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The Science of Persuasion

The Science of Persuasion

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The Science of Persuasion

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  1. The Science of Persuasion UsingPersuasionPrinciples&TechniquesinFoodSecurity,ChildSurvivalandotherCommunityDevelopmentPrograms PART2:SocialProofandReciprocation This media product is made possible by the generous support of the American people through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).  The contents are the responsibility of Food for the Hungry and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the United States Government. Tom Davis, MPH TOPS Senior Specialist for Social & Behavioral Change FH Chief Program Officer April 6, 2011

  2. Science of Persuasion, Part 2 Part 2 of the Science of Persuasion. To listen to Part 1 on Commitment & Consistency, click: If you have listened to Part 1, you may wish to skip the introductory slides. CONTINUE with Introduction and Overview of Behavior Change SKIP Introduction and Overview of Behavior Change

  3. Starting Point: Our Niche We (PVOs/NGOs) will not develop the next great vaccine or medicine. We may (and should) develop and discover the best community mobilization and behavior change approaches. We can innovate and test them. Need to know the literature, “what works in the lab” Some replication of these studies in developing countries

  4. The Science of Persuasion Principles from decades of social psychology research Used by community organizers, advertisers, social marketers, politicians, and those promoting behavior change. Influence: the Psychology of Persuasion, The Human Connection, and Fostering Sustainable Behavior Data from careful observation and experimentation A relatively young discipline

  5. The Science of Persuasion Persuasion literature answers questions about: • kinds of messages that are most memorable and persuasive • what techniques / actions make people more likely to respond positively to a request • how we are influenced / how we influence others • how we decide “who we are” (identity) and what we should do • how and when we look to others to know what to do • the effectiveness of incentives • Some applicable to our work

  6. When do we persuade? What are the things that we try to persuade people to do in our programs? Household-level and on-farm behavior change Community-level mobilization and change Service (e.g., health, financial) utilization Making “sub-commitments” like agreeing to attend a meeting.

  7. So persuasion is a part of behavior change... Before you can maintain a behavior, you have to: Be persuaded to come hear about it Be persuaded to try it out once Be persuaded to give it a chance or try something a bit more intensive.

  8. Application Across Cultures Cialdini: Human Universals, but strength will vary across cultures. In collectivistic cultures/people: Relationally- based principles (e.g., Social Proof, Liking) are sometimes stronger than individually-based principles (e.g., Commitment/ Consistency, Authority). But all still apply.

  9. Seven Principles of Persuasion Commitment & Consistency Social Proof Reciprocation Contrast Liking Authority Scarcity. Also: Internal and External Attribution We will focus on the second and third ones. Note: All can be used for both good and evil! The principle of…

  10. What doesn’t work well in behavior change… See Change or Die (Alan Deutschman) What doesn’twork very well in terms of achieving behavior change: Facts Fear Force Info Only

  11. What works in promoting behavior change: Developing a relationship with someone you trust who gives you hope for change. Learning and practicing skills Changing our worldview or “reframing.” Focusing on determinants of the behavior.

  12. For more information on Care Groups, click here The effectiveness of “block leaders”

  13. “These techniques wouldn’t work on me.” Two Routes to Persuasion We use both routes, depending on the context, time, etc. “WATTage:”Willingness and Ability To Think. Central Route: High WATTage. Thinking carefully and with much effort – active, creative, alert (10:00 a.m. thinking). Longer conversation in our heads that contain topical, relevant thoughts (e.g., health decisions for health types). Central thinkers looking for facts, evidence, & examples, and use a lot of reasoning & logic. An example… Central Route characteristics: Decisions made using this route are more persistent over time, more resistant to counter-arguments, more predictive of future behaviors .. but everyone is not high WATTAGE all the time. Central Route thinking See Petty, R and Cacioppo J. Communication and Persuasion: The Central and Peripheral Routes in Attitude Change. New York: Springer-Verlag, 1986.

