Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion – Robert B. Cialdini

(Collins Business Essentials) 2009. Kindle edition.

All my life I’ve been a patsy. For as long as I can recall, I’ve been an easy mark for the pitches of peddlers, fund-raisers, and operators of one sort or another.

sanitation
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psychology of compliance.
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the law of survival of the fittest assures it. Their business is to make us comply, and their livelihoods depend on it. Those who don’t know how to get people to say yes soon fall away; those who do, stay and flourish.
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buncosquad
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The principles—consistency, reciprocation, social proof, authority, liking, and scarcity—
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deftly
Chapter 1: Weapons of Influence
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mother turkeys,
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ethologists
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trigger feature.
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robin,
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robin-redbreast feathers
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bluethroat,
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a specific shade of blue breast feathers.
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smugly
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First, the automatic, fixed-action patterns of these animals work very well the great majority of the time.
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only healthy, normal turkey chicks make the peculiar sound of baby turkeys, it makes sense for mother turkeys to respond maternally to that single “cheep-cheep” noise.
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The second important thing to understand is that we, too, have our preprogrammed tapes; and, although they usually work to our advantage,
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dupe
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when we ask someone to do us a favor we will be more successful if we provide a reason.
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The customers, mostly well-to-do vacationers with little knowledge of turquoise, were using a standard principle—a stereotype—to guide their buying: “expensive = good.”
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These were people who had been brought up on the rule “You get what you pay for” and who had seen that rule borne out over and over in their lives.
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prevalent
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is the most efficient form of behaving, and in other cases it is simply necessary.
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You and I exist in an extraordinarily complicated stimulus environment, easily the most rapidly moving and complex that has ever existed on this planet. To deal with it, we need shortcuts. We can’t be expected to recognize and analyze all the aspects in each person, event, and situation we encounter in even one day. We haven’t the time, energy, or capacity for it. Instead, we must very often
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use our stereotypes, our rules of thumb to classify things according to a few key features and then to respond mindlessly when one or another of these trigger features is present.
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cataloging, appraising, and calibrating—
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“civilization advances by extending the number of operations we can perform without thinking about them.”
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the discount coupon,
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Mailed-out coupons that—because of a printing error—offered no savings to recipients produced just as much customer response as did error-free coupons that offered substantial savings.
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Not only do we expect them to save us money, we also expect them to save us the time and mental energy required to think about how to do it.
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In today’s world, we need the first advantage to handle pocketbook strain; but we need the second advantage to handle something potentially more important—brain strain.
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They make us terribly vulnerable to anyone who does know how they work.
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genus
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(Photuris)
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scrupulously
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duped
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This dance appears to be the trigger feature of the cleaner that activates the dramatic passivity of the big fish.
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inertia.
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the contrast principle,
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we may be less satisfied with the physical attractiveness of our own lovers because of the way the popular media bombard us with examples of unrealistically attractive models.
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three pails of water—one cold, one at room temperature, and one hot.
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lukewarm
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Presenting an inexpensive product first and following it with an expensive one will cause the expensive item to seem even more costly as a result—hardly a desirable consequence for most sales organizations.
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start with a couple of undesirable houses.
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called “setup” properties.
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The trick is to bring up the extras independently of one another, so that each small price will seem petty when compared to the already-determined much larger one.
Chapter 2: Reciprocation: The Old Give and Take . . . and Take
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Pay every debt, as if God wrote the bill.
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Christmas cards to a sample of perfect strangers.
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the rule for reciprocation. 7 The rule says that we should try to repay, in kind, what another person has provided us.
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By virtue of the reciprocity rule, then, we are obligated to the future repayment of favors, gifts, invitations, and the like.
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a term like “much obliged” has become a synonym for “thank you,”
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our ancestors learned to share their food and their skills in an honored network of obligation,”
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the future orientation inherent in a sense of obligation
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Sophisticated and coordinated systems of aid, gift giving, defense, and trade became possible, bringing immense benefit to the societies that possessed them. With
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perplexing
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wrenchingly
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awed,
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moocher, ingrate, welsher.
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can greatly increase the chance that we will do what they wish merely by providing us with a small favor prior to their requests.
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the rule for reciprocation, which, as demonstrated by the Regan study, is strong enough to overcome the factor of dislike for the requester.
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before a donation is requested, the target person is given a “gift”—a book (usually the Bhagavad Gita), the Back to Godhead magazine of the Society, or, in the most cost-effective version, a flower.
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Carter came to the presidency from outside the Capitol Hill establishment. He campaigned on his outside-Washington identity, saying that he was indebted to no one there. Much of his legislative difficulty upon arriving may be traced to the fact that no one there was indebted to him.
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One look at the lists of companies and organizations that contribute to the campaigns of both major candidates in important elections gives evidence of such motives.
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The beauty of the free sample, however, is that it is also a gift and, as such, can engage the reciprocity rule.
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A favorite place for free samples is the supermarket, where customers are frequently provided with small cubes of a certain variety of cheese or meat to try. Many people find it difficult to accept a sample from the always-smiling attendant, return only the toothpick, and walk away.
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Vance Packard in The Hidden Persuaders,
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Amway Corporation, a rapid-growth company that manufactures
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BUG.
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Diane Louie,
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Jonestown, Guyana,
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November of 1978 when its leader, Jim Jones, called for the mass suicide of all residents,
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“I knew once he gave me those privileges, he’d have me. I didn’t want to owe him nothin’.”
