Monday, October 03, 2005


A good friend of mine Al recommended I read about book he had read on persuasion. I must admit I was less than a little enthusiastic. I had read too many self-help books over the years and I have never been a fan of pop-psychology.

Anyway, I decided to take Al's advice and get the book INFLUENCE. He told me the authors name and the title but when I went to the book stor they did not have exactly what he had described. Instead, I bought something similar and as it turns out that might just have been in my favor.

From what I understand, the top photo is of his "pop=psychology/ easy reading" book. While the second phot is slightly more accademic (with foot notes and all!!). I'm not sure if I would have liked the pop version but the second one (minus the lame introduction) was really good. So good in fact that I am thinking of incorporating it into some of my lesson plans. Shhh, don't tell the author though ok.

Here is an excerpt:


"This parallel form of human automaticity is aptly demonstrated in an experiment by social psychologist Ellen Langer and her co-workers (Langer, Blank, & Chanowitz, 1978). A well-known principle of human behavior says that when we ask someone to do us a favor we will be more successful if we provide a reason. People simply like to have reasons for what they do. Langer demonstrated this unsurprising fact by asking a small favor or people waiting in line to use a library copying machine: "Excuse me, I have five pages. May I use the Xerox machine because I'm in a rush?" The effectiveness of this request plus-reasons was nearly total: 94 percent of those asked let her skip ahead of them in line. Compare this success rate to the results when she make the request only: "Excuse me, I have five pages. May I use the Xerox machine?" Under those circumstances only 60 percent of those asked complied. At first glance, it appears that the crucial difference between the two request was the additional information provided by the words because I'm in a rush. However, a third type of request tried by Langer showed that this was not the case. It seems that it was not the whole series of words, but the first one, because, that made the different. Instead of including a real reason for compliance, Langer's third type of request used the word because and then, adding nothing new, merely restate the obvious: "Excuse me, I have five pages. May I use the Xerox machine because I have to make some copies?" The result was that once again nearly all (93 percent) agree, even though no real reason, no new information was added to justify their compliance."


Covert Hypnosis said...

Wow, cool post. I'm into persuasion too. Interesting thing, that little word because, ain't it? Well, Im running a blog on covert hypnosis an persuasion if you want to check it out:

There are many other fine techniques to influence others :)

Have a great day.

Juggy said...

Always good to know. Thanks for the link.