  14. Two Routes to Persuasion Peripheral Route: Low WATTage. Tired, busy, passive. Often shorter conversation in our heads. (4:00 p.m. thinking; thinking about how we [food security types] invest our money) With peripheral route, attractiveness, friendliness or expertise of the source are usually more influential. An example… More likely to use central route when issue has strong relevance for us. Both routes can lead to the same amount of immediate change. Ways to increase WATTage: Demonstrate the relevance of the issue to the person. But usually best to focus on using approaches that work on low WATTage thinkers rather than trying to increase WATTage. Peripheral Route thinking

  15. When to use what? For someone who is using Central Route thinking, thoughtful persuasion works best: Using facts, evidence, examples, reasoning, & logic will often work. (What we usually do.) For someone who is using Peripheral Route thinking, CLARCCSS work best (Contrast, Liking, Authority, Reciprocity, Commitment/ Consistency, Scarcity, & Social Proof). Focusing on CLARCCSS to fill out our toolbox. Our default mode is central route persuasion. Often need both to get the job done.

  16. Principle #2: Social Proof Prominent Theorists: Albert Bandura, Robert O’Connor What those around us think is true is enormously important to us in deciding what we ourselves think is true. One means we use to determine what is correct is to find out what other people think is correct, especially in terms of the way we decide what constitutes correct behavior. We view a behavior as more correct in a given situation to the degree that we see others performing it.

  17. Click for Asch conformity experiment video Which line is closer in length to the line on the left: Line A, Line B, or Line C?

  18. Social Proof: Examples, p. 1 Examples: Laugh-tracks (and Claquers for the opera) (Smyth & Fuller, 1972) Other examples: • “Salting” tip jars. • Billy Graham finding “ringers” who come up at specified times to give witnesses, donations. • Advertisers talking about “fastest-growing”, “best selling” – this “proves” it’s good by convincing us that lots of people think it’s good.

  19. Social Proof examples, p. 2 Study: Researchers publicize that people in New Haven, CT, are considered charitable people. Two weeks later: Researcher calls housewives and asks for donations. Result? Donations increase. When it works best: • People are most likely to “follow the leader (or the group)” when the situation is unclear or ambiguous. • We are most likely to look to people who are “just like us” when looking for people to emulate. • Exception: Will follow “authorities” even when they are not like us. (Milgram)

  20. Social Proof examples, p. 3 EX: School-based antismoking program. EX: Video for children terrified of dogs. (Bandura, Grusec, Menlove, 1967) EX: Video for children afraid of dentist. EX: Video for severely withdrawn children. (Robert O’Connor, 1972) David Phillips, “Werther [copycat] Effect”: Suicide follow well-publicized suicides. Bystander inaction

  21. Social Proof examples, p. 4 Aronson & O’Leary Sign in shower on how to conserve water (no water during soap-up): 6% response One accomplice models it with back to other students. When new students enter showers: 49% response. Two modelers: 67%. (No punitive measures, communication – just modeling) “The Navy Shower”

  22. Social Proof examples, p. 5 Cialdini Flyers under all car windows in a library parking lot. Condition #1: accomplice picks up a littered bag and throws it away as subject walks to car: No subjects throw the flyer on the ground. Condition #2: Accomplice walks by subject and does nothing. 33% throw the flyer on the ground. Second study with no accomplice. Condition #1: When many flyers on ground, many litter. Condition #2: When only one flyer on the ground, much less littering.

  23. Review & Summary of Methods Related to Social Proof “Salting the tip jar” / “using Ringers” Publicizing positive results of polls / surveys Modeling ( Testimonies, videos or stories of "people like me" doing the behavior, making the behavior visible, identifiers) Encouraging copy cat behavior of positive things (e.g., publicizing / shining a spotlight on community or individual actions; contests)

  24. Social Proof: How can we use it? Do small scale surveys (sample) on agreement with phrases that require no commitment  increasingly strong statements. Disseminate results. Use more guided testimonials. Consider “salting the tip jar” by giving some people the chance to commit early in the behavior change process, at least verbally (if not publically) then make it public.

  25. Social Proof: How can we use it? Use “trajectory statements”… EX: Don’t say “It’s important to visit all of your neighbors every two weeks” (a subtle command), Say: “We know that all of you Farmer Field School leaders are conscientious and find it very important to assure that all your neighbors are visited every two weeks.” Present a vision to people of who they are.

  26. Social Proof: How can we use it? When looking for sub-commitments, ask specific people if they are willing to be the ones to first make the commitment prior to a meeting. When having trouble getting commitments, ask people in smaller groups. Publicize positive examples Incentivize modeling (hand washing when eating publicly) Make visible people/HH that are practicing a behavior.

  27. Principle #3: Reciprocation We try to repay, in kind, what another person has provided to us. We feel an obligation to make a concession to someone who has made a concession to us. No human society that does not adhere to the reciprocation rule. Richard Leakey: ‘We are human because our ancestors learned to share their food and their skills in an honored system of obligation.”