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disliked, or unwelcome others
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Marcel Mauss, in describing the social pressures surrounding the gift-giving process in human culture, can state, “There is an obligation to give, an obligation to receive, and an obligation to repay.” 12
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Joe had voluntarily left the room and returned with one Coke for himself and one for the subject. There was not a single subject
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who refused the Coke. It is easy to see why it would have been awkward to turn down Joe’s favor: Joe had already spent his money; a soft drink was an appropriate favor in the situation, especially since Joe had one himself; it would have been considered impolite to reject Joe’s thoughtful action.
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one could say that the subject had the choice of saying no to both of Joe’s offers. But those would have been tough choices.
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jettisoned
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ruefully:
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He totaled it.
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we have been conditioned to be uncomfortable when beholden.
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If we were to ignore breezily the need to return another’s initial favor, we would stop one reciprocal sequence dead and would make it less likely that our benefactor would do such favors in the future. Neither event is in the best interests of society. Consequently, we are trained from childhood to chafe, emotionally, under the saddle of obligation.
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we may be willing to agree to perform a larger favor than we received, merely to relieve ourselves of the psychological burden of debt.
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But there is another reason as well. A person who violates the reciprocity rule by accepting without attempting to return the good acts of others is actively disliked by the social group.
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In combination, the reality of internal discomfort and the possibility of external shame can produce a heavy psychological cost.
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a woman allows a man to buy her drinks, she is immediately judged (by both men and women) as more sexually available to him. 15
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one consequence of the rule is an obligation to repay favors we have received.
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Another consequence of the rule, however, is an obligation to make a concession to someone who has made a concession to us.
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It is in the interests of any human group to have its members working together toward the achievement of common goals. However, in many social interactions the participants begin with requirements and demands that are unacceptable to one another.
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Thus the society must arrange to have these initial, incompatible desires set aside for the sake of socially beneficial cooperation. This is accomplished through procedures that promote compromise. Mutual concession is one important such procedure.
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encourages the creation of socially desirable arrangements by ensuring that anyone seeking to start such an arrangement will not be exploited.
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large-request-then-smaller-request sequence
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chaperon
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Be assured that any strategy able to triple the percentage of compliance with a substantial request (from 17 percent to 50 percent in our experiment) will be frequently employed in a variety of natural settings.
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the larger the initial request, the more effective the procedure,
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if the first set of demands is so extreme as to be seen as unreasonable, the tactic backfires.
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the extreme first request is not seen to be bargaining in good faith.
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The truly gifted negotiator, then, is one whose initial position is exaggerated enough to allow for a series of reciprocal concessions that will yield a desirable final offer from the opponent, yet is not so outlandish as to be seen as illegitimate from the start.
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admitted to “deliberately inserting lines into scripts that a censor’s sure to ax” so that they could then retreat to the lines they really wanted included.
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the percentage of successful door-to-door sales increases impressively when the sales operator is able to mention the name of a familiar person who “recommended” the sales visit.
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Many individuals who would not otherwise subject their friends to a high-pressure sales presentation do agree to supply referrals when the request is presented as a concession from a purchase request they have just refused.
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This larger-then-smaller-request strategy is effective for a pair of other reasons as well. The first concerns the perceptual contrast principle
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simultaneously engaged the force of the reciprocity rule and the contrast principle.
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calamitous
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This time the plan, still stupid but less so than the previous ones, was approved.
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succinct
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sabotage/
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only LaRue had not been present at the prior two meetings, where Liddy had outlined his much more ambitious programs.
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desired from the outset
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Either way, I benefit; it’s a case of heads I win, tails you lose.
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customers… were led instantly to a $ 3,000 table, regardless of what they wanted to see… and then allowed to shop the rest of the line, in declining order of price and quality.
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distrust the manipulative requester, deciding never to deal with him again.
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these victim reactions do not occur with increased frequency when the rejection-then-retreat technique is used. Somewhat astonishingly, it appears that they actually occur less frequently!
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again, the rejection-then-retreat procedure was the more effective one (85 percent vs. 50 percent). 21
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Even for future favors, the rejection-then-retreat strategy proved superior.
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it seems that the rejection-then-retreat tactic spurs people not only to agree to a desired request but actually to carry out the request and, finally, to volunteer to perform further requests.
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what we have not yet examined is a little-known pair of positive by-products of the act of concession: feelings of greater responsibility for, and satisfaction with, the arrangement.
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It is this set of sweet side effects that enables the technique to move its victims to fulfill their agreements and to engage in further such agreements.
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Those subjects facing the opponent who used the retreating strategy felt most responsible for the final deal.
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reported that they had successfully influenced the opponent to take less money for himself.
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the targets of this strategy were the most satisfied with the final arrangement.
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people who are satisfied with a given arrangement are more likely to be willing to agree to further such arrangements.
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When up against a requester who employs the rule for reciprocation, you and I face a formidable foe.
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If we are not to be abused by it, we must take steps to defuse its energy.
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Perhaps by rejecting the requester’s initial favor or concession to us,
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Invariably declining the requester’s initial offer of a favor or sacrifice works better in theory than in practice.
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it is difficult to know whether such an offer is honest or whether it is the initial step in an exploitation attempt.
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If we always assume the worst, it would not be possible to receive the benefits of any legitimate favors or concessions offered by individuals who had no intention of exploiting the reciprocity rule.
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growled
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glare,
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brushed
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It is hard to know whom to blame more here, the insensitive man or the exploiters who had abused his mechanical tendency to reciprocate a gift until his response had soured to a mechanical refusal.
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social friction and isolation could well result. A policy of blanket rejection, then, seems ill advised.
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accept the desirable first offers of others but to accept those offers only for what they fundamentally are,
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Here our partner is not a benefactor but a profiteer.
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The rule says that favors are to be met with favors; it does not require that tricks be met with favors.
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maneuver.
