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Authors: Robert B. Cialdini

Influence: Science and Practice

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Influence Science and Practice


Fifth Edition

Robert B. Cialdini
Arizona State University


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Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
    Cialdini, Robert B.
     Influence : science and practice / Robert B. Cialdini.–5th ed.
        p. cm.
     Includes bibliographical references (p.  ) and index.
     ISBN-13: 978-0-205-60999-4
     ISBN-10: 0-205-60999-6
     1. Influence (Psychology) 2. Persuasion (Psychology) 3. Compliance. I. Title.
     BF774.C53 2009
     153.8 52–dc22

Printed in the United States of America

10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 RRD-VA 12 11 10 09 08

Credits appear on page 260, which constitutes an extension of the copyright page.





CHAPTER 1 Weapons of Influence

Click, Whirr

Betting the Shortcut Odds

The Profiteers



Study Questions

CHAPTER 2 Reciprocation: The Old Give and Take . . . and Take

How the Rule Works

The Rule Is Overpowering


The Not-So-Free Sample

The Rule Enforces Uninvited Debts

The Rule Can Trigger Unequal Exchanges

Reciprocal Concessions


Reciprocal Concessions, Perceptual Contrast, and the Watergate Mystery

Damned If You Do, Damned If You Don’t

Here’s My Blood, and Do Call Again

The Sweet, Secret Side Effects




Rejecting the Rule

Smoking Out the Enemy


Study Questions

CHAPTER 3 Commitment and Consistency: Hobgoblins of the Mind

Whirring Along

The Quick Fix

The Foolish Fortress

Seek and Hide

Commitment Is the Key

Hearts and Minds

The Magic Act

The Public Eye

The Effort Extra

The Inner Choice

Growing Legs to Stand On

Standing Up for the Public Good


Stomach Signs

Heart-of-Hearts Signs

Special Vulnerabilities


Study Questions

CHAPTER 4 Social Proof: Truths Are Us

The Principle of Social Proof

People Power

After the Deluge

Cause of Death: Uncertain(ty)

A Scientific Approach

Devictimizing Yourself

Monkey Me, Monkey Do

Monkey Die

Monkey Island



Looking Up


Study Questions

CHAPTER 5 Liking: The Friendly Thief

Making Friends to Influence People

Why Do I Like You? Let Me List the Reasons

Physical Attractiveness



Contact and Cooperation

Off to Camp

Back to School

Conditioning and Association

Does the Name Pavlov Ring a Bell?

From the News and Weather to the Sports



Study Questions

CHAPTER 6 Authority: Directed Deference

The Power of Authority Pressure

The Allures and Dangers of Blind Obedience

Connotation Not Content





Authoritative Authority

Sly Sincerity


Study Questions

CHAPTER 7 Scarcity: The Rule of the Few

Less Is Best and Loss Is Worst

Limited Numbers

Time Limits

Psychological Reactance

Adult Reactance: Love, Guns, and Suds


Optimal Conditions

New Scarcity: Costlier Cookies and Civil Conflict

Competition for Scarce Resources: Foolish Fury



Study Questions

CHAPTER 8 Instant Influence: Primitive Consent for an Automatic Age

Primitive Automaticity

Modern Automaticity

Shortcuts Shall Be Sacred


Study Questions




About the Author


Robert B. Cialdini is Regents’ Professor of Psychology at Arizona State University, where he has also been named Graduate Distinguished Research Professor. He received undergraduate, graduate, and postgraduate training in psychology from the University of Wisconsin, the University of North Carolina, and Columbia University, respectively. He is past president of the Society of Personality and Social Psychology.

He attributes his long-standing interest in the intricacies of social influence to the fact that he was raised in an entirely Italian family, in a predominantly Polish neighborhood, in a historically German city (Milwaukee), in an otherwise rural state.



The initial version of
was designed for the popular reader, and as such, an attempt was made to write it in an engaging style. In the subsequent versions, that style is retained, but in addition, I present the research evidence for my statements, recommendations, and conclusions. Although they are dramatized and corroborated through such devices as interviews, quotes, and systematic personal observations, the conclusions of
are based on controlled, psychological research. This fact allows the reader to feel confident that the book is not “pop” psychology but represents work that is scientifically grounded. The subsequent versions also provide new and updated material, chapter summaries, and study questions to enhance its utility.

A potentially attractive feature of the present version of
lies in its ability to serve as an enjoyable, practical, yet scientifically documented offering. In a related vein, the book might be seen as a way to demonstrate that, properly presented, what often seems like dry science can actually prove to be lively, useful, and relevant to all readers’ personal lives.

Comment on the Fifth Edition of Influence: Science and Practice

It has been some time since
was last published. In the interim, some things have happened that deserve a place in this new edition. First, we now know more about the influence process than before. The study of persuasion, compliance, and change has advanced, and the pages that follow have been adapted to reflect that progress. In addition to an overall update of the material, I have devoted special attention to updated coverage of popular culture and new technology, as well as to research on cross-cultural social influence—how the influence process works similarly or differently in various human cultures. I have also expanded a feature that was stimulated by the responses of prior readers.

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