  28. Reciprocation: Mexico & Ethiopia 1985 Ethiopian famine: $5,000 donation was sent by the Red Cross between Mexico and famine-stricken Ethiopia … … that is, FROM Ethiopia TO Mexico (for the earthquake victims there). Why? Mexico sent aid to Ethiopia in 1935, when it was invaded by Italy. (Also, 70% of Ethiopian Christians are said to tithe.)

  29. The evidence for Reciprocation One study: Dennis Regan, Cornell Subject is asked to rate quality of paintings along with a confederate (“Joe”). Case 1: Joe brings the subject a (10 cent) Coke when he comes back from a break. (“I brought one for you, too.”) Case 2: Just comes back. Joe asks the subject to buy raffle tickets. If he sells the most, het gets a prize. 25 cents each. “Any would help, the more the better.”

  30. Examples, p. 2 Results: Subjects in Case 1 (receive gift) buy twice as many tickets Subjects who liked Joe better (initially) bought more tickets. BUT giving the Coke totally wiped out the relationship between liking Joe and buying tickets. The rule for reciprocity overwhelmed the influence of the other factor – liking the requester. Hare Krishna Society’s “donation-request” tactic

  31. Example, p. 3 Many companies often contribute to both Democratic and Republican candidates. Free samples: Expose people to the product + create reciprocity. Amway’s BUG. Another type of reciprocity: “Rejection then retreat.” Obligation to make a concession to someone who has made a concession to us.

  32. Examples, p. 4 Study on “Rejection then Retreat” (Cialdini et al) Researchers pose as reps of the County Youth Counseling Program. Group #1: College students asked if they would be willing to chaperon (for free) a group of juvies on a day trip to the zoo. 17% agree Group #2: College students asked to spend two hours/wk as a counselor to a juvie, min 2 yrs. Upon refusal, the student is made the same request as Group #1 (zoo trip w/juvies). 50% agree to do so. Caveat: If the first request is too extreme, it does not work. Keep both requests within reason.

  33. Examples, p. 5 Felt coercion? Follow-through? People feel more trusting of the requester and are more likely to follow-through with the commitment made. Ethical? Group #1: College students asked to give blood q 6wks for 3 years. Then (upon rejection), asked to give a single pint now. Group #2: Asked to only give a single pint of blood right now. Those from both groups who agreed to give a pint asked for their phone number to receive a call to donate in the future.

  34. Examples, p. 6 Results? 84% who agreed to give a pint through the rejection then retreat technique agreed to donate later. Only 43% of the others did. Rejection then retreat tactic spurs people not only to agree to a desired request, but actually to carry out the request, and finally to volunteer to perform further requests. Separate studies have shown that those subjects facing someone using this tactic feel most responsible for, and most satisfied with, the final arrangement.

  35. Review & Summary of methods related to Reciprocity Giving gifts, provoking reciprocity Using free samples Rejection then Retreat

  36. Reciprocity: Some ideas on how to use it Have home visitors provide small gifts to beneficiary mothers or farmers as a way to increase trust and create reciprocity. Offer free samples of Zinc, new foods, ORS, improved seeds, or other things people eventually need to purchase. Have home visitors offer to do a favor (e.g., help with cooking, childcare) for the mothers she visits one month – no other teaching. In curricula, have home visitors ask beneficiary mothers to commit to something larger (e.g., EBF for first six months and BF to three years) and when they balk or refuse, ask them to try out something smaller (EBF for first six months).

  37. More Resources: Application Examples You can download a table with a summary of this principle, the techniques associated with it, and ideas on how to use them by using this link (there are underscores _ between each word in the title):

  38. Further Reading Influence: Science and Practice(4th ed.) or Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion(Robert Cialdini). Translated into Spanish, French, Portuguese, Thai, Indonesian, Arabic, and 20 other languages. (See Amazon for language group) Fostering Sustainable Behavior(C-b social marketing, Doug McKenzie-Mohr and William Smith) Switch & Made to Stick(Chip & Dan Heath) Change or Die (BC in general, Alan Deutschman) How We Decide (Jonah Lehrer) The Human Connection (now available used) Marketing Social Change (Alan Andreasen) Persuasion: Theory & Research (O‘Keefe, Daniel J. (2002), Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Click book titles for Listing…