Chapter 3: Commitment and Consistency: Hobgoblins of the Mind
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Hobgoblins
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It is easier to resist at the beginning than at the end. —LEONARDO DA VINCI
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our nearly obsessive desire to be (and to appear) consistent with what we have already done.
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Once we have made a choice or taken a stand, we will encounter personal and interpersonal pressures to behave consistently with that commitment. Those pressures will cause us to respond in ways that justify our earlier decision.
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tentative
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repented
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relent.
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believe in the correctness of a difficult choice, once made. Indeed, we all fool ourselves from time to time in order to keep our thoughts and beliefs consistent with what we have already done or decided.
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accomplice
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stroll down the beach.
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vigilantes,
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snatching
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glowered
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good personal consistency is highly valued in our culture. And well it should be. It provides us with a reasonable and gainful orientation to the world.
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erratic,
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disjointed.
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it offers a shortcut through the density of modern life. Once we have made up our minds about an issue, stubborn consistency allows us a very appealing luxury: We really don’t have to think hard about the issue anymore.
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sift
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allure
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rigors
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as Sir Joshua Reynolds noted, “There is no expedient to which a man will not resort to avoid the real labor of thinking.”
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more perverse attraction of mechanical consistency
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Sometimes it is not the effort of hard, cognitive work that makes us shirk thoughtful activity, but the harsh consequences of that activity.
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slackers.
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Sealed within the fortress walls of rigid consistency, we can be impervious to the sieges of reason.
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presided
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devastating.
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insomniac
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cogency
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Driven by their needs, they very much wanted to believe that TM was their answer.
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intrudes
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insatiable
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patsy
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diabolic
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whining,
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trudging off
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seethe
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COMMITMENT IS THE KEY
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commitment. If I can get you to make a commitment (that is, to take a stand, to go on record), I will have set the stage for your automatic and ill-considered consistency with that earlier commitment.
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Once a stand is taken, there is a natural tendency to behave in ways that are stubbornly consistent with the stand.
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sly
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700 percent increase in volunteers
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stingy
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farfetched,
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the “How are you feeling” technique was, by far, superior to its rival
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“lenient policy,”
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Start small and build.
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coercion,
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seemed to them trivial
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eliciting confessions, self-criticism, and information during interrogation.”
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to obtain a large purchase by starting with a small one.
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succinctly:
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The general idea is to pave the way for full-line distribution by starting with a small order…. Look at it this way—when a person has signed an order for your merchandise, even though the profit is so small it hardly compensates for the time and effort of making the call, he is no longer a prospect—he is a customer.
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the foot-in-the-door technique.
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psychologists Jonathan Freedman and Scott Fraser
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preposterous
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trifling
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Because they had innocently complied with a trivial safe-driving request a couple of weeks before, these homeowners became remarkably willing to comply with another such request that was massive in size.
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petition
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Signing the beautification petition changed the view these people had of themselves. They saw themselves as public-spirited citizens who acted on their civic principles. When, two weeks later, they were asked to perform another public service by displaying the DRIVE CAREFULLY sign, they complied in order to be consistent with their newly formed self-images. According to Freedman and Fraser,
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You can use small commitments to manipulate a person’s self-image; you can use them to turn citizens into “public servants,” prospects into “customers,” prisoners into “collaborators.”
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once you’ve got a man’s self-image where you want it, he should comply naturally with a whole range of your requests that are consistent with this view of himself.
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indoctrinate
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aggressors
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Our best evidence of what people truly feel and believe comes less from their words than from their deeds.
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irrevocably
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coercion,
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Set a goal and write it down.
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when people personally put their commitments on paper: They live up to what they have written down.
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cuticle
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experience that “magical” pull to believe what they have written.
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The Public Eye
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an important psychological principle: Public commitments tend to be lasting commitments.
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desirable good personal consistency is as a trait;
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someone without it could be judged as fickle, uncertain, pliant, scatterbrained, or unstable;
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someone with it is viewed as rational, assured, trustworthy, and sound.
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social psychologists, Morton Deutsch and Harold Gerard.
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They require their clients to write down an immediate weight-loss goal and show that goal to as many friends, relatives, and neighbors as possible.
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schmuck.
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The Effort Extra
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the more effort that goes into a commitment, the greater is its ability to influence the attitudes of the person who made it.
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primitive
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Anthropologists
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gauntlet
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clubs.
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manes
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foreskin
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secluded
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nauseating
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antelope,
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novice,
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rites
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fraternities.
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huddled
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suffocating
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initiation rituals.
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slyly
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circumvented
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fraternities,
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hazing
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miscreants
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perpetrators
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aberrantly
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culprit.
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rigors
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“persons who go through a great deal of trouble or pain to attain something tend to value it more highly than persons who attain the same thing with a minimum of effort.”
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coeds,
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sadism.
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They are acts of group survival.
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cohesiveness
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stringent
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solidarity.
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agonies
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claustrophobic
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outpost
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callow
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crucible
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cadets
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rigors
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The Inner Choice
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It appears that commitments are most effective in changing a person’s self-image and future behavior when they are active, public, and effortful.
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strenuous
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pledges;
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They wanted the men to own what they had done. No excuses, no ways out were allowed.
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arduous
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those men had to be made to take inner responsibility for their actions.
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affinity
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we accept inner responsibility for a behavior when we think we have chosen to perform it in the absence of strong outside pressures.
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we should never heavily bribe or threaten our children to do the things we want them truly to believe in.
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enormity
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escorted
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cue
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unscrupulous
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undergird
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insidious
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variety of lowballing
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the sequence is the same: An advantage is offered that induces a favorable purchase decision; then, sometime after the decision has been made but before the bargain is sealed, the original purchase advantage is deftly removed.
