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|Robert B. Cialdini|
- Ph.D., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 1970
- Post-Doctoral training, Columbia University
He is best known for his popular book on persuasion and marketing, Influence: the Psychology of Persuasion (ISBN 0-688-12816-5). His book has also been published as a textbook under the title Influence: Science and Practice (ISBN 0-321-01147-3). In writing the book, he spent three years going "undercover" applying for jobs and training at used car dealerships, fund-raising organizations, telemarketing firms and the like, observing real-life situations of persuasion. The book also reviews many of the most important theories and experiments in social psychology.
Six "weapons of influence"
Cialdini defines six "weapons of influence":
- Reciprocation - People tend to return a favor. Thus, the pervasiveness of free samples in marketing. In his conferences, he often uses the example of Ethiopia providing thousands of dollars in humanitarian aid to Mexico just after the 1985 earthquake, despite Ethiopia suffering from a crippling famine and civil war at the time. Ethopia had been reciprocating for the diplomatic support Mexico provided when Italy invaded Ethopia in 1937.
- Commitment and Consistency - If people commit, verbally or in writing, to an idea or goal, they are more likely to honor that commitment. Even if the original incentive or motivation is removed after they have already agreed, they will continue to honor the agreement. For example, in car sales, suddenly raising the price at the last moment works because the buyer has already decided to buy. See cognitive dissonance.
- Social Proof - People will do things that they see other people are doing. For example, in one experiment, one or more accomplices would look up into the sky; bystanders would then look up into the sky to see what they were seeing. At one point this experiment aborted, as so many people were looking up that they stopped traffic. See conformity, and the Asch conformity experiments.
- Authority - People will tend to obey authority figures, even if they are asked to perform objectionable acts. Cialdini cites incidents, such as the Milgram experiments in the early 1960s and the My Lai massacre.
- Liking - People are easily persuaded by other people that they like. Cialdini cites the marketing of Tupperware in what might now be called viral marketing. People were more likely to buy if they liked the person selling it to them. Some of the many biases favoring more attractive people are discussed. See physical attractiveness stereotype.
- Scarcity - Perceived scarcity will generate demand. For example, saying offers are available for a "limited time only" encourages sales.
- Cialdini, R.B., Wosinska, W., Barrett, D.W., Butner, J. & Gornik-Durose, M. (1999). Compliance with a request in two cultures: The differential influence of social proof and commitment/consistency on collectivists and individualists. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin 25, 1242-1253.
- Cialdini, R. B., Sagarin, B. J., & Rice, W. E. (2001). Training in ethical influence. In J. Darley, D. Messick, and T. Tyler (Eds.). Social influences on ethical behavior in organizations (pp. 137-153). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.
- Cialdini, R. B. (2001, February). The science of persuasion. Scientific American, 284, 76-81.
- Cialdini, R. B. (2001). Influence: Science and practice (4th ed.). Boston: Allyn & Bacon.
- Kenrick, D. T., Neuberg, S. L., & Cialdini, R. B. (2002) Social Psychology: Unraveling the Mystery (2nd Ed.). Boston: Allyn & Bacon
- Guadagno, R. E., & Cialdini, R. B. (2002). On-line persuasion: An examination of differences in computer-mediated interpersonal influence. Group Dynamics: Theory, Research and Practice, 6, 38-51.
- Sagarin, B. J., Cialdini, R. B., Rice, W. E., & Serna, S. B. (2002). Dispelling the illusion of invulnerability: The motivations and mechanisms of resistance to persuasion. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 83, 526-541.
- W.P. Carey Distinguished Professor of Marketing and Regents’ Professor of Psychology
- Distinguished Graduate Research Professor
- Cialdini's official web site and  in the United Kingdom
- Official site @ ASU
- Review of Cialdini's book Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion
- 1999 Interview
- Summary of Cialdini's weapons of influence
- Cialdini talk at the RSA on "The Secret Impact of Social Norms", Jan 25, 2007.
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