|Robert B. Cialdini|
Dr. Robert B. Cialdini
|Born||April 27, 1945|
He is best known for his popular book on persuasion and marketing, Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion. Influence has sold over 2 million copies and has been translated into twenty-six languages. It has been listed on the New York Times Business Best Seller List. Fortune Magazine lists Influence in their "75 Smartest Business Books." 
In writing the book, he spent three years going "undercover" applying for jobs and training at used car dealerships, fund-raising organizations, telemarketing firms to observe real-life situations of persuasion. The book also reviews many of the most important theories and experiments in social psychology.
Harvard Business Review lists Dr. Cialdini's research in "Breakthrough Ideas for Today's Business Agenda".
His most recent work, Yes! 50 Scientifically Proven Ways to be Persuasive (ISBN 978-184668-016-8), co-authored with Dr. Noah Goldstein and Steve J. Martin, provides insights on how to apply the science of persuasion to be more effective at influencing others at work and in personal situations. Yes! is a New York Times, USA Today, & Wall Street Journal Best Seller.
Six "Weapons of Influence"
Cialdini defines six "weapons of influence":
- Reciprocity - 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. Ethiopia had been reciprocating for the diplomatic support Mexico provided when Italy invaded Ethiopia in 1935. The good cop/bad cop strategy is also based on this principle.
- Commitment and Consistency - If people commit, orally or in writing, to an idea or goal, they are more likely to honor that commitment because of establishing that idea or goal as being congruent with their self image. 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. Cialdini notes Chinese brainwashing on American prisoners of war to rewrite their self image and gain automatic unenforced compliance. See cognitive dissonance.
- Social Proof - People will do things that they see other people are doing. For example, in one experiment, one or more confederates 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). 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.