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The impressive thing about the lowball tactic is its ability to make a person feel pleased with a poor choice.
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aficionado.
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lowballed
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Once made, that commitment started generating its own support: The homeowners began acquiring new energy habits, began feeling good about their public-spirited efforts, began convincing themselves of the vital need to reduce American
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dependence on foreign fuel,
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viewing themselves as conservation-minded.
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strangely enough, when the publicity factor was no longer a possibility, these families did not merely maintain their fuel-saving effort, they heightened it.
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this hidden benefit of the lowball tactic is no fluke.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson.
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“A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.”
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revealing
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halter
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symphonic
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stammered
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snare
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lunacy
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flustered,
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bumble
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resilient
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scantily
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clad
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swingers
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what Emerson said about foolish consistency and hobgoblins of the mind.
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refuse to allow myself to be locked into a mechanical sequence of commitment and consistency when I know it’s wrongheaded.
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erred
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if I could go back in time, would I make the same choice again?”
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without the price advantage, those other reasons would not have brought me there. They hadn’t created the decision; the decision had created them.
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snarl,
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slugged
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By extracting a kiss, the salesman exploited the consistency principle in two ways. First, by the time he asked for her aid in the magazine contest, his prospect had already gone on record—with that kiss—as agreeing to help him win a contest. Second, it seems only natural (i.e., congruent) that if a woman feels positively enough toward a man to kiss him, she should feel positively toward helping him out.
Chapter 4: Social Proof: Truths Are Us
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SOCIAL PROOF
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Truths Are Us
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CANNED LAUGHTER.
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mirth,
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exalted
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glutted
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peculiar;
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flotsam
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dubbed
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blatant,
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hilarity
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forgery
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we use to determine what is correct is to find out what other people think is correct.
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We view a behavior as more correct in a given situation to the degree that we see others performing it.
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turkey and the polecat
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Click, whirr.
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“salt”
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ushers
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discotheque
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creating long waiting lines
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“Since 95 percent of the people are imitators and only 5 percent initiators, people are persuaded more by the actions of others than by any proof we can offer.”
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Bandura and his colleagues have shown how people suffering from phobias can be rid of these extreme fears in an amazingly simple fashion.
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playpen
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maladaptive
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potency
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how social evidence can be used on us—not by others, but by ourselves—to assure us that what we prefer to be true will seem to be true.
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cataclysmic
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acute dismay
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enigmatic
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ridicule
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populace,
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dogma
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incognito,
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occult,
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saucers;
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calamity,
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proselyte
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vengeance
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pestered
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dodge
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evasive
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prank
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eyelets
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brassieres
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darting
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lull
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utterance.
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mantel
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strained,
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high-pitched
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astray!”
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The clock chimed twelve,
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in the expectant hush.
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monosyllabically
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mulled over
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predicament
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escort
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resoundingly,
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avid
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radical
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clannish
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taciturn
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disseminators
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propagate
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encroaching
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huddled
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hideous.
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overarching
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cultists
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seeps
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poignantly
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there was but one way out of the corner for the group. They had to establish another type of proof for the validity of their beliefs: social proof.
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conspirators
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zealous
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missionaries.
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rendered
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scorn
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derision
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The principle of social proof says so: The greater the number of people who find any idea correct, the more the idea will be correct.
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“pluralistic ignorance.”
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tenor
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aghast
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grasping
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muffled
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burgeoning
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stalk and stab
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borough’s
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slaying
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fathom.
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rigors
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plight
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apathy
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“megalopolitan
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impinging
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With several potential helpers around, the personal responsibility of each individual is reduced:
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The second reason is the more psychologically intriguing one; it is founded on the principle of social proof and involves the pluralistic ignorance effect.
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marital spat
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because we all prefer to appear poised and unflustered among others, we are likely to search for that evidence placidly, with brief, camouflaged glances at those around us.
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unruffled
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As a result, and by the principle of social proof, the event will be roundly interpreted as a nonemergency.
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upshot
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epileptic
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seizure
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seeping
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callous,
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It seems that the pluralistic ignorance effect is strongest among strangers: Because we like to look poised and sophisticated in public and because we are unfamiliar with the reactions of those we do not know, we are unlikely to give off or correctly read expressions of concern when in a grouping of strangers. Therefore, a possible emergency becomes viewed as a nonemergency, and the victim suffers.
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All the conditions that decrease an emergency victim’s chances for bystander aid exist normally and innocently in the city: (1) In contrast to rural areas, cities are more clamorous, distracting, rapidly changing places where it is difficult to be certain of the nature of the events one encounters. (2) Urban environments are more populous, by their nature; consequently, people are more likely to be with others when witnessing a potential emergency situation. (3) City dwellers know a much smaller percentage of fellow residents than do people who live in small towns; therefore, city dwellers are more likely to find themselves in a group of strangers when observing an emergency.
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Without ever having to resort to such sinister concepts as “urban depersonalization” and “megalopolitan alienation,” then, we can explain why so many instances of bystander inaction occur in our cities.
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Devictimizing
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ominous
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as the world’s populations move increasingly to the cities—half of all humanity will be city dwellers within ten years—there will be a growing need to reduce those dangers.
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predicament,
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Use the word “Help” to cry out your need for emergency aid. And don’t worry about being wrong. Embarrassment is a villain to be crushed here. In the context of a possible stroke, you cannot afford to be worried about the awkwardness of overestimating your problem. The difference in cost is that between a moment of embarrassment and possible death or lifelong paralysis.
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gawking at you and grappling with these questions,
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my advice would be to isolate one individual from the crowd: Stare, speak, and point directly at that person and no one else: “You, sir, in the blue jacket, I need help. Call an ambulance.”
