Psychology of persuasion - Chapter 3 notes.docx

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16 Apr 2012
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Psychology of Persuasion
Chapter 3 Commitment and Consistency
- Once we have made a choice or taken a stand, we will encounter personal and interpersonal
pressures to behave consistently with that commitment
o Bettors in racetrack example
- Christmas season toy example
o Undersupply the toys that parents have promised
o Parents are forced to substitute that toy with other toys of equal value
o They come back in Jan/Feb to buy that toy to live up to their promises
- Desire for consistency is a central motivator of our behaviour
- The drive to be (and look) consistent constitutes a highly potent weapon of social influence,
often causing us to act in ways that are clearly contrary to our own best interests
- The person whose beliefs, words, and deeds don’t match may be seen as indecisive,
confused, two-faced, or even mentally ill
- A high degree of consistency is normally associated with personal and intellectual strength
- Blind consistency, like other forms of automatic responding, offers a shortcut through the
density of modern life
- Sometimes it is not the effort of hard, cognitive work that makes us shirk thoughtful activity,
but the harsh consequence of that activity there are certain disturbing things we simply
would rather not realize
- Exploiters structure their interactions with us so that our own need to be consistent will
lead directly to their benefit
- Once a stand is taken, there is a natural tendency to behave in ways that are stubbornly
consistent with the stand
- For the salesperson, the strategy is to obtain a large purchase by starting with a small one
almost any small sale will do, because the purpose of that small transaction is not profit it
is commitment
- Foot-in-the-door technique the tactic of starting with a little request in order to gain
eventual compliance with related larger requests
- “Magic” of written declarations
- Public commitments tend to be lasting commitments
- Reason that written commitments are so effective they require more work than verbal
ones
- The more effort that goes into a commitment, the greater is its ability to influence the
attitudes of the person who made it
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