Robert B Cialdini

Robert B Cialdini
Arizona State University | ASU · Department of Psychology

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162
Publications
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Publications

Publications (162)
Article
Disinformation in politics, advertising, and mass communications has proliferated in recent years. Few counterargumentation strategies have proven effective at undermining a deceptive message over time. This article introduces the Poison Parasite Counter (PPC), a cognitive-science-based strategy for durably countering deceptive communications. The...
Article
A poor fit exists between the behavioral results of the Bergquist et al. (2021) article not just with the results of the single-piece-of-litter effect they failed to replicate, but also with the findings of much other norms research, as well as with the findings of the article’s own psychological processes study. All the data can be ordered, howeve...
Article
Social norm represents one of the most interdisciplinary and important concepts in the behavioral sciences. We reviewed recent research examining the effects of social norms on climate change-related behaviors, identifying relevant evidence in five behavioral domains: eco-friendly consumer choices, energy conservation, reduction/re-use/recycling, s...
Chapter
It is through the influence process that people generate and manage change. As such, it is important to understand fully the workings of the influence processes that produce compliance with requests for change. Fortunately, a vast body of scientific evidence exists on how, when, and why people comply with influence attempts. From this formidable bo...
Article
The influence of social norms on behavior has been a longstanding storyline within social psychology. Our 2007 Psychological Science publication presented a new rendition of this classic telling. The reported field experiment showed that social norms could be leveraged to promote residential energy conservation, but importantly, the descriptive nor...
Article
If many people currently engage in a behavior, others are likely to follow suit. The current article extends research on these descriptive norms to examine the unique effect of trending norms: norms in which the number of people engaging in a behavior is increasing—and even if this is only among a minority of people: trending minority norms. The cu...
Article
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Across three experiments involving different target behaviors, the trait of impulsivity reduced the effectiveness of persuasive messages framed using injunctive norms. In two of three experiments, the trait of impulse restraint heightened the effectiveness of these same injunctive norm messages. No evidence was obtained for these traits as moderato...
Chapter
This article reviews the recent literature on influence, also referred to as social influence. According to Cialdini (2009), there are six primary principles of influence: scarcity, reciprocity, consistency/commitment, authority, social validation, and liking. These principles can be grouped into three major influence-relevant organizational goals:...
Article
Policymakers traditionally have relied upon education, economic incentives, and legal sanctions to influence behavior and effect change for the public good. But recent research in the behavioral sciences points to an exciting new approach that is highly effective and cost-efficient. By leveraging one or more of three simple yet powerful human motiv...
Article
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[Correction Notice: An Erratum for this article was reported in Vol 2(2) of Psychology of Popular Media Culture (see record 2013-13053-003). Figure 1 was labeled and scaled incorrectly. The correct Figure 1 is presented in the erratum. All versions of this article have been corrected.] This study investigated the persuasive impact of information pr...
Article
Reports an error in "The Opinion-Changing Power of Computer-Based Multimedia Presentations" by Rosanna E. Guadagno, Nicole L. Muscanell, Jill M. Sundie, Terrilee A. Hardison and Robert B. Cialdini (Psychology of Popular Media Culture, Advanced Online Publication, Mar 11, 2013, np). Figure 1 was labeled and scaled incorrectly. The correct Figure 1 i...
Article
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Consumer psychologists have devoted a great deal of research to understanding human social influence processes. Research on social influence could be enriched by incorporating several evolutionary principles, and viewing social influence processes through an adaptationist lens. Our central argument is that different social relationships are associa...
Article
We explored a novel reciprocity-based influence strategy to stimulate cooperation called the reciprocity-by-proxy strategy. Unlike in traditional reciprocity, in which benefactors provide direct benefits to target individuals to elicit reciprocity, the reciprocity-by-proxy strategy elicits in the target a sense of indebtedness to benefactors by pro...
Conference Paper
This study investigated the persuasive impact of information using varying degrees of technological sophistication. Participants were individuals who were novices and experts in the domain of the information. Participants reviewed a presentation of a football scout's favorable report on a potential recruit. They then evaluated the recruit's project...
Article
Full-text available
The authors suggest that injunctive and descriptive social norms engage different psychological response tendencies when made selectively salient. On the basis of suggestions derived from the focus theory of normative conduct and from consideration of the norms' functions in social life, the authors hypothesized that the 2 norms would be cognitivel...
