PC441 Human reasoning / Clever ways of Persuading : Nov 2008
Update
- I haven't updated this for quite a while, cos I have been travelling. But before I left London I attended some :thinking" lectures and since I have been listening to podcasts

- Consciousness, Brain, Freewill
This topic that is popular and has come up on programs like BBCWS The Forum and then BBCR4 IOT
- Susan Blackmore was saying that Freewill Doesn't Exist, but she backpeddled on this saying that she meant that was no separate personality making the decisions.
IOT- said some interesting things : the brain makes decisions before consciousness is aware e.g. in Gorilla expt there seem to be signs your brain detects the gorilla even though your conscious doesn't.

- Surely your consciousness sits on top of the rest of the brain as a separate process like a gatekeeper. So that the brain scan might show you are going to a hit a guy, but you can still decide not to at the last moment. So I would argue that yes 99% of our thought processes might be finiished, before we realise, but it's the 1% that's the difference. And if you have that consciousness then humans have freewill. Freewill and Consciousness are the samething.

Science Stuff
There has also been good stuff on ABC science : "In Conversation" with the Liverpool Physics educator and Ben Goldacre on MMR realism - the main reason why the story didn't die was that Cherie Blair refused to say if baby Leo had been vaccinated citing privacy. Yet in her book she revealed he had.

Humans are getting more intelligent
- interesing thing about how we are getting more intelligent .. our ancestors and indigenous people are not accustomed to hyperthetical situations and don't get the same brain exercises we do so, but ultimately will catch up. Previously twin studies have been misinterpreted to say intelligence is in the genes, but actually ths only applies when comparing one generation.

- Evolved Biology the next level in thinking

- Stuff I have come across recently seems to show thinking about thinking, biology, psychology is moving to the next level; particularly in terms of evolutionary biology : how human body has evolved to work with bacteria and how Gut Feeling is evolved logic in the brain. Even in the thinking about persuasion how techniques lie beyond the obvious.

Good sales techniques
- from BBC Radio 4 prog : Word of Mouth : The woman mentioned some top sales techniques
to persuade use words like : feel, felt found,
..at last moment offer a failing
- people are more likely to buy if you obligate them to you ..in the past you have helped them with something
- use "today"
- convince them of rarity they'll want it more ..."oh I don't know if I've got any left.
Clever ways of Persuading
- There was a great article in BBC R4's All in the Mind - Prof Robert B. Cialdini was talking about his new book : Yes, 50 Secrets from the Science of Persuassion.

- The interesting thing is he gave 3 great examples of applied psychology :

- 1. Sign in the woods saying "so many people have stolen wood from this forest that the ecosystem is almost dead "... the moral girl reading this said "quick we had better take our wood now, before it runs out completely" .. The sign by it's wording was saying that the bad thing was normal. don't normalise the bad thing - The sign - " If even one person steals wood, this ecosystem will be damaged" .. proved to be much more effective

- 2. The hotel sign saying "most guests reuse the towels" .. proved to be effective as it normalises the good thing.

- 3. When asking for a feed back reply the letters enclosing a post-it-note proved to be most effective as it implied a personal effort rather than an email

- Seems his old book Influence although less poppy is better cos it goes deeper the psychology behind the ideas.

- There is a website scienceofyes.com and 10 Podcasts
- the Influence website flogging his seminars influenceatwork.com/

- Richard Wiseman mentioned the bobbing head trick in Liverpool

nicked from Amazon reader reviews
- "I will close with an example of ONE of the principles in the book "social proof." Prior to reading the book I already had my walls covered with pictures of my clients taken in my office, I have a tax preparation office with a niche of serving the Latino community. We always made sure they were smiling, many times I would be interacting with their little kid in some way when the picture was taken, other times the client would be shaking my hand as we both smile at the camera but in all cases they were sitting at my desk smiling. I also had pictures of clients posted in the lobby with a brief testimonial about the big refund we had got them and what they are going to do with the money. I had learned to do this because others businesses have had success with this. When I read this book Caldini opened my eyes to what I was doing to the subconcious of my clients. All of us tend to believe and trust people similar to ourselves. So as my clients sit at my desk the thought of distrust never even enters their mind. They are too surrounded by people just like them who were obviously happy with my services (smiling). By the way I do not consider what I do manipulating. In Caldini's book you will read some disturbing accounts of manipulation by immoral people. Obviously I set the stage for my pictures and testimonials etc but this is merely good marketing. Every picture on my wall is an actual client and they truly are happy with the service. We just help them smile."

- "Barak Obama's nationwide 30 minute infomercialwas a collage of all sorts of different interviews, speeches, illustrations, and yes testimonials. As a matter of fact there were more testimonials than any other type of clip. The testimonials appeared random but I assure you they were far from random. They were all designed to bring credibility to the claims Barak had just made or dramatic emphasis to the problem he that he is going to "change." Also the person giving was far from random. In the first 10 seconds of each clip I could tell who the campaign was targeting. There were many testimonials from black, and latino voters (a key target for the Obama campain). He also had quite a few small business owners on there in an attempt to push back against the "Joe the Plumber" campaign of McCain. He had a testimonial from a retired brigadeer General assuring us that Obama is not too inexperienced but has the solution to the war. I would love to be a fly on the wall of each American's home as this played. I know I would have seen many examples of people's heads bobbing in affirmation as the testimonials played of the people "most similar" to them. Speaking of head bobbing did you see the little rally's he had with "heartland looking Americans" around him all bobbing there heads as he talked about the breakdown of healthcare or whatever the topic was. "

-From the POV of the buyer- I am interested in looking at this from the other angle the point of the view of the buyer .. if you are using such techniques to sell to me are there any negatives ? ... As long as you are being truthful am I OK ? one ad used to be "Kent is the cigarette chosen by most scientists and educators" .. see that is trying to normalise a bad action. As a consumer you have to think "It doesn't matter what everyone else does, I use logic" ... a newspaper headline saying "Many parents refuse MMR", or "millions stay away from the dome" are obviously normalising a view. But what about in British culture our support for the underdog or minority, hating Manchester United.. this complicates the theory.

- Motivation :Special vs Normal Being Special is also another motivation so how does this square with being normal ? Being special allows a higher price "Ryanair now everyone can fly" vs "KLM you deserve the best" Maybe regular man's Carlsberg does outsell Special Brew. People in England often reject popular programmes cos that's what common people watch.

- Whenever companie use the fake personal touch it puts me off buying. I wonder if we use some of these techniques in the Spanish school.

finished 9/12/2008 a Stew Green Opinion
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