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[Audio] The Psychology of Persuasion

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Persuasion is a powerful entity in our lives, and we often use or are exposed to it on a daily basis. Murray State University Assistant Professor of Psychology Dr. Michael Bordieri speaks with Tracy Ross on Sounds Good about common persuasive tactics.

Bordieri says persuasion has been a recent topic of interest in the psychology community. There has been recent research into, for example, what goes into convincing someone to change their beliefs or do something they are opposed to.

A common tactic is known as the door-in-the-face technique. The idea is making an outrageous request then scaling it down to a more reasonable one.

Generally speaking, people don’t like to say “no.” By transitioning from a large ask to a smaller one, someone may be more inclined to agree.

Another concept is the foot-in-the-door: making a small request then bumping it up. Bordieri says it can be difficult for one to say “no” after giving a “yes” in the first place.

There are a few more techniques below:

  • Choices: people may be inclined to take a choice from options they otherwise wouldn’t agree with
  • Conformity: the desire to join others and be a part of something can drive behavior
  • Scarcity: people tend to psychologically value things when they’re perceived as scarce or the time to make a choice is running out
  • Central route to persuasion: a more direct approach, persuasion by reasoning and logic

Tracy started working for WKMS in 1994 while attending Murray State University. After receiving his Bachelors and Masters degrees from MSU he was hired as Operations/Web/Sports Director in 2000. Tracy hosted All Things Considered from 2004-2012 and has served as host/producer of several music shows including Cafe Jazz, and Jazz Horizons. In 2001, Tracy revived Beyond The Edge, a legacy alternative music program that had been on hiatus for several years. Tracy was named Program Director in 2011 and created the midday music and conversation program Sounds Good in 2012 which he hosts Monday-Thursday. Tracy lives in Murray with his wife, son and daughter.
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