Article
Because of the relatively recent application of scientific methods to the study of persuasion effects—and the consequent replicability of those effects—the relationship between governments and students of persuasion has changed radically. As is clear from Sara King's (2010) article, the U.S. government seeks a beneficial relationship. Not so clear...
Article
This guide accompanies the following article: Chad R. Mortensen and Robert B. Cialdini, ‘Full-Cycle Social Psychology for Theory and Application’. Social and Personality Psychology Compass 4/1 (2010): 53–63, DOI: 10.1111/j.1751-9004.2009.00239.x A full-cycle approach to social psychology involves moving cyclically between experimentation, theory, a...
Article
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In April 2007, the First Internet War began. Owing to the relocation of a World War II-era Soviet war memorial in Estonia, angry protestors, primarily of Russian descent, engaged in a month-long series of coordinated online attacks on Estonia's Internet infrastructure that disabled it for several days. We analyze this real-world event from a social...
Article
FIREBREAKS is a nuclear war education game in which participants role play U.S. or Soviet advisors weighing possible military action in a simulated Persian Gulf conflict. As a consequence of the insights gained from the experience, game participants are expected to show (a) reduced nationalism, (b) reduced negativity toward the Soviets, (c) less re...
Article
Full-text available
Throughout the history of social psychology there has been a strong and long-standing belief that individuals are generally consistent within their attitudes and behaviors; yet there is a track record of small effect sizes and difficulty in replicating findings involving consistency-based phenomena. To address this discontinuity, Cialdini, Trost, a...
Article
Full-text available
In April 2007, the First Internet War began. Owing to the relocation of a World War II–era Soviet war memorial in Estonia, angry protestors, primarily of Russian descent, engaged in a month-long series of coordinated online attacks on Estonia's Internet infrastructure that disabled it for several days. We analyze this real-world event from a social...
Article
Experimental lab-based research has the ability to carefully control variables and establish causality, but also possesses accompanying weaknesses. Most prominent is its inability to determine the strength or prevalence of phenomena in the natural environment. As a solution, we present a full-cycle approach to social psychology, whereby researchers...
Article
Full-text available
How do arousal-inducing contexts, such as frightening or romantic television programs, influence the effectiveness of basic persuasion heuristics? Different predictions are made by three theoretical models: A general arousal model predicts that arousal should increase effectiveness of heuristics; an affective valence model predicts that effectivene...
Chapter
Full-text available
y, colleagues, friends, and family use the Internet as a means to communicate influence appeals. Thus, this new communications channel has become yet another way for people to attempt to influence us. Just as influence practitioners, novice and professional alike, have moved into this area, so have the researchers. Social scientists have been study...
Article
In 2 countries differing on individualistic–collectivistic orientation, we investigated resistance to a request made by a manager perceived as lacking personal power based on a key attribute (e.g., expertise, relationality). Results of an experiment with Polish and American participants were consistent with cultural differences in the preferred att...
Article
There is ample evidence of the power of social influence on pro-environmental behaviors. Beliefs about the conservation behavior of others (descriptive normative beliefs) have a strong positive correlation with one's own conservation actions. However, this relationship has not been investigated much further in terms of possible moderators or involv...
Article
Three mostly positive developments in academic psychology-the cognitive revolution, the virtual requirement for multiple study reports in our top journals, and the prioritization of mediational evidence in our data-have had the unintended effect of making field research on naturally occurring behavior less suited to publication in the leading outle...
Article
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Two field experiments examined the effectiveness of signs requesting hotel guests' participation in an environmental conservation program. Appeals employing descriptive norms (e.g., "the majority of guests reuse their towels") proved superior to a traditional appeal widely used by hotels that focused solely on environmental protection. Moreover, no...
Article
Full-text available
The present research investigated the persuasive impact and detectability of normative social influence. The first study surveyed 810 Californians about energy conservation and found that descriptive normative beliefs were more predictive of behavior than were other relevant beliefs, even though respondents rated such norms as least important in th...
Chapter
The winner of a clash of knowledge is often determined less by the features of the knowledge itself than by the way the knowledge is presented, with the winning side frequently being the one that makes the most persuasive presentation of its case. The most persuasive presentations are those that incorporate one or another of six universal principle...
