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

What to Do About ISIS?

By Clark McCauley Ph.D. on November 25, 2015 Friction
Iraq and Syria cannot be restored as centralized states. What's next?

An Alternative Approach to ISIS

By Marty Nemko Ph.D. on November 23, 2015 How To Do Life
Should a psychological approach to ISIS be added to the military one?

Improving Public Engagement With Climate Change

In this article, we advance five simple but important “best practices” drawn from psychological science to help policymakers galvanize concern and thereby improve public responses to climate change.

How to Negotiate Like a Lawyer

By Ruth Lee Johnson J.D. on November 16, 2015 So Sue Me
Everyone has to negotiate sometimes, but lawyers negotiate for a living. Learn five important strategies that law schools teach lawyers, and unleash your inner attorney.

How to Persuade Defiant Teens Without Aggression

Certain types of beliefs promote or hinder access to solution-focused thinking, and a commitment to a non-aggression principle is a belief that promotes greater access to peaceful and effective solutions during conflicts.

Advice for the Animal Rights Movement Part 2

By Gordon Hodson Ph.D. on November 13, 2015 Without Prejudice
In a previous column I gave some advice, from a psychological point of view, on how animal rights advocates can more effectively communicate their message. Here I follow up with some additional comments.

Can a Celebrity Endorsement Hurt the Brand?

Celebrity endorsements are wildly popular among advertisers. If not used carefully, they can produce a "Vampire Effect" sucking the life-blood out of a brand.

Do You Know About the “Shi San Wu”?

By David Ludden Ph.D. on October 29, 2015 Talking Apes
We Americans have a severely distorted view of China. But with grace and humor, the Chinese are trying to subtly change the way we think about their country.

Making a Choice: APA Reform or Business as Usual?

By Roy Eidelson Ph.D. on October 29, 2015 Dangerous Ideas
Following a seven-month investigation, an independent report revealed extensive collusion between the American Psychological Association and the Department of Defense in support of psychologists’ involvement in coercive war-on-terror interrogations. Now a campaign is underway to discredit that report, and to turn the APA away from much needed accountability and reform.

How to Avoid an Emotional Ambush

Have you said "Yes" when you wanted to say "No." Then you may have been emotionally ambushed.

Psychology and Hillary vs. Bernie

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on October 15, 2015 Ambigamy
Do you want to hear what's true or what feels good? If you're human you want both: "Give me the unvarnished truth, and it better be pleasing." Given this tension, politicians have to walk the tightrope between honesty and electability. Political seasons, especially this one, are a great opportunity to explore the tension.

Why Are FanDuel Television Advertisements So Effective?

Fantasy sports companies make ingenious use of psychology to attract new customers and grow rapidly.

The Psychology of Pumpkin Spice Lattes

By Jaime L. Kurtz Ph.D. on October 02, 2015 Happy Trails
"Get it while it lasts!" "Limited time only!" Why scarcity creates cravings.

Is Total Mind Control Possible?

In the dark and sinister underworld of spies and madmen many things are possible. So, has hypnosis been used to program people to do something illegal or even diabolical?

The Last Safe Prejudice

There are things we can do to encourage weight loss without stigmatizing people who are overweight

Trust in a Trustless Society

By Po Chi Wu Ph.D. on September 08, 2015 Jacob's Staff
Knowledge, transparency, privacy and trust. How are these related? When they are incomplete, what is their impact on our lives? How do we deal with the uncertainties that result from a lack of trust? Do we need new metrics of trust? How can humans develop trust through interactions based purely on digital media?

PowerPoint: A Communication Curse?

By William R. Klemm Ph.D. on September 06, 2015 Memory Medic
You do want your ideas remembered don't you?

Is Your Crap Detector Working?

By Karl Albrecht Ph.D. on September 02, 2015 BrainSnacks
Are you being hypnotized and intellectually anesthetized by the constant flood of entertainment imagery in the popular culture? As writer Ernest Hemingway advised, maybe it's time to tune up your "crap detector."

Laughing Matters During Presidential Primary Debates

By Gregg Murray Ph.D. on August 05, 2015 Caveman Politics
How will we, the American Public, evaluate the candidates in the Republican presidential debates?

7 Ways to Deal With a Chronic Complainer

The chronic complainer. Nothing's ever good enough for them. They love to focus on problems and ignore solutions. This person might be a customer, an employee, a student, a co-worker, a child, or a spouse. On some days, it seems like it's everyone all at once. How can you effectively deal with these people without resorting to violence or sedatives? Here's the plan:

Fading Fast: Is 'Thank You' a Thing of the Past?

How to reinvigorate the power of appreciation. Despite our well-meaning efforts to appreciate our fellows, our favorite phrase of acknowledgment seems to be ringing hollow these days. Can “Thank you” be restored to its former glory by capitalizing on the psychology of message delivery -- or are we doomed to a thankless world?

How to Complain So People Will Listen

Friends and family are supposed to love you, so why is it they don't always seem to care when you complain about their behavior? It might be something about the way you're saying it. Start seeing results with these practical tips for communicating complaints.

Hidden Persuaders: The Psychology of Subliminal Perception

The idea of subliminal perception has never gone away. Are advertisers and marketers using clever and possibly illegal or immoral means to change our behaviour

The Human Side of Change

When leaders continue to pay attention to how they handle both crucial conversations and crucial accountability discussions, they enjoy significant and lasting change.

The Psychology of Jimmy Kimmel's "Lie Witness News"

By Jordan Gaines Lewis on July 08, 2015 Brain Babble
Why are the pedestrians interviewed on Jimmy Kimmel Live's "Lie Witness News" segment so easily fooled? Actually, many methods of persuasion are at work here.

Can Subliminal Messages Create Feelings of Love and Lust?

Can a sexy picture in the background or a well-chosen romantic word, trigger automatic feelings of love and desire? Could the right situation or association make you seem more attractive, sexy, or alluring to a potential lover? See what the research has to say here...

Igniting a Renaissance

How can parents best bring out their child’s gifts? How can we help the gifted child who is more introverted? How can we spur a renaissance in gifted education? How can we persuade the public to care about helping our most talented kids reach their full potential?

"How?" Is Why You'll Eliminate Panic Attacks

By Hal Mathew on June 14, 2015 Unagoraphobic
Ask yourself and others questions that begin with the word "How?" Doing this means you are ready to solve your problems.

Should Anonymous Comments Be Banned on Blogs?

Would banning anonymous comments keep Internet trolls away? What are the arguments for and against a ban?

7 Ways People Can Change Your Mind

Are you the type of person who can resist the lure of tempting ads or the pressure of someone you know to get you to change your mind? Maybe you’re not as resistant to these influences as you think so that, even without knowing it, you’re an easy target.