The science of persuasion

June 18, 2009 at 2:32 am Leave a comment

Alex Moskalyuk provides a great summary of one of the most accessible pop psych books on the market, Yes! 50 Scientifically Proven Ways to Be Persuasive, by Noah Goldstein and Steve Martin. The authors draw from the fields of social psychology and behavioral economics to ground the “science of persuasion” in some fascinating research.

Among Alex’s summaries are some great tips for waiters looking to increase their take-home pay:

#11) How restaurant mints are a personalized affair. Let’s a say a restaurant provides mints for its customers on the way out. If the amount of tips per week is the baseline for that restaurant, let’s make the waiters include a mint as they give the check to the customer. The tips go up by 3.3%. However, when the waiters offer the mints themselves, prior to signing the check, the tipping amount went up by 14.1%. In yet another experiment, the waiter would present the patrons with 1 mint per guest, then give them the check, then turning around to leave, then, as if remembering something sudden, turning around and giving them yet another mint per guest. Result? 23% increase in tips, as this signaled high amount of personalization.

#31) Verbalization helps interaction. Waiters who repeat customers’ order to them make 70% more in tips than waiters who just say “Okay”. Our mind subconsciously appreciates the effort taken to ensure the things are perfectly right.

Summaries on chapters 29 and 30 were fun and interesting:

#29) Similarities raise the response rate. A person named Cindy Johnson received a survey request by mail from someone named Cynthia Johannson. Someone named John Smith received a survey from Gregory Jordan. The name similarity in the first case (note that it’s just phonetic similarity, none of the names are the same) brought up the response rate to 56% vs. regular 30%.

#30) People like the sound of their name, and that defines their vocation. There are three times as many dentists named Dennis as any other names. Number of Florences living in Florida is disproportionately high, same goes for Louises living in Louisiana.

More here.

play, think…
J.R. Atwood

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Moved to learn This week’s must-reads: the psychology of randomness, basketball’s full-court press, and a reflection on the ideas of fairness and merit in education

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Jason R. Atwood

I'm an avid trail runner and doctoral student at U.C. Berkeley who studies motivation and the relationship between the mind and body. This blog is a forum to share research, news, and musings about these topics of interest. More

Play is the beginning of knowledge.

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