Article
Full-text available
Conspicuous displays of consumption and benevolence might serve as "costly signals" of desirable mate qualities. If so, they should vary strategically with manipulations of mating-related motives. The authors examined this possibility in 4 experiments. Inducing mating goals in men increased their willingness to spend on conspicuous luxuries but not...
Article
Despite a long tradition of effectiveness in laboratory tests, normative messages have had mixed success in changing behavior in field contexts, with some studies showing boomerang effects. To test a theoretical account of this inconsistency, we conducted a field experiment in which normative messages were used to promote household energy conservat...
Article
Full-text available
Social psychology theory can be applied to such mundane purposes as encouraging guests to reuse their washroom towels. In contrast to the appeals now in use to persuade guests to reuse their towels, research found that applying the norm of reciprocation and the descriptive norm for proenvironmental action improved guests' participation in one hotel...
Article
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In this article we review the literature on impression management to determine if there are substantial gender differences in the employment of impression management tactics in organizational contexts. Based on a social roles theory perspective (Eagly, 1987), we examined use of impression management tactics in organizational settings for gender dif...
Article
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Self-perception theory posits that people sometimes infer their own attributes by observing their freely chosen actions. The authors hypothesized that in addition, people sometimes infer their own attributes by observing the freely chosen actions of others with whom they feel a sense of merged identity--almost as if they had observed themselves per...
Article
This study replicated and expanded on earlier research on gender differences in the evaluation of computer-mediated persuasive messages. Participants discussed a counter-attitudinal topic with a same-gender confederate. Those participants made to feel a sense of shared identity (high oneness) with the communicator were the most favorable toward the...
Article
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Böckenholt and van der Heijden’s results regarding compliance with insurance regulations—that the enforcement activities of a regulatory agency were relatively unpredictive of compliance—are consistent with findings from other domains (e.g., tax adherence), where personal factors and informal social controls have been shown to play a more significa...
Article
A Weld study investigated cross-cultural diVerences in choice-congruent behavior and its impact on compliance. U.S. and Asian partic-ipants received a request to complete an online survey and a month later they were approached with a larger, related request. Compliance with the initial request had a stronger impact on subsequent compliance among th...
Article
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This research examines the impact of media depictions of success (or failure) on consumers' desire for luxury brands. In a pilot study and three additional studies, we demonstrate that read- ing a story about a similar/successful other, such as a business major from the same university, increases consumers' expectations about their own future wealt...
Article
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Prior research has shown that positive information presented by a third party shields people from the negative consequences of being perceived as self-promoting. But in many contexts, those third parties are intermediaries with a financial interest in the person being promoted rather than neutral parties. In three experimental studies, the authors...
Article
The attitudinal consequences of acute and chronic activation of a motive for consistency were examined in two studies. In the first, only participants whose consistency motives had been temporarily activated showed a traditional dissonance effect—greater attitude change following a counterattitudinal statement made with perceived free choice. In th...
Article
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Three experiments examined how 2 fundamental social motives--self-protection and mate attraction--influenced conformity. A self-protective goal increased conformity for both men and women. In contrast, the effects of a romantic goal depended on sex, causing women to conform more to others' preferences while engendering nonconformity in men. Men mot...
Article
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Four experiments explored the effects of mating motivation on creativity. Even without other incentives to be creative, romantic motives enhanced creativity on subjective and objective measures. For men, any cue designed to activate a short-term or a long-term mating goal increased creative displays; however, women displayed more creativity only wh...
Article
Recent discontent within scientific psychology, especially social psychology, was discussed and found to be caused, at least in part, by a widespread perception among psychologists that the discipline has failed to act with social responsibility in researching and reducing areas of social concern. One such area of concern, consumer welfare, was exa...
Article
Sometimes, without recourse to controlling rewards, it is difficult to secure desirable behaviors. Yet, much work has demonstrated the damaging effect that such rewards can have on subsequent independent interest in the reward-induced behavior. Therefore, one who feels required to use controlling rewards to increase desirable action in another face...
Article
Full-text available
In order to mobilise action against a social problem, public service communicators often include normative information in their persuasive appeals. Such messages can be either effective or ineffective because they can normalise either desirable or undesirable conduct. To examine the implications in an environmental context, visitors to Arizona's Pe...