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Do not allow bystanders to come to their own conclusions because, especially in a crowd, the principle of social proof and the consequent pluralistic ignorance effect might well cause them to view your situation as a nonemergency.
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And request assistance of a single individual from the group of onlookers. Fight the natural tendency to make a general request for help. Pick out one person and assign the task to that individual. Otherwise, it is too easy for everyone in the crowd to assume that someone else should help, will help, or has helped. Of all the techniques in this book designed to produce compliance with a request, this one may be the most important to remember.
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slumped,
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stagger,
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blot
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solicitous,
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infectious.
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The trick had been to get the ball rolling in the direction of aid. Once that was accomplished, I was able to relax and let the bystanders’ genuine concern and social proof’s natural momentum do the rest.
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We have already explored one of those conditions: uncertainty. Without question, when people are uncertain, they are more likely to use others’ actions to decide how they themselves should act. But, in addition, there is another important working condition: similarity.
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The principle of social proof operates most powerfully when we are observing the behavior of people just like us.
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dissimilar
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one successful way to sell a product to ordinary viewers (who compose the largest potential market) is to demonstrate that other “ordinary” people like and use it.
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volleys
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We will use the actions of others to decide on proper behavior for ourselves, especially when we view those others as similar to ourselves.
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a school-based antismoking program had lasting effects only when it used same-age peer leaders as teachers.
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lowered their own dental anxieties principally when they were the same age as the child in the film.
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coax,
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scrupulously
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burbled,
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“Well, I’m three years old, and Tommy is three years old. And Tommy can swim without a ring, so that means I can too.”
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After a suicide has made front-page news, airplanes—private planes, corporate jets, airliners—begin falling out of the sky at an alarming rate.
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The same social conditions that cause some people to commit suicide cause others to die accidentally.
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Newspaper stories reporting on suicide victims who died alone produce an increase in the frequency of single-fatality wrecks only, whereas stories reporting on suicide-plus-murder incidents produce an increase in multiple-fatality wrecks only.
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bereavement
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“Werther effect.”
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German literature, Johann von Goethe,
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(The Sorrows of Young Werther).
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emulative
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In a morbid illustration of the principle of social proof, these people decide how they should act on the basis of how some other troubled person has acted.
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contends
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copycat suicides.
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furtively,
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inexplicably
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swerve
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for the impact to be as lethal as possible. The consequence should be quick and sure death.
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the imitators should be most likely to copy the suicides of people who are similar to them.
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If I must fly during such a period, I purchase substantially more flight insurance than I normally would. Dr. Phillips has done us a service by demonstrating that the odds for survival when we travel change measurably for a time following the publication of certain kinds of front-page suicide stories. It would seem only prudent to play those odds.
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Phillips’s suicide data, it is clear that widely publicized aggression has the nasty tendency to spread to similar victims, no matter whether the aggression is inflicted on the self or on another.
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enormity
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the mass suicide at Jonestown, Guyana.
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cultlike
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In 1977, the Reverend Jim Jones—
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November 18, 1978,
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unified
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vat
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convulsions
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the great majority of the 910 people who died did so in an orderly, willful fashion.
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barrage
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hypnotized
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charisma
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welter
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malevolent
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compatriots,
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fanatically
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potent.
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assemblage
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A forceful leader can reasonably expect, however, to persuade some sizable proportion of group members. Then the raw information that a substantial number of group members has been convinced can, by itself, convince the rest.
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Thus the most influential leaders are those who know how to arrange group conditions to allow the principle of social proof to work maximally in their favor.
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equatorial
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pervades
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imperils
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There are two types of situation in which incorrect data cause the principle of social proof to give us poor counsel.
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the social evidence has been purposely falsified.
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claquing,
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titters, chuckles, or belly laughs,
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laxity
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vengeance.
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natural error will produce snowballing social proof that pushes us to the incorrect decision. The pluralist ignorance phenomenon, in which everyone at an emergency sees no cause for alarm, is one example of this process.
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It would be in this crush to cram into the available spaces of the next lane that a collision frequently happened.
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Especially when we are uncertain, we are willing to place an enormous amount of trust in the collective knowledge of the crowd.
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saboteur
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haywire
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the Indians realized, it was possible to kill tremendous numbers of buffalo by starting a herd running toward a cliff.
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decoy
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In the same way, we need to look up and around periodically whenever we are locked onto the evidence of the crowd.
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Once again we can see that social proof is most powerful for those who feel unfamiliar or unsure in a specific situation and who, consequently, must look outside of themselves for evidence of how best to behave there.
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Invest when you understand. Otherwise, you easily follow the herd, becoming a victim of social proof
Chapter 5: Liking: The Friendly Thief
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The main work of a trial attorney is to make a jury like his client. —CLARENCE DARROW
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we most prefer to say yes to the requests of someone we know and like.
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Anybody familiar with the workings of a Tupperware party will recognize the use of the various weapons of influence we have examined so far: reciprocity (to start, games are played and prizes won by the partygoers; anyone who doesn’t win a prize gets to reach into a grab bag for hers so that everyone has received a gift before the buying begins), commitment (each participant is urged to describe publicly the uses and benefits she has found in the Tupperware she already owns), and social proof (once the buying begins, each purchase builds the idea that other, similar people want the product; therefore, it must be good).
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the true request to purchase the product does not come from this stranger; it comes from a friend to every woman in the room.
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The strength of that social bond is twice as likely to determine product purchase as is preference for the product itself.
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There is a man in Detroit, Joe Girard, who specialized in using the liking rule to sell Chevrolets.
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he averaged more than five cars and trucks sold every day he worked;
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It consisted of offering people just two things: a fair price and someone they liked to buy from.
