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

The Art and Science of Haggling

By Adrian Furnham Ph.D. on April 18, 2015 in A Sideways View
Often the most popular skills based courses are those on negotiation. They teach among other things the gentle but very important arts of haggling and persuasion: in short how to get a good deal. Why is it so important and what is the fundamental psychology of haggling?

I Ain't Got no Body

By Katherine Ramsland Ph.D. on April 16, 2015 in Shadow Boxing
A former prosecutor offers collection of U.S. homicide cases that went to trial, despite having no body.

Expanding the Self

We should reciprocate the gift of our own lives..... To be focused narrowly - worrying excessively about our personal skills and accomplishments and about the public's regards of these - is to remain forever a child.

The Best of Times or the Worst of Times for Marriage?

By Bella DePaulo Ph.D. on April 10, 2015 in Living Single
Fewer people are marrying than ever before, as claims about the power of marriage—for adults, for children, and for society—intensify. How accurate are those claims? What are the implications of offering more incentives to people to get married and more benefits and protections once they do?

Are the People Close to You Good Role Models?

By Art Markman Ph.D. on April 08, 2015 in Ulterior Motives
Humans are a social species, and so we are strongly influenced by the example that other people set for us. I have written frequently in this blog about goal contagion, which is the idea that we often adopt the goals of the people we see around us, even without realizing that we are doing so.

The Death of Asylumdom

The fate of the mental hospital in the modern world.

What We All Get So Wrong About Narcissists

By Bella DePaulo Ph.D. on April 05, 2015 in Living Single
To determine whether narcissists really do use more "I-talk" (I, me, my, mine) than everyone else, 9 psychologists from 7 universities analyzed data from more than 4,000 people in 15 samples. They looked at face-to-face introductions and personal essays and Facebook pages and classrooms and small groups. They explain why they did not find what you thought they would.

8 Signs You're in a Relationship with a Sexual Narcissist

Sexual narcissism can be defined as a grandiose sense of one’s sexual prowess which, in the mind of the sexual narcissist, entitles him or her to engage in acts of emotional and physical manipulation at the partner’s expense. How do you know when your partner may be a sexual narcissist? Here are eight telltale signs...

A Response to Sam Harris's Writings on Moral Truth Pt 3 of 3

By John A. Johnson Ph.D. on April 04, 2015 in Cui Bono
In August of 2013, Sam Harris issued a challenge to refute, in 1,000 words or less, the central thesis of his book, The Moral Landscape. This thesis is that "questions of morality and values must have right and wrong answers that fall within the purview of science." In a three-part blog post, I explain why I agree with everything in his book except the central thesis.

The Body as (Part of) Protest

This entry explores the possible pros and cons of Brittany Mason's YouTube video, in which she protests the recent passing of the Religious Freedom Act in Indiana.

Another Guy Who Isn't a Sex Addict

By Marty Klein PhD on March 31, 2015 in Sexual Intelligence
"Sex addiction" is a very poor way to understand people.

Why Feelings Will Always Beat Facts

By Douglas Van Praet on March 30, 2015 in Unconscious Branding
We often think we are logical people making fact-based decisions. But we are often being swayed simply by the use of a metaphor.

Living Comfortably with Hypocrisy and Negative Evidence

By Warren W Tryon Ph.D. on March 22, 2015 in The Missing Link
How do people live comfortably with hypocrisy and negative evidence?

The Politics of Pizza

By Ken Eisold Ph.D. on March 20, 2015 in Hidden Motives
We think of pizza by the slice, sometimes a whole pie, so we haven’t noticed how big an industry it has become. But Big Pizza is as big as virtually anything else in our economy – and as political.

The Blissful Torture of Unrequited Love

Whether fast or slow, it comes on hard—as powerful as a bludgeon, but one covered in the softest velvet. It’s two-faced as well, like an optical illusion. And it’s also supremely paradoxical. How can an unreturned love engender such ecstatic, sublime feelings? Yet the chemical dynamics of reciprocation fantasies can be incredibly powerful...

Are You Ready to Change?

