our pupils dilate when aroused—when we encounter a stimulus that is either “easy on the eye” or that we wish to learn more about. (Location 993)

The success of a particular hue of pink—Baker-Miller pink, or, as it’s more commonly known, “drunk-tank” pink—in calming the mood of violent offenders has been scientifically (Location 1081)

“Three A’s” of social influence: attention, approach, and affiliation. Such a cocktail, according to Barrett, ships so much psychology into the brain’s bloodstream that recipients lose all resistance to persuasion. (Location 1090)

Some time later residents would notice the ad, for the church, which Barrett had persuaded the minister to place in the local (Location 1099)

The skilled persuader, just like the master conjuror, is also adept at controlling “where we look.” And, more importantly, where we think. (Location 1134)

To use rules of thumb rather than work every single problem out from scratch. They have, to coin a phrase, “seen it all before.” We make inferences about the world. Form expectations. (Location 1154)

And rely on the brain’s unfailing capacity to jump to conclusions. All in a dishonest day’s work. (Want a demonstration of (Location 1215)

and these schemas are underwritten by certain ultrasalient descriptives such as “tall” or “wears a collar and tie.” Once such exemplars are entered into the system, those on file who “match the description” are flagged up as deserving of closer scrutiny. (Location 1290)

representativeness heuristic: a rule of thumb by which our brains make inferences about the probability of a hypothesis by considering its fit (Location 1309)

And that wasn’t all. Subsequently, under fMRI conditions, Plassman found that this simple sleight-of-mind was actually reflected anatomically—in neural activity deep within the brain. Not (Location 1315)

Who do you think rated the child as more intelligent? Correct—those who were told that she was of high SES. (Location 1327)

Our behavior, since ancient times, has been inextricably interwoven with the behavior of those around us. And the greatest influence on any of us is others. (Location 1432)

Rewards, pure and simple, had been doled out on the basis of label: my lot as opposed to yours. (Location 1453)

The psychology here is actually quite straightforward. Kicking things off with a low opening bid attracts a greater number of people to the auction—which, in turn, makes the product appear more desirable. (Location 1515)

We don’t just compete to maximize our gains. But also—who’d have thought it?—to maximize our losses. (Location 1531)

a simple stroke of genius that not only got the absolute best out of his players—it scared the shit out of them. (Location 1539)

points out that teenagers are particularly susceptible to peer pressure and that the “you’re ruining it for everyone else” line often succeeds where cajoling and coercion fail. (Location 1548)

“Cases are won and lost not just on the strength of facts,” he purrs, “but on impressions. A lot is achieved through the power of suggestion. The experienced barrister tells a story in court, and subtly spirits the jurors away with him on a narrative journey. (Location 1640)

The trick then is to present the evidence in such a way that it corroborates that initial gut instinct. (Location 1643)

Perot all that much. Divorced from his personal history, his opinions appeared intemperate. Which, counsels Luntz, just goes to show: “The order in which you give information determines how people think.” (Location 1654)

Advertising, politics, and sales, for instance, are just a few examples of professions in which this simple art of suggestion is also practiced. Then, as we just saw with the cryptogram, there’s everyday life. (Location 1766)

In general, those students who’d conceptualized their preference for a candidate in terms of opposition to the other candidate (e.g., “I oppose Rick” rather than “I support Chris”) were more resistant to change (i.e., were more likely to stand by Chris when he came under fire) than those whose preferences were positively framed. (Location 1777)

It sure did. Just as the anchoring hypothesis predicted, the average length of sentence handed down by the judges in the first group was thirty-three months. In the second, it was twenty-five. (Location 1799)

It was because everybody suddenly knew that everybody else knew that what they were buying was crap. (Location 1853)

To a time when persuasion had yet to hit on language. By releasing from the depths of human evolution one of the most powerful genies of influence known to man: the principle of reciprocity. (Location 1884)

A trigger, should permission to call back be granted, for the clients to stick to their word—to honor their side of the “bargain” and dutifully drum up business. (Location 1911)

Cialdini was interested in the kinds of messages most likely to induce compliance. Would it be those advocating descriptive norms (i.e., those describing how others reuse their towels)? Or the more conventional type of message promoting environmental awareness? To find out, five cards, each bearing one of the (Location 2227)

We really do, it would seem, have an inbuilt aversion to going against the grain. But another body of research (Location 2253)

behave in a manner consistent with that feedback. They become the person that they believe themselves to be. Or, more accurately, the person that they believe others believe them to be. Which in theory, of course, can be anything. (Location 2418)

Take a condition known as the Stockholm syndrome—a phenomenon well documented in the literature on hostage negotiation, and perhaps even better documented in the mind of Natascha Kampusch. The Stockholm (Location 2442)

Precisely how the Stockholm syndrome works is complex. It acts, for the most part, through a double hit of reciprocity and consistency—that lethal cocktail of influence we encountered in the previous chapter courtesy of telesales employee Pat (Location 2453)

Feelings of learned helplessness—the term coined by Seligman to describe such behavior—had hijacked the animals’ brains and taken their “reasoning” hostage. So much so that they simply no longer cared. (Location 2472)

Tell someone something often enough—and some of them, at some point, will come round to believing you. Believing you, no matter what. (Location 2591)

splt-scnd prsuasn, in othr wrds, only infrmtn (Location 2764)

“Simplicity sells,” concludes Conway. “No one marches to rallying cries that say, ‘I may be right, I may be wrong, let’s dialogue.’” (Location 2771)

Just as we might have predicted—and just as McGlone and Tofighbakhsh did predict—they went for resonance. Participants perceived the original statements that rhymed as being less cutesy and more genuine than the modified ones that didn’t. As providing a truer, more accurate reflection of the way things really are. (Location 2789)

There’s a telltale signature there. Incongruity. Confidence. Empathy. And, if you count the sneaky insertion of reciprocity—“I won’t . . . if you won’t” (more on that later)—perceived self-interest. And all packed into nine (Location 2810)

Or, more specifically, to his perceived self-interest—what he thinks is to his advantage. (Location 2821)

They either trade (If you let me have a go on your PlayStation, I’ll give you some of my chocolate bar), or they make threats (If you don’t let me have a go on your PlayStation, I’ll tell Mrs. Jenkins that you stole my chocolate bar). It’s the law of the jungle. (Location 2824)

Diplomacy, someone once said, is the art of letting other people have your way. And making sure they feel good about it. (Location 2831)

Chances are those checks will become collectors’ items a few years down the line—and worth a heck of a lot more than they are right now. Cashed or flogged on eBay. Yet (Location 2834)

The other principles, which we’ve already come across in various guises, include reciprocity (feeling obligated to return favors); commitment and consistency (like the Gallaghers, we aim to be true to our word); authority (we defer to those in power); liking (we say yes to those we like); and social proof (we check out what others are doing if we’re not too sure ourselves). (Location 2839)