4-2 Discussion: Psychology of Persuasion sample paper

Robert Cialdini is one of the best-known researchers on the topic of persuasion. He also has a book out by that same title: Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion.


Summarize some of the key findings/conclusions made by Cialdini’s research. In what ways has his research been criticized? What are some ways in which persuasion can be connected to social welfare and social change?

Use research from the Shapiro Library to support your claims.

To complete this assignment, review the Graduate Discussion Rubric document.

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Summarize some of the key findings/conclusions made by Cialdini’s research

The book, Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert Cialdini, talks about specific reasons people agree on things or why they say “yes.” It tells people how they can defend themselves when persuasion principles are being applied against them. The author concluded that influence is founded on six main principles: social proof, reciprocity, authority, commitment and consistency, scarcity, and liking. Each of these principles helps people become more influential and persuasive. For instance, the principle of reciprocity holds that when something is done to us, we should reciprocate (responding by doing something similar). In other words, one way to influence a person is to do something similar to what they are expected to do in return. The principle of commitment and consistency, on the other hand, holds that a person must align their words and actions in order to influence others (Cialdini, 1993). As such, a person who wants to influence people must be consistently committed in doing something good. This approach would make a person be seen as reliable and honest. Cialdini also concluded that effort increases commitment because people who spend more effort in acquiring something appear to value it more than those who obtain it with little effort.

In what ways has his research been criticized?

Cialdini had advocated for the use of brainstorming methods to influence people. Some critics hold that brainstorming works best with individuals that have a confused identity and a sense of guilt. Cialdini had concluded that referrals are examples of the “Liking” principle. Some critics hold that referrals are examples of social obligations.

What are some ways in which persuasion can be connected to social welfare and social change?

Usually, individuals tend to find out what is correct from what other people think and do. According to Cialdini (1993), about 95% of people are imitators, and only 5% are initiators. As such, individuals are persuaded that something is correct when they see other people doing it. Change agents in society can convince people to embrace social change by quoting statistics of how the proposed change has been applied and accepted in other places.

References

Cialdini, R. B. (1993). Influence: The psychology of persuasion (Rev. ed.). New York, NY:           Morrow.