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View Diary: Progressive Persuasion (53 comments)

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  •  Story about my own decision to change my approach (1+ / 0-)
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    About ten years ago I became interested in trying to influence my fellow humans to change our culture for the better. I decided I should probably refresh my knowledge of the psychology of attitude change and persuasion and social influence.

    I vaguely recalled being exposed to a book that was supposed to be a landmark in the field. A little web searching turned up an author and a title, which I found at my local library.

    About halfway through the book, I nearly threw it across the room.

    The landmark book wasn't about long term influence and lasting change. It was all about short term, immediate compliance. It was about high pressure sales techniques.

    It was also, I discovered, a how-to guide for behaving like a total jerk.

    I realized then that the psychology — and the techniques — of long term attitude change are different from the psychology and techniques of short term sales persuasion. When it comes to social change, I don't want participants to feel buyer's remorse.

    As a result, I decided to do two things:

    First, explore the bigger picture of the psychology of long term attitude change.

    Then, adapt my own communication style and adopt techniques appropriate to long term, lasting influence.

    In retrospect, I see the decision to change my own behavior as a personal landmark. For me it was worthwhile:

    The outcomes I seek are more important to me than maintaining old habits.


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