We're always changing. We want to stop bad habits and start new ones. We want to move our life in a new direction, but the prospect of doing so is daunting. So let's stop forcing ourselves and others to change and deal with where we are at the moment.

"It's Amazing"! "It's The Worst!" Stop with the Hyperbole

By Marty Nemko Ph.D. on March 14, 2015 in How To Do Life
We lose credibility when we exaggerate how good or bad people or things are.

Interview Lies: Typical Untruths Told in Selection Inteviews

By Adrian Furnham Ph.D. on March 07, 2015 in A Sideways View
Some say the problem with using personality tests for selection is that people lie on them. But what about lying in interviews? Who, when, why and how do both interviewers and interviewees tell lies of various types to try to create a good impression.

Jodi Arias Wins

After a deadlocked jury, for Jodi Arias the death penalty is now off the table.

The Surprising Way That Simple Actions Can Change Your Mind

By Geoff Haddock Ph.D. on March 05, 2015 in Attitude Check
Can holding a pen in your mouth lead you to see cartoons as more or less funny?

Feeling Paranoid?

Paranoid fears are common and have a variety of causes but new research shows specific issue cognitive behaviour therapy can bring significant benefits

4 Secrets to Communicating with Difficult People

By Aldo Civico Ph.D. on March 04, 2015 in Turning Point
Are you dealing with a grumpy teenager, or an impossible boss? Here are 4 secrets suggested by successful mediators to deal with difficult people and situations.

Marketers' Shocking New Ability to Target Women

By Nigel Barber Ph.D. on March 03, 2015 in The Human Beast
During the fertile phase of their monthly cycle, women are prone to greater risk taking. For psychologists, this means that they are more likely to initiate sexual affairs. Marketers discovered that women are more likely to try new brands as well. Now they plan to use this fact in targeted marketing. Assuming that they get away with it, will the scheme work?

Do You Want People to Understand You? Stop Doing This.

Saying what you mean is more than a matter of finding the right words. It’s the intonation, or tone of voice, that adds punch to our language. If you’re a victim of “uptalk,” without knowing it, you may be leaving people with a wrong, and confusing, impression.

A Response to Sam Harris's Writings on Moral Truth Pt 2 of 3

By John A. Johnson Ph.D. on March 03, 2015 in Cui Bono
In August of 2013, Sam Harris issued a challenge to refute the central thesis of his book, The Moral Landscape. This thesis is that "questions of morality and values must have right and wrong answers that fall within the purview of science." This is part 2 of a 3-part post explaining why I agree with everything in his book except the central thesis.

A Single Question Can Boost Your Chance of Getting a Date

Have you ever wanted to ask out someone you know, or get a date with an attractive stranger? In either case, you can increase your chances of getting a "yes" by first asking a simple question, or making a small request. Find out what the research has to say here...

Online Dating: The Dark Side

By Martin Graff Ph.D. on February 25, 2015 in Love, Digitally
These people use devious psychological ploys. Have you ever been suspicious about an online relationship?

A Response to Sam Harris's Writings on Moral Truth Pt 1 of 3

By John A. Johnson Ph.D. on February 23, 2015 in Cui Bono
In August of 2013, Sam Harris issued a challenge to refute, in 1,000 words or less, the central thesis of his book, The Moral Landscape. This thesis is that "questions of morality and values must have right and wrong answers that fall within the purview of science." In a three-part blog post, I explain why I agree with everything in his book except the central thesis.

The Benefits of Being Blond

Is it better to be blond? Prior research suggests that blond women enjoy a wage premium and preferential treatment from men. But does this really translate into higher lifetime earnings or better odds of marriage? And might blond men be similarly-advantaged?

Get Robust, Because Resilience Is Too Little Too Late

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on February 22, 2015 in Ambigamy
Resilience is the ability to recover your cool quickly. Robustness is keeping your cool no matter what. James Bond is robust. You don't see him recovering his cool after a fight. He keeps his cool in the fight. Here are 14 quick strategies for cultivating your robustness, so you can stand up for yourself invulnerably.