Psychology of Persuasion and Social Influence

Both attitudes and behaviors of a person may change under the influence of the manner of speaking and information others have provided us with. This process is, in its broadest meaning, known as persuasion. Buttering up, social influence and persuasion are common methods exploited by advertisers and leaders alike. 

Many people are of the opinion that persuasion is essential to put the society in order. When the stimulus comes in the form of pleasant communication, the listener responds to it by changing his attitude. 

If a person starts using the product that was highlighted in an advertisement he saw or heard, it basically means that that person agrees with what was conveyed and has come forward to implement it. The ad has changed his attitude and the change in his attitude made him to change his behavior. Bringing changes in someone’s behavior or encouraging them to take action is the ultimate goal of persuasion. 

Positive and negative response to persuasion

In day-to-day activities such as business, education, politics, economic reforms, etc., persuasion plays an important role. Apart from advertisements, mass media, news, legal declarations, etc. alter people’s minds by influencing their opinions. However, not all people are the same – some individuals are aware of the manipulations made to achieve a certain goal and are determined not to fall victims to the power of persuasion even when it comes from figures of authority. 

In such situations, after understanding clearly what was said or written, they analyze everything thoroughly and come to their own conclusion. But this, in its essence is just another way of responding to persuasion. Response to influence and persuasion depends on numerous factors – some of which take place in our subconsciousness. 

When we decide not to switch over to the product which was highlighted in the TV commercial, we respond to persuasion in the negative way. When people decide to collect all waste materials from the home and dispose them every day, the persuasion in a public service campaign made them to act positively. 

Positive and negative changes under social influence

The presence as well as action of other people makes an individual to change or modify his attitude and behavior. This process is called Social Influence. Social influence on individual behavior may lead to positive and negative implications. When an individual has a strong desire for conformity in a group, he may start doing some wrong things. A person can start smoking just because all other individuals in the group smoke. 

This change of behavior illustrates his desire to be liked by others. He wants to avoid a situation in which he is left out by others. However, his compliance is only for show even if he believes that smoking is injurious to health. That is why a change of behavior due to social influence may also be only temporary.  

Sometimes, we change our behavior because we want to be right. When we lack knowledge or when we are quite new to a situation, we observe others and learn from their actions and change our behavior accordingly. This shows that social influence can generate positive changes in an individual’s behavior.

Download Our App

Transform Your Mental Well-Being