With disguised identity and intent, the investigator infiltrates the setting of interest and becomes a full-fledged participant in the group to be studied. Their descriptions, which appear in the Reader's Reports at the end of each chapter, illustrate how easily and frequently we can fall victim to the pull of the influence process in our everyday lives. Most frequently, though, it has taken the form of participant observation. I choose not to treat the material selfinterest rule separately in this book because I see it as a motivational given, as a goes-without- saying factor that deserves acknowledgment but not extensive description. Their business is to make us comply, and their livelihoods depend on it.
That new feature highlights the experiences of individuals who have read Influence, recognized how one of the principles worked on or for them in a particular instance, and wrote to me describing the event. All my life I've been a patsy. Using similar but not identical approaches, I was able to penetrate advertising, public-relations, and fund-raising agencies to examine their techniques. Probably this long-standing status as sucker accounts for my interest in the study of compliance: As I thought about it, I knew that they represented the richest vein of information about compliance available to me. So when I wanted to learn about the compliance tactics of encyclopedia or vacuum-cleaner, or portrait-photography, or dance-lesson sales organizations, I would answer a newspaper ad for sales trainees and have them teach me their methods. Their descriptions, which appear in the Reader's Reports at the end of each chapter, illustrate how easily and frequently we can fall victim to the pull of the influence process in our everyday lives. Just what are the factors that cause one person to say yes to another person? The others—representatives of certain charitable agencies, for instance—have had the best of intentions. After a time, though, I began to realize that the experimental work, while necessary, wasn't enough. At other times it involved an intensive examination of the written materials by which compliance techniques are passed down from one generation to another—sales manuals and the like. With personally disquieting frequency, I have always found myself in possession of unwanted magazine subscriptions or tickets to the sanitation workers' ball. It will be increasingly important for the society, therefore, to understand the how and why of automatic influence. I have characterized such principles as weapons of influence and will report on some of the most important in the upcoming chapters. The study of persuasion, compliance, and change has advanced, and the pages that follow have been adapted to reflect that progress. I wish to thank the following individuals who—either directly or through their course instructors—contributed the Reader's Reports used in this edition: The principles—consistency, reciprocation, social proof, authority, liking, and scarcity —are each discussed in terms of their function in the society and in terms of how their enormous force can be commissioned by a compliance professional who deftly incorporates them into requests for purchases, donations, concessions, votes, assent, etc. Although there are thousands of different tactics that compliance practitioners employ to produce yes, the majority fall within six basic categories. It didn't allow me to judge the importance of the principles in the world beyond the psychology building and the campus where I was examining them. Nor does it come from any evidence I have that compliance professionals ignore the power of this rule. It became clear that if I was to understand fully the psychology of compliance, I would need to broaden my scope of investigation. In the interim, some things have happened that I feel deserve a place in this new edition. Their business is to make us comply, and their livelihoods depend on it. Each of these categories is governed by a fundamental psychological principle that directs human behavior and, in so doing, gives the tactics their power. I wondered why it is that a request stated in a certain way will be rejected, while a request that asks for the same favor in a slightly different fashion will be successful. It has been some time since the first edition of Influence was published. In addition, I would like to invite new readers to submit similar reports for possible publication in a future edition.
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