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Physical Attractiveness
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Although it is generally acknowledged that good-looking people have an advantage in social interaction, recent findings indicate that we may have sorely underestimated the size and reach of that advantage. There seems to be a click, whirr response to attractive people.
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A halo effect occurs when one positive characteristic of a person dominates the way that person is viewed by others. And the evidence is now clear that physical attractiveness is often such a characteristic.
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talent, kindness, honesty, and intelligence.
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Certain of the consequences of this unconscious assumption that “good-looking equals good” scare me.
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In fact, 73 percent of Canadian voters surveyed denied in the strongest possible terms that their votes had been influenced by physical appearance;
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the attractive defendants were twice as likely to avoid jail as the unattractive ones.
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A major exception to this rule might be expected to occur, of course, if the attractive person is viewed as a direct competitor, especially a romantic rival.
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con
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one of the most influential is similarity.
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those who wish to be liked in order to increase our compliance can accomplish that purpose by appearing similar to us in any of a wide variety of ways.
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Dress is a good example.
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attire
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petition
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to claim that they have backgrounds and interests similar to ours.
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Many sales training programs now urge trainees to “mirror and match” the customer’s body posture, mood, and verbal style,
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Compliments
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affinity,
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Each month he sent every one of his more than thirteen thousand former customers a holiday greeting card containing a personal message.
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the message printed on the face of the card never varied. It read, “I like you.” As
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Joe understands an important fact about human nature: We are phenomenal suckers for flattery.
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gullibility—
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we tend, as a rule, to believe praise and to like those who provide it, oftentimes when it is clearly false.
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we like things that are familiar to us.
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Get the negative of an old photograph that shows a front view of your face and have it developed into a pair of pictures—one that shows you as you actually look and one that shows a reverse image (so that the right and left sides of your face are interchanged).
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Your friend will prefer the true print, but you will prefer the reverse image.
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in an election booth voters often choose a candidate merely because the name seems familiar.
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And because greater liking leads to greater social influence, these subjects were also more persuaded by the opinion statements of the individuals whose faces had appeared on the screen most frequently.
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clot together ethnically,
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contempt,
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benevolently
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cauldron
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wrangle
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jettison
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Presented with the common crisis and realizing the need for unified action, the boys organized themselves harmoniously to find and fix the problem before day’s end.
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chums
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treasury,
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when success resulted from the mutual efforts, it became especially difficult to maintain feelings of hostility toward those who had been teammates in the triumph.
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welter
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“jigsaw classroom”—
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This is accomplished by forming students into cooperating teams and giving each student only one part of the information—
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ethnic
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not very articulate in English,
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ridiculed
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bustle
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stammered,
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fidgeted.
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ridicule and teasing.
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tormentors
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tenacious
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although the familiarity produced by contact usually leads to greater liking, the opposite occurs if the contact carries distasteful experiences with it. Therefore, when children of different racial groups are thrown into the incessant, harsh competition of the standard American classroom, we ought to see—and we do see—the worsening of hostilities. Second, the evidence that team-oriented learning is an antidote to this disorder may tell us about the heavy impact of cooperation on the liking process.
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snarls and growls.
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mound
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livid.
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burgeoning
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rantings
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punk.
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tirade
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incarceration
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instilled
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raving,
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venomous
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flak
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zing
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imperial messengers of old Persia.
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sumptuously.
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summarily
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slain.
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There is a natural human tendency to dislike a person who brings us unpleasant information, even when that person did not cause the bad news. The simple association with it is enough to stimulate our dislike.
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parting
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duck
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prognosticators
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whacked
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accosted
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pelted
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galoshes,
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burly
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bouncer,
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retaliate,
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contraption
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Remember how they were always warning us against playing with the bad kids down the street?
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People do assume that we have the same personality traits as our friends. 84
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Did you ever wonder what all those good-looking models are doing standing around in the automobile ads? What the advertiser hopes they are doing is lending their positive traits—beauty and desirability—to the cars. The advertiser is betting that we will respond to the product in the same ways we respond to the attractive models merely associated with it.
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Yet when asked later, the men refused to believe that the presence of the young woman had influenced their judgments. 85
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deodorant
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it doesn’t have to be a logical one, just a positive one.
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Gregory Razran. Using what he termed the “luncheon technique,”
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Razran found that only certain of them had gained in approval—those that had been shown while food was being eaten.
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Ivan Pavlov.
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soon the dog would salivate to the bell alone, even when there was no food to be had.
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jingle
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berserk,
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lavishness
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Balkans
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pleading
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Perplexed and exasperated,
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ward
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foul
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cognac.
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delirious:
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hoarse.
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It is a personal thing.
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Isaac Asimov
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“All things being equal, you root for your own sex, your own culture, your own locality… and what you want to prove is that you are better than the other person. Whomever you root for represents you; and when he wins, you win.”
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ferocious
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implicated
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So we want our affiliated sports teams to win to prove our own superiority. But to whom are we trying to prove it? Ourselves, certainly; but to everyone else, too.
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our connections to successful others has its mirror image in our attempt to avoid being darkened by the shadow of others’ defeat.
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blurted
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anguish,
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scrupulously
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rigged
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These students had bolstered their images through their own achievement and didn’t need to do so through the achievement of others.
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it will be when prestige (both public and private) is low that we will be intent upon using the successes of associated others to help restore image.
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scalpers
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stubs.
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bask
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who would wait in the snow to spend fifty dollars apiece for the shreds of tickets to a game they had not attended,
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aficionados;
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they are individuals with a hidden personality flaw—a poor self-concept. Deep inside is a sense of low personal worth that directs them to seek prestige not from the generation or promotion of their own attainments, but from the generation or promotion of their associations with others of attainment.
