Influence and Persuasion

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Influence and Persuasion

Critical Thinking (Influence, Science and Practice)

Chapter 1

1. Suppose you were an attorney representing a woman who broke her leg in a department store and was suing the store for $100,000 in damages. Knowing only what you know about perceptual contrast, what could you do during the trial to make the jury see $100,000 as a reasonable, even small, award? * Research for similar cases with the same injury but with settlements far greater than $100,000. The bigger its difference from the client’s demands, the better it would be. Present these case citations to the court and by the principle of perceptual contrast, it will drive home the point to the jury that the plaintiff’s demand is indeed very reasonable.

2. The charity request card in Figure 1.2 seems rather ordinary except for the odd sequencing of the donation request amounts. Explain why, according to the contrast principle, placing the smallest donation figure between the two larger figures is an effective tactic to prompt more and larger donations * Listing $25 as the very first amount and succeeding it with the $10 already creates a perceptual contrast, wherein the larger amount would be rejected outright as a steep amount for donation. However, placing $5 right after the $10 creates more perceptual contrast – again the donor would lean towards the lower value. If the charitable organization’s target amount is a donation of $10/person, then it should have stopped at ten as the last amount. However, if its target amount is $5 dollars but with an objective of prompting donors to give more voluntarily, then placing the $5 between the $10 and $15 makes more sense because the donor would be forced to choose a balance between two extremes – the extremes being $5 and $15 and the $10 being the balanced amount that the donor could give without the guilt feeling of being stingy and at the same time without the feeling of being taken advantage of.

3. What points do the following quotes make about the dangers of click-whirr responding?

“Everything should be made as simple as possible but not simpler.” Albert Einstein * From the way I understand this, it means we should not fully relegate our decisions to the automatic click-whirr human responses. Human automatic behavior patterns tend to be learned, more flexible compared with those of the animals that possesses locked patterns of responses. Therefore, we have the capability to analyze and reason out situations before we make decisions. We have to keep in mind that not all stereotypes are true - not every pronouncement of an expert is infallible nor every expensive thing is of high quality. Although these judgmental heuristics allow us simplified living, we must also be conscious of being aware when these simplistic rules are being used to take advantage of us.

“The greatest lesson in life is to know that even fools are sometimes right.” Winston Churchill * This quote is a statement that disagrees with our propensity to stereotype. The stereotype is that people who are considered as fools do not have any smart or knowledgeable thing to offer in terms of opinion. The fool would be the complete opposite of people we consider as experts – people whose opinions are always held in high regard and true. Therefore the fools are people whose views are considered laughable and false. This quote actually says that there are times when a fool’s opinion should be listened to and heeded because it is right. Then again, this would only be possible if we make a conscious effort to react using other triggers rather than just the click-whirr response.

4. How does the photograph that opens this chapter reflect the topic of the chapter? * The photograph shows the onslaught of information that an individual has to process and assimilate into their lives every day. We get swamped with too much information, we do not have the time, energy or the ability to sort them out...
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