Influence: theory and practice
Hansen, William G.
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During the Korean War, Chinese captors of U.S. prisoners employed an unexpected and relatively successful compliance program. The Chinese, somewhat afraid of post-conflict repercussions for coercive torture, pursued techniques of social influence to secure behavioral compliance as well as lasting indoctrination. Although they failed in their primary objective to permanently alter beliefs and attitudes, their process illuminated the success in influencing individual behavior by interpreting and controlling aspects of group social dynamics. To cope with the daily flood of lifes information, humans have developed cognitive processes to quickly filter decision-making requests according to probable importance. If determined routine, the person allows learned decision-making shortcuts to guide his response. A range of psycho-social principles of human behavior underlie this automaticity and they can be deliberately triggered, or suppressed, to increase the likelihood of generating predictable behavioral responses in an individual. This thesis includes a broad survey of the major theoretical and practical foundations of psychology, propaganda, and marketing. It identifies the psycho-social principles that most influence a persons likelihood of complying with behavioral requests and examines a broad selection of social influence efforts for their presence. Finally, this thesis concludes by assessing the ability of influence principles to secure enduring effects.
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