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name-dropper
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the rock-music groupie, who trades sexual favors for the right to tell girlfriends that she was “with” a famous musician for a time.
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the rather tragic view of accomplishment as deriving from outside the self.
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Instead of striving to inflate their visible connections to others of success, they strive to inflate the success of others they are visibly connected to.
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obstetrician
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Physicians’ wives often speak of the pressures to obtain personal prestige by association with their husband’s professional stature.
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myriad
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vigilance
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We allow these factors to exert their force, and then we use that force in our campaign against them. The stronger the force, the more conspicuous it becomes and, consequently, the more subject to our alerted defenses.
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pitch,
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But the part about wanting to save Brad money on our calls really got to me.
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affront
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succinct:
Chapter 6: Authority: Directed Deference
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Follow an expert. —VIRGIL
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intriguing,
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designated
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apprehension
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grunt
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groan
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mumble
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frenzied
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writhe
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shriek.
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nightmarish
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screeching,
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agony
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inflict
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pleas
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agonized
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a distinct minority who did.
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cretins
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inflict
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sadistic
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grisly
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a deep-seated sense of duty to authority within us all.
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culprit
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mayhem
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implored
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perspired,
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stammered
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twitching,
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stuttering
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wreck
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earlobe
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muttered:
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tragicomic befuddlement
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darting
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loggerheads,
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sadism
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squirming
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severed
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magnanimity.
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A multilayered and widely accepted system of authority confers an immense advantage upon a society.
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anarchy,
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render
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plunge
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dagger
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tormented
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Stories like those of Abraham and Milgram’s subjects can tell us much about the power of and value for obedience in our culture.
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once we realize that obedience to authority is mostly rewarding, it is easy to allow ourselves the convenience of automatic obedience. The simultaneous blessing and bane of such blind obedience is its mechanical character. We don’t have to think; therefore, we don’t. Although such mindless obedience leads us to appropriate action in the great majority of cases, there will be conspicuous exceptions—because we are reacting rather than thinking.
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terraced
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prestige
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hierarchy
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rectal
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CONNOTATION, NOT CONTENT
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the most intriguing feature for me in the Robert Young Sanka commercial was its ability to use the influence of the authority principle without ever providing a real authority.
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When in a click, whirr mode, we are often as vulnerable to the symbols of authority as to the substance.
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There are several kinds of symbols that can reliably trigger our compliance in the absence of the genuine substance of authority.
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the titles, clothes, and trappings of authority.
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our actions are frequently more influenced by a title than by the nature of the person claiming it.
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tenor
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People who have been spontaneous and interesting conversation partners for the prior half hour become respectful, accepting, and dull.
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Thus it is not necessarily the pleasantness of a thing that makes it seem bigger to us, it is its importance. 95
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In some animal societies, where the status of a male is assigned on the basis of dominance, size is an important factor in determining which male will achieve which status level in the group.
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fracas.
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unfurl
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flutter
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Fur, fins, and feathers.
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There are two lessons for us here. One is specific to the association between size and status.
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The other lesson is more general: The outward signs of power and authority frequently may be counterfeited with the flimsiest of materials.
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defer.
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frailest
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blunders.
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It is all the more instructive that they had traveled so far in this direction that their error had come not in response to genuine authority but to its most easily falsified symbol—a bare title.
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cloak
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bunco
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bulge
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chameleon
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they adopt the hospital white, priestly black, army green, or police blue that the situation requires for maximum advantage.
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garb
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Leonard Bickman
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attire.
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blatant
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connotation
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the well-tailored business suit.
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It, too, can evoke a telling form of deference from total strangers.
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three and a half times as many people swept into traffic behind the suited jaywalker.
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deftly
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swindle
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starched;
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lapels
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tampered
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vault,
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bunco artists
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mesmerized
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Trappings
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ornamental
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Finely styled and expensive clothes carry an aura of status and position, as do trappings such as jewelry and cars.
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deference
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rammed
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As in Milgram’s research, the midwestern hospital-nurses’ study, and the security-guard-uniform experiment, people were unable to predict correctly how they or others would react to authority influence.
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Not only does it work forcefully on us, but it also does so unexpectedly.
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A fundamental form of defense against this problem, therefore, is a heightened awareness of authority power.
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We shouldn’t want to resist altogether, or even most of the time. Generally, authority figures know what they are talking about.
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“Is this authority truly an expert?”
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By orienting in this simple way toward the evidence for authority status, we can avoid the major pitfalls of automatic deference.
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“Is this authority truly an expert?”
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a business-suited jaywalker
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ask a second simple question: “How truthful can we expect the expert to be here?”
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swayed
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They also know that the larger a customer’s bill, the larger the amount of money likely to come to them in a standard gratuity. In these two regards, then—building the size of the customer’s charge and building the percentage of that charge that is given as a tip—servers regularly act as compliance agents.
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busboy
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propitious
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vantage
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patrons
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linger
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I quickly learned that his style was to have no single style. He had a repertoire of them, each ready to be called on under the appropriate circumstances.
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When the customers were a family, he was effervescent—even slightly clownish—directing his remarks as often to the children as to the adults. With a young couple on a date, he became formal and a bit imperious in an attempt to intimidate the young man (to whom he spoke exclusively) into ordering and tipping lavishly. With an older, married couple, he retained the formality but dropped the superior air in favor of a respectful orientation to both members of the couple. Should the patron be dining alone, Vincent selected a friendly demeanor—cordial, conversational, and warm.
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But Vincent reserved the trick of seeming to argue against his own interests for large parties of eight to twelve people.