Article
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Existing research and widespread commercial usage suggest that appeals urging consumers to imagine the product experience have powerful effects on product preferences. Three studies examined the mediating role of imagery accessibility and demonstrated that the difficulty of imagery generation can reverse the generally observed positive effects of i...
Article
The preference that incoming information be consistent with pre-existing attitudes, cognitions, and beliefs is referred to as the preference for consistency. Based on the assumption that inconsistency is emotionally upsetting, we expected a preference for consistency to be associated with the: (a) experience of emotional upset and (b) motivation to...
Article
Full-text available
The most frequent form of classroom lecture presentation involves the description of course–relevant phenomena. A better, but still suboptimal, approach involves asking students questions about these phenomena. An even better approach involves the generation of mystery stories that can only be solved through an understanding of the phenomena under...
Article
For us, the problem with the three-ring circus presentation of social psychology is that it masks something crucial: Human social behaviors are woven together in related, interconnected patterns. To present an array of separate, disjointed chapter topics--aggression here, persuasion, prejudice, and personal relationships there, there, and there--of...
Article
Full-text available
Reports an error in "Dispelling the illusion of invulnerability: The motivations and mechanisms of resistance to persuasion" by Brad J. Sagarin, Robert B. Cialdini, William E. Rice and Sherman B. Serna (Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 2002[Sep], Vol 83[3], 526-541). On p. 535, second column, in the third sentence of the Demonstrated v...
Article
y, colleagues, friends, and family use the Internet as a means to communicate influence appeals. Thus, this new communications channel has become yet another way for people to attempt to influence us. Just as influence practitioners, novice and professional alike, have moved into this area, so have the researchers. Social scientists have been study...
Article
Full-text available
Companies deploying dishonest tactics toward customers, suppliers, distributors and others typically do so to increase short-term profits, and in that regard they might succeed. But the misconduct is likely to fuel social psychological processes within the organization that have the potential for ruinous fiscal outcomes, outweighing short-term gain...
Article
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This review covers recent developments in the social influence literature, focusing primarily on compliance and conformity research published between 1997 and 2002. The principles and processes underlying a target's susceptibility to outside influences are considered in light of three goals fundamental to rewarding human functioning. Specifically,...
Article
This study investigated the hypothesis that similar behavior in different cultures may mask individual differences in the reasons for that behavior. Most previous research on culture and behavior has examined culture-based differences in overt behavior. In contrast, the present research focused on cultural variation in reasons for identical behavio...
Article
It is widely recognized that communications that activate social norms can be effective in producing societally beneficial conduct. Not so well recognized are the circumstances under which normative information can backfire to produce the opposite of what a communicator intends. There is an understandable, but misguided, tendency to try to mobilize...
Article
This article offers suggestions for how mediators and negotiators can use principles of social influence to enhance the process and outcome and increase the likelihood of settlement. The article describes the six basic principles of influence and the fundamental ways in which empirical research has found the influence process to proceed under each....
Article
The goal of this article is to provide specific guidelines to help create effective proenvironmental public service announcements (PSAs). Campaigndesigners are encouraged to initially identify and investigate the optimal target audience and then draft and test reactions by samples of that audience using pilot messages. Designers are also advised to...
Article
Full-text available
To investigate the existence of true altruism, the authors assessed the link between empathic concern and helping by (a) employing an experimental perspective-taking paradigm used previously to demonstrate empathy-associated helping and (b) assessing the empathy-helping relationship while controlling for a range of relevant, well-measured nonaltrui...
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Three studies examined the impact of a treatment designed to instill resistance to deceptive persuasive messages. Study 1 demonstrated that after the resistance treatment, ads using illegitimate authority-based appeals became less persuasive, and ads using legitimate appeals became more persuasive. In Study 2, this resistance generalized to novel e...
Article
Full-text available
Three studies examined the impact of a treatment designed to instill resistance to deceptive persuasive messages. Study 1 demonstrated that after the resistance treatment, ads using illegitimate authority-based appeals became less persuasive, and ads using legitimate appeals became more persuasive. In Study 2, this resistance generalized to novel e...
Article
Full-text available
The basic science of psychology has identified specific ingrained responses that are fundamental elements of human nature, underpin common influence strategies and may apply in medical settings. People feel a sense of obligation to repay a perceived debt. A request becomes more attractive when preceded by a marginally worse request. The drive to ac...
