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

Assessing the Constructiveness of Political Discourse

The key to successful democratic elections is constructive political discourse. Often political discourse is destructive. Here is a framework for assessing its quality.

Cultivating YES: 6 Strategies That Can Optimize Your Success

By Bobby Hoffman Ph.D. on February 01, 2016 Motivate!
Have you ever tried to persuade someone and had your request denied? Don't settle for "NO!" Using these 6 evidence-based strategies correctly may change the course of your life!

What Do Your Favorite Posters and T-Shirts Say About You?

Sure, I once wore messages on T-shirts. But after a certain age, I no longer wanted folks to read my bust-line in order to grasp my perspective on cultural and political issues.

A Lesson in Persuasion

By Marty Nemko Ph.D. on January 16, 2016 How To Do Life
The feedback I gave on a job-seeker's letter to a prospective employer.

One Surefire Tip For Making Yourself Do What You Need to Do

By Nir Eyal on January 14, 2016 Automatic You
New research reveals an effective way to get ourselves to do tough tasks.

Music in Shops

By Adrian Furnham Ph.D. on January 11, 2016 A Sideways View
Change a shoppers mood and you change their behaviour. That is why shops use smells and sounds to make us react and hopefully get us spending more

Schopenhauer Talks Back

Before your next argument, review Schopenhauer’s “Art of being right.” Beg the question, turn the tables, or make your point ex concessis. Whatever it takes!

Does War Support Increase When Costs Are High?

Innocent people being killed in conflict can have a rather unexpected impact on war support.

Ten Persuasive Behaviors For Meetings

By Joe Navarro M.A. on December 26, 2015 Spycatcher
Everyone has advice for best behaviors to use in meetings—here are ten suggestions that are not often discussed yet are highly influential.

Don't Let Him Ruin Your Good Mood

By Donna Barstow on December 25, 2015 Ink Blots Cartoons
How to negotiate with your mate. And 10 Christmas quotes for if you're feeling cranky.

Can You Be Conned?

By Katherine Ramsland Ph.D. on December 22, 2015 Shadow Boxing
During a season of gift giving and charity come plenty of scams. A new book will educate you in how to be prepared.

The Secret to Having a Good but Difficult Conversation

By Marcia Reynolds Psy.D. on December 19, 2015 Wander Woman
Do your difficult conversations seem to create more problems? Follow these steps to prepare, enter, and engage the person to increase your odds of having a good outcome:

The Appeal of Demagogues

Demagogues arise in times of social turmoil, and promise to save society from certain groups they call dangerous and evil. Frustrated people are often swayed by bombastic words..

Why the Paris Climate Talks Are Important

The Paris talks prove that the whole world can work together to address the climate change problem. That is an achievement to celebrate.

Why Scientists Should Write For The Public

One reason academics should write for the public? To fix academic writing.

Three Simple Statements That Cure Dogmatism and Open Minds

By Karl Albrecht Ph.D. on December 12, 2015 BrainSnacks
Why do some people present themselves in conversation as rigid, inflexible, dogmatic, opinionated, overbearing, and unwilling to listen and learn? There is a cure for dogmatism.

The Denial of Reality

Few now believe that Planet Earth is flat, or the center of the universe, but many believe that there is no global warming, LBGT people are immoral, vaccines cause autism: Why?

The Long and Short Cons of Master Manipulators

A sophisticated con game was being run on a US Air Force base — with the government's unwitting cooperation. Here's how I discovered and exposed it.

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.