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Here his technique was veined with genius. When it was time for the first person, normally a lady, to order, he went into his act. No matter what she selected, Vincent reacted identically: His brow furrowed, his hand hovered above his order pad, and after looking quickly over his shoulder for the manager, he leaned conspiratorially toward the table to report for all to hear, “I’m afraid that is not as good tonight as it normally is. Might I recommend instead the____or the____?” (Here Vincent suggested a pair of menu items that were fifty cents or so less expensive than the dish the patron had selected initially.) “They are both excellent tonight.”
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partake
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rapturous
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mousse.
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In this case, after the thirty-five-hundred-dollar figure was set, each two-hundred-dollar nick seemed small by comparison.
Chapter 7: Scarcity: The Rule of the Few
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The way to love anything is to realize that it might be lost. —G. K. CHESTERTON
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so intent on
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Something that, on its own merits, held little appeal for me had become decidedly more attractive merely because it would soon become unavailable.
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The idea of potential loss plays a large role in human decision making. In fact, people seem to be more motivated by the thought of losing something than by the thought of gaining something of equal value.
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As a rule, if it is rare or becoming rare, it is more valuable.
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Flawed items—
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Imperfections that would otherwise make for rubbish make for prized possessions when they bring along an abiding scarcity.
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the “limited-number” tactic,
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infiltrating
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renege.
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the “deadline” tactic,
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sanctum,
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adept
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Swindled
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swindlers
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waning
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“boiler-room operation,”
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ruse
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crammed
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snare
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unsuspecting
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glamorous-sounding
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schemes,”
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pitch,
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dangle
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cajoled
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recouped
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REACTANCE
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As opportunities become less available, we lose freedoms; and we hate to lose the freedoms we already have.
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prerogatives
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Jack Brehm
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kernel
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tendrils
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“the terrible twos.”
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wriggle and squirm
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the boys in this study demonstrated the classic terrible twos’ response to a limitation of their freedom: outright defiance.
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milieu
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volition,
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teenage.
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feud
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flicker
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puppy love?
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Virginia Slims cigarettes
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chauvinistic
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lamentable
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During the lengthy duration of this campaign, the percentage of cigarette smokers has risen in only one U.S. demographic group—teenage women.
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geyserlike
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ammunition,
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pun
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Only those individuals whose freedom in the matter had not been restricted by the law had the inclination to live by it.
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antiphosphate
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ordinance
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to boast of twenty-year supplies of phosphate cleaners.
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subtle
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deliberate defiance
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When our freedom to have something is limited, the item becomes less available, and we experience an increased desire for it.
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we need to make sense of our desire for the item, so we begin to assign it positive qualities to justify the desire.
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our response to the banning of information is a greater desire to receive that information and a more favorable attitude toward it than before the ban.
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the most effective strategy may not be to publicize their unpopular views, but to get those views officially censored and then to publicize the censorship.
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boomerang
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exclusive information is more persuasive information is central to the thinking of two psychologists, Timothy Brock and Howard Fromkin, who have developed a “commodity theory” analysis of persuasion.
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whammy.
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the customers who heard of the impending scarcity via “exclusive” information. They purchased six times the amount that the customers who received only the standard sales pitch did.
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Stephen Worchel.
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The drop from abundance to scarcity produced a decidedly more positive reaction to the cookies than did constant scarcity.
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such scarcity is a primary cause of political turmoil and violence.
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James C. Davies,
Highlight(blue) – Page 194 · Location 4132
states that we are most likely to find revolutions where a period of improving economic and social conditions is followed by a short, sharp reversal in those conditions. Thus it is not the traditionally most downtrodden people—who have come to see their deprivation as part of the natural order of things—who are especially liable to revolt. Instead, revolutionaries are more likely to be those who have been given at least some taste of a better life. When the economic and social improvements they have experienced and come to expect suddenly become less available, they desire them more than ever and often rise up violently to secure them.
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cluster
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servitude
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privation,
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stymied
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lynchings
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glasnost
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perestroika.
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Freedoms once granted will not be relinquished without a fight.
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parents who enforce discipline inconsistently produce generally rebellious children.
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We’ve already seen from the results of that study that scarce cookies were rated higher than abundant cookies and that newly scarce cookies were rated higher still. Staying with the newly scarce cookies now, there was a certain cookie that was the highest rated of all: those that became less available because of a demand for them.
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The results showed that those whose cookies became scarce through the process of social demand liked them significantly more than those whose cookies became scarce by mistake.
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Not only do we want the same item more when it is scarce, we want it most when we are in competition for it.
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The ardor of an indifferent lover surges with the appearance of a rival.
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fabricated,
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devastatingly
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contested
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disdain.
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ferociously
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chum.
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agitated,
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bilge.
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extreme caution is advised whenever we encounter the devilish construction of scarcity plus rivalry.
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visceral
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predicament,
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The joy is not in experiencing a scarce commodity but in possessing it.
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cite
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First, he had to know enough about cars to buy those that were offered for sale at the bottom of their blue-book price range but could be legitimately resold for a higher price. Second, once he got the car, he had to know how to write a newspaper ad that would stimulate substantial buyer interest. Third, once a buyer arrived, he had to know how to use the scarcity principle to generate more desire for the car than it perhaps deserved.
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blemishes
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inadvertently
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agitation
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periphery,
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beset
Epilogue
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Epilogue
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abrasive
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vituperous
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infrahumans
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maternal
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John Stuart Mill,
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his death (1873) is important because he is reputed to have been the last man to know everything there was to know in the world.
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eons
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We now live in a world where most of the information is less than fifteen years old.
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In certain fields of science alone (for example, physics), knowledge is said to double every eight years.
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90 percent of all scientists who have ever lived are working today.
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duffer
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intricacy
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According to the principle of social proof, we often decide to do what other people like us are doing.
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pugnacious