How are we persuaded to change our attitudes or behave in a certain way? In this lesson, you’ll see four strategies of persuasion that can be used in a variety of social situations. Let’s consider how our friends, family members and social groups influence our attitudes. How does society and peer pressure persuade us to behave in certain ways?

Strategies of Persuasion

  1. ‘You scratch my back, and I’ll scratch yours.’ According to the reciprocity norm, we are likely to feel obligated to exchange social gestures in kind.

    When someone gives us something or does us a favor, social rules dictate that we should return the courtesy.

  2. Another method of persuasion is the lowball technique. Say you’re looking at new cars.

    You’ve already agreed to the initial offer, when the dealer asks you if you want to add on features, like GPS or satellite radio, which are available at an added cost. You’re more likely to pay the higher price once you’ve already agreed to the base rate. It’s a good idea to read the fine print on that ‘special offer.’

  3. One more common sales strategy is to create a false sense of scarcity. Have you ever bought something because it was only available for a limited time? The scarcity principle relies on the idea that limited edition items seem more attractive because they’re in short supply.

    You better grab them fast before they run out!

  4. Coercive persuasion is a tactic that uses fear to manipulate people. By placing people in stressful and vulnerable situations where outside information is restricted, cult leaders persuade members to rely on the group for relief.

Summary

You’ve learned how social influences affect the ways people make decisions on a daily basis. They shape our interactions with other people, as well as our buying habits. Some groups use coercive persuasion to alter and reward certain types of behavior, but similar tactics can be used for marketing and advertising, as well as for enforcing social rules.

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