Weapons of Influence

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Abstract

Originally published in Contemporary Psychology: APA Review of Books, 1993, Vol 38(12), 1287–1288. Reviews the book, Influence: Science and Practice (3rd ed.) by Robert B. Cialdini (see record 1992-98649-000). In his book, Cialdini argues that although compliance professionals use thousands of different tactics to influence others, most are variations of one of six basic principles: reciprocation, commitment and consistency, social proof, liking, authority, and scarcity. The book is organized around these six principles. The reciprocation principle states that we should try to repay another for what he or she has provided us. The commitment and consistency principle states that once we make a commitment, we will encounter personal and interpersonal pressures to behave consistently with that commitment. The principle of social proof states that we view a behavior as correct to the extent that we see other people engaging in the behavior. The liking principle states that we would rather comply with the requests of people we know and like than with the requests of strangers. The authority principle states that we are more likely to comply with the requests of experts than with the requests of nonexperts. The scarcity principle states that opportunities seem more valuable to us when they are less available. These principles, which generally are very beneficial to society, can be exploited by others who recognize them as weapons of influence. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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