How to Persuade

How do you get people to think and behave a little differently? Persuasion is an art—If you push too hard, you will risk being aggressive. If you nudge too lightly, you may turn into a pest. A thoughtful, persuasive argument can lead you to getting what you want. Here's how.

Recent posts on Persuasion

I Called the Trump Presidential MO Years Ago

By Stanton Peele on February 20, 2017 in Addiction in Society
Donald Trump practiced his exact method for making the United States a totalitarian state more than five years ago, as I detailed for Psychology Today.

The Abuse of Language by Groups Seeking Social Change

By Hank Davis on February 16, 2017 in Caveman Logic
You're driving me crazy with your over-the-top language

The Con of Propaganda

By Noam Shpancer Ph.D. on February 15, 2017 in Insight Therapy
If you don’t hear much about propaganda, that’s what you’re hearing.

What Do We Do When Our Reasons Seem Weak?

By Gregory R. Maio Ph.D. on February 15, 2017 in Attitude Check
Why is the gap between political viewpoints growing larger? Mechanisms for reducing attitude uncertainty may be part of the answer.

Hope and Connection In These Political Times

By Sam Osherson Ph.D. on February 06, 2017 in Listen Up!
Worried, anxious, and confused by politics? Here are a few steps that can help.

Terror, Love, and Brainwashing

By The Book Brigade on February 02, 2017 in The Author Speaks
Cults and brainwashing are more common than you might think. The best defense is educating children about the dangers of manipulative people and the techniques they use.

Sensory Marketing; The Smell of Cinnamon That Made Me Buy

While we like to think that we know why we make the decisions we make, we are in fact controlled by hidden biological forces more than we would like to admit.

When Martin Luther King, Jr Addressed Social Scientists

In 1967, Martin Luther King Jr., addressed the APA convention at the invitation of SPSSI. Read the full text of his still relevant remarks in this special blog post.
K. Ramsland

The Measure of Cunning

By Katherine Ramsland Ph.D. on January 15, 2017 in Shadow Boxing
We have many instruments for measuring IQ and personality traits, even psychopathy, but we need a precise instrument to learn more about criminal street smarts.

Everything You Need to Know About Conflicts of Interest

How do you know whether a conflict of interest is biasing your doctor? Why detecting conflicts of interest can be trickier than it may seem.

Protests and Force Don't Change People's Hearts and Minds

Empathy conversations in which the participants are their authentic selves and feel safe to share their vulnerabilities are extremely powerful in changing hearts and minds.

Behavioral Science Improves Online Advertising

By Diogo Gonçalves on December 27, 2016 in There Are Free Lunches
Consumers are more receptive to certain behavioral tricks.

The "Mind Games" of Donald Trump

By Roy Eidelson Ph.D. on December 27, 2016 in Dangerous Ideas
Donald Trump, America’s premier hustler, sold the electorate a wagonload of beguiling and deceptive tales about what’s gone wrong, who’s to blame, and how he’ll make things better.

How to Win an Argument with Your Political Opponent

By Lawrence T. White Ph.D. on December 19, 2016 in Culture Conscious
By reframing arguments in the moral language of your opponents, you can induce them to step away from their original position and move closer to yours.

Storytelling Enhances the Influence of Science-Based Writing

By Christopher Bergland on December 16, 2016 in The Athlete's Way
Writing in a narrative style—that includes storytelling and sensory language—makes scientific studies on climate change more engaging and impactful, according to a new study.

The Threat of Fake News to Our Democracy

By Kyle D Killian Ph.D., LMFT on December 14, 2016 in Intersections
Pope Francis endorsed Trump? Nope. Why do such stories gain traction?
TopVectorStudio/Shutterstock

Rethinking Our Politics: Learning From the 2016 Election

Can we come back from the brink? Psychological research on attitudes and emotions suggests new ways to conduct our political affairs, while creating a grand social experiment.

Start a Bonfire of Change

By Po Chi Wu Ph.D. on December 09, 2016 in Jacob's Staff
Do you feel your company is becoming less competitive? Identify your Progenitors, the people who act like sparks to ignite bonfires of change.

A Farewell to Reality? Illusion in the 2016 Election

By Brenda Berger Ph.D. on December 04, 2016 in Hearts and Minds
Are you still shocked and confused about the results of the presidential election? Here are some thoughts about what might have been behind the outcome.
Group meeting, labeled for reuse, Pixabay

Analysis: How the AASECT Sex Addiction Statement Was Created

By Michael Aaron, Ph.D. on November 30, 2016 in Standard Deviations
An Insider's Perspective Behind the Scenes of AASECT's Historic Sex Addiction Statement.

How to Detect Fake News

The Internet abounds with Fake news and misrepresentation. Our brains are powerful lie detectors, let’s use them.

Talking as a Tool for Growth

By Marty Nemko Ph.D. on November 28, 2016 in How To Do Life
With proper precautions, it's wise to routinely talk out your half-baked ideas.

Changing Minds on Meat Eating

Effective animal advocacy is turning to empirical research for guidance.

"Post-Truths" Trump Facts, Affect Trumps Reason

By Saul Levine M.D. on November 23, 2016 in Our Emotional Footprint
The divisive presidential election showed how divided Americans are, how powerful emotions like fear and anger can overwhelm reason, and "post-truths" can blind people to facts.

Trump and Coercive Persuasion

By Carol A. Lambert, MSW on November 20, 2016 in Mind Games
Trump's win is not a validation of controlling partners. Rather, it's an opportunity to learn from his public behavior about coercive persuasion and psychological manipulation.

How Terrified Should You Be of Donald Trump, Really?

Think Donald Trump's anti-science attitudes don't present a true threat to your health and security? Think again.

"It's the Psychology, Stupid!"

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on November 12, 2016 in Ambigamy
Trump pretended to be invincible. He never lost a face-to-face interaction. Invincibility sells. Maybe that more than anything else won him the election.

The 7 Ways Donald Trump Influenced Voters' Brains

By Tim David on November 12, 2016 in The Magic of Human Connection
In shock over Donald Trump's presidential victory? These are the scientific reasons why Americans really voted for him.

Fighting Climate Change in a Post-Factual Age

By Rolf Reber Ph.D. on November 10, 2016 in Critical Feeling
Climate change is abstract, distant, and easy to deny. But we can fight it if we know how.

Do We Even Understand the Other Side?

Political discussions would go better if we were less biased. That said, here's a skill that will lead to more productive political discussions, even if we remain biased.