Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert Cialdini

7. Commitment and Consistency: Hobgoblins of the Mind

  • Most people desire to be and look consistent with their words, beliefs, attitudes, and deeds. Consistency is valued by society, it provides a beneficial approach to daily life, and provides a valuable short cut for otherwise complex decisions. After making a commitment, people are likely to stick with it.
  • We look for additional reasons to support commitments, which makes them even stronger. They help with decision making even in novel situations. To resist the pull of consistency we need to recognize when it is impacting our behavior. An appeal to consistency works better on older people who tend to be set in their ways.

8. Unity: The We is the Shared Me

  • The experience of “we”-ness or unity happens in groups defined by race, ethnicity, nationality, family, politics, and religion. We favor the outcomes and welfare of those in our group and use their preferences and action to guide our own. What’s good for our group is good for ourselves. Joint suffering solidifies the members of a group. This concept explains why unions protect even their worst members regardless of their behavior.

9. Instant Influence: Primitive Consent for an Automatic Age

  • Due to the amount of information available in our modern world, we don’t always have time to give deep thought when a decision is necessary. As a result we resort to the short cuts mentioned in this book. People seeking compliance from others know this and use it to their advantage. If we understand this we can protect ourselves from exploitation.

Robert Cialdini, PhD

  • Robert is a Professor Emeritus of Psychology and Marketing at Arizona State University. He is the author of three New York Times bestsellers, including this book and Pre-Suasion. He is the CEO of Influence at Work, which provides programs on the ethical use of the science of influence. He has won many awards and is a frequent corporate keynote speaker. He was raised in an Italian family, in a Polish neighborhood, in a historically German city (Milwaukee), in an otherwise rural state. Follow him on Twitter @RobertCialdini.
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