Article
From business owners to busboys, the ability to harness the power of persuasion is often an essential component of success in the hospitality industry.
Article
From business owners to busboys, the ability to harness the power of persuasion is often an essential component of success in the hospitality industry.
Article
Full-text available
The purpose of this research was to investigate how computer-mediated communication affects persuasion in dyadic interactions. Two studies compared participants' attitudes after hearing a series of arguments from a same-gender communicator via either e-mail or face-to-face interaction. In Study 1, women showed less message agreement in response to...
Article
The purpose of this research was to investigate how computer-mediated communication affects persuasion in dyadic interactions. Two studies compared participants' attitudes after hearing a series of arguments from a same-gender communicator via either e-mail or face-to-face interaction. In Study 1, women showed less message agreement in response to...
Article
If leadership, at its most basic, consists of getting things done through others, then persuasion is one of the leader's essential tools. Many executives have assumed that this tool is beyond their grasp, available only to the charismatic and the eloquent Over the past several decades, though, experimental psychologists have learned which methods r...
Article
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A requester using the foot-in-the-door (FITD) tactic begins by gaining compliance with a small request and then advances to a related, larger request. Previous work has demonstrated that a strong preference for consistency among targets of the tactic can enhance the FITD effect. Other work has indicated that an in-adequate delay between the request...
Article
Full-text available
The estimated cost of repairing damage caused to recreational sites annually is in the hundreds of millions of dollars. These depreciative activities also reduce the quality of visitors' experiences in the damaged areas. Indirect methods, such as visitor education through brochures and signs, continue to be the least controversial management approa...
Article
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In three experiments, respondents’ behavior conformed to the dictates of a relevant norm (the norm against littering) only under conditions of normative focus. This relationship held true across three types of procedures for producing normative focus (physiological arousal, modeling, and self-directed attention), across two types of settings (publi...
Article
The goal of this article is to provide specific guidelines to help create effective proenvironmental public service announcements (PSAs). Campaign designers are encouraged to initially identify and investigate the optimal target audience and then draft and test reactions by samples of that audience using pilot messages. Designers are also advised t...
Article
Full-text available
University students in Poland and the United States, two countries that differ in individualistic-collectivistic orientation, indicated their willingness to comply with a request to participate without pay in a marketing survey. Half were asked to do so after considering information regarding their own history of compliance with such requests, wher...
Article
Although the question of which social-influence principles and practices are most effective has long been a central focus among marketing professionals, an equally important question has received much less attention: What are the circumstances under which the use of an effective influence principle is ethically acceptable? Consideration is given to...
Article
This study provides evidence for 2 psychological processes that may help explain managers' reluctance to use worker empowerment practices such as delegation or self-managing teams: (a) a faith in supervision effect, which reflects the tendency of observers to see work performed under the control of a supervisor as better than identical work done wi...
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Although psychologists have long recognized the havoc that a discovered lie can wreak on a relationship, this study indicates that even an undiscovered deception can bring about negative consequences. An experiment explored one such consequence by examining the hypothesis that in a dyadic relationship, if one partner lies to the other, the liar wil...
Article
Resistance to the traditional gender role expectation for modest self-presentation among women was examined in a pair of studies. In the first-which included U. S. and Polish college students of both sexes-making traditional gender role expectations explicitly salient led to a significant reversal of traditional modest responding only among America...
Article
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The reliance on signs as a mode of agency communication with visitors requires an examination of message presentation and content in order to evaluate message impact and effectiveness. This paper reports on a systematic evaluation of signs and messages at 42 recreation areas in California and Arizona. A number of factors, including type of site, ma...
Article
Important features of the self-concept can be located outside of the individual and inside close or related others. The authors use this insight to reinterpret data previously said to support the empathy-altruism model of helping, which asserts that empathic concern for another results in selflessness and true altruism. That is, they argue that the...
Article
To properly test the hypothesis that empathy-associated helping is altruistic, one needs to (a) consider plausible nonaltruistic alternatives for the observed empathy–helping effects, (b) validly and reliably measure these nonaltruistic alternatives, and (c) examine whether the empathy–helping relationship remains after removing the effects of the...