Psychology

Some rules of (human) psychology

  • humans are social and empathetic:
    • mirroring someone subtly (body language or speech) will make them more agreeable to you
    • more likely to associate if we perceive that the “others” are similar to us
    • we are more persuasive if we point out shared traits with the people we’re persuading
    • “service with a smile” really works, as long as the smile is genuine (try focusing on the positives, and generating good-will)
    • mirrors cause a person to act more sociably (!!)
    • pictures of eyes cause a person to act more sociably
  • humans are herd creatures:
    • point out the majority action/preference and we’re subconsciously drawn to it
    • “97% of people in this neighbourhood recycle you know!”
    • shopping channel: “if you can’t get through the first time, please try again” (implies lots of customers)
  • giving — humans subconsciously wish to reciprocate
    • give someone something for nothing and they will “owe” you (in their own minds)
    • but make sure to advertise the value of the thing they’re getting for free
    • “no strings attached” now means more likely to help you in the future
  • we are dumber than we think
    • there are twice many dentists named Dennis as Larry; same goes for Bob the Builder
    • easily pronounced (“fluent”) company names do better (economics), including pronounceable stock tickers
    • we think tall people are authoritative, natural leaders
    • we’re more likely to believe a message if it is written with good hand-writing (or font?), in simple language and — if possible — it rhymes
    • it’s all comparative thinking — a 20kg weight will feel light if we first pick up a 40kg weight, and just how much would it cost to train a new config manager?
  • mood affects decision-making:
    • when we’re sad, we will pay more for goods
    • when distracted (even temporarily) our guard is down and we may believe things without question – can be manipulated, in other words
    • but when caffeinated-up (takes 40 minutes from ingestion) we are more susceptible to well-reasoned arguments!
    • “I know there’s still good in you, I sense it.” — Luke Skywalker to Darth Vader
  • labelling: assigning a positive trait, belief or attitude to someone and then requesting something of them consistent with that label
  • an “active” commitment is more likely to be upheld
    • writing down your resolutions/goals — and sharing them — makes you more likely to achieve them
    • asking someone how they would react to a future request, and getting an explanation why, means they are more likely to react that way when the time comes e.g. “will you vote this Sunday?” “Yes, of course” — person now more likely to vote
  • favours
    • getting a small agreement from someone makes them more likely to agree to a bigger request
    • asking a favour of someone who dislikes you can make them like you
    • highlighting that you accept even a small amount of (money, assistance) will make the requestee more likely to capitulate
  • persuasion
    • persuading with fear only works if paired with a simple plan for avoiding the fearful situation
    • persuasion/requests should ALWAYS be accompanied by a rationale: “because…”
      • for “low impact” decisions, any reason at all may do, we short-cut the process
      • bigger decisions need better reasons
    • getting others to state their rationale for something will cement their opinions on it
      • the harder it is to state a reason (or reasons) for something, the less we value it
      • “Give me 10 reasons to buy a BMW”
  • groupthink
    • a dissenting view in a group will force the group to think more comprehensively and expansively, and lead to a better decision
    • asking for opinions, even if you think you are smarter, is a very good idea
  • pimp yo’self
    • people will perceive you as more trustworthy if you admit to a (small) fault or negative aspect, then pair it with something positive which cancels out the fault
    • having someone else advertise your skills and experience is more believable than advertising them yourself, even if the other person is clearly working for you
  • favours LOSE value over time for the recipient; they GROW in value for the giver
    • e.g. covering CK’s rent when he first moved to London
  • scarcity sells:
    • the more rare something is, the more desirable
  • humans are more motivated towards avoiding losses than acquiring gains
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