one particular study, researchers had very young children who
were terrified of dogs watch a little boy play with his dog for twenty
minutes a day. After only four days, 67% of the children were willing
to sit in a playpen with a dog and even remain with it when everyone
else left the room. The results were lasting too: One month later,
the same children were just as eager to play with dogs. In another
similar study, children who were afraid of dogs were influenced just
as readily by films of a child playing with a dog as they were when
watching a live child play with a dog.
study, a group of participants were asked to identify the longer
of two lines displayed on a screen. One line was clearly
longer than the other, but some had been privately instructed prior
to the study to state that the shorter line was longer. The surprising
results were that several of the unsuspecting participants actually
gave in to social pressure and changed their answers! Over the
course of the entire study, 75% of the participants gave the incorrect
answer at least one time. In a related study conducted by Asch,
it was determined that even when the correct answer is obvious,
individuals will knowingly give the incorrect answer 37% of the
time, just to go along with the group consensus.
You know how
you often hear all that canned laughter on sitcoms even when
there isn’t anything really funny happening? Studies
prove that using canned laughter actually influences audience members
to laugh longer and more frequently, and to give the material high
ratings for its “funniness.” Even for the portions
of the show that seem to have no humor at all, producers use laugh
tracks to get us to laugh along. The sad part is that it actually
works! There is evidence that canned laughter is most effective
when the joke is really bad. When two audiences watch the same
show, and one hears a laugh track while the other doesn’t,
it’s always the audience who hears the laugh track that laughs
was set up to see if passersby would stare in the same direction
and look up if there was another group of people
already doing so. The researchers arranged groups of 1-15 people
to congregate in New York City on 33 West 42nd Street. A video
camera was set-up on the 6th floor to catch the results on tape.
Sure enough, the more people in the group who were already gawking
and looking into the air, the more passersby who stopped, came
over and stared, and looked up themselves!
were asked to view a political debate among George Bush, Bill
Clinton, and Ross Perot, it was
found that the
mere presence of a confederate who cheered for one of the candidates
influenced the participant’s overall evaluation of that candidate
in a positive manner. Obviously, when receiving information in
a social setting, the audience can be skewed to perceive the information
the way the group tends to hear it.
In yet another study, researchers wanted to see if mothers who
had just given birth to their first child would be more likely
to adhere to guidelines for their new babies’ nutrition
when instructed individually or in a group. The mothers were
told that it could be important to give their new babies cod-liver
oil and orange juice. The mothers were either taught one-on-one
by a nutritionist associated with the hospital or in groups of
six. The study found that when taught in a group setting, the
mothers were far more inclined to give their babies cod-liver
oil and orange juice than those who had been taught individually.
Mortensen, author of Exponential Success Skills and Weapons
of Influence, is one of American’s leading authorities
on Persuasion, Motivation and Influence. After receiving a
Masters of Business Administration and a Bachelors of Arts,
he began many successful entrepreneurial ventures, through
which he has acquired many years of both experience and success.
In addition to his extensive entrepreneurial and sales experiences,
Kurt is a sales and persuasion coach helping thousands of people
reach higher levels of success, income and persuasion mastery.
Currently, he is a speaker, consultant, and a Trainer for Mark
Victor Hansen and Robert G. Allen Protégés.