Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Influence & Persuasion: How to Read Their Minds (Part 4)

Experiment 4: Priming and the Brain

I showed half the group the name "Benjamin Franklin." I showed half the group the name "Bill Gates." Then I said, "Write down the name of a man."

I made no prediction. I simply had everyone read what name they wrote down. The people who were primed with Benjamin Franklin wrote down historical figures like FRANKLIN Roosevelt, Thomas Jefferson and George Washington. None of the men written down were living.

In the group that was shown Bill Gates, two interesting things happened. First, all of the men's names (save one) that were written down were names of men who were still living, including a significant number choosing BILL Clinton. The prime of "Bill" was more useful than I imagined it would be and other living wealthy (without exception) men were named as well.

The experiments show how powerful priming is. Priming CAUSES people to THINK and BEHAVE in specific ways that are largely predictable.

Let me do one with you right now. QUICKLY do this then see what happens.

Experiment 5: More Priming

QUICKLY: Write down the name of a card in a deck of cards. Any card at all.


What's interesting...

...is that...

people who wait more than one second before writing their card down, end up writing random cards and colors. Those who respond instantly select one of three cards over 60% of the time: Ace of spades, Queen of Hearts and Jack of Diamonds. When only two predictions can be made, it's the AS or QH: 45% of the time.

This is a truly amazing test of psychic power of course...because it is all but impossible. Yet the hands go up and everyone looks at each other in amazement to see that they or their neighbor wrote down what was "sent" to them.

How does this work?

We are all primed to think certain things and do certain things in certain situations. If I tell you to write down a city in America, you are likely to write down New York. Most people do. People think city and the neural net immediately goes to the city with the most connections. On average, in America, that is New York.

Understanding specifically how and what people will respond and react to makes creating influential messages much easier than trying to guess what people will respond to.

I discuss the results of all the experiments in Science of Influence 37-48. With this, you have enough incredible insights to go out and change how you are working with clients and customers, today.

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