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Unthinking principle

 

Principles > Unthinking principle

Principle | How it works | So what?
 

Principle

Do not give them time to think. Then slip in what you want them to do.

How it works

When people make decisions, they do so in a central, thoughtful way or a peripheral, unthinking way, as in the Elaboration Likelihood Model. Central thinking takes time so we only use it when we have the time or when something seems important. This leaves many of our decisions open to unthinking and peripheral methods.

Hurry up

Hurrying people, creating false urgency, causes them to focus on finishing in time rather than deciding carefully and finishing well. Sales have this effect, making people want to buy before the product sells out.

Distraction

Giving the person to occupy their conscious mind can give the opportunity to slip something past into the subconscious. Magicians use this, as do pickpockets.

Heuristic

We often use 'rules of thumb' to make quick decisions. A common heuristic is that a nice person is a trustworthy one. Another is that a person smartly dressed or in uniform must be obeyed without question.

Social evidence

If others are doing something then we use this as evidence that it is reasonable for us to do likewise. We will even deny the evidence of our own eyes if others are saying differently.

Occupation

If you occupy their time with work, conversation or other activity, particularly where it requires concentration, then they will have little time left to ponder too much about what else you are doing.

So what?

When you want people just to do what you say, then this is an effective method. It is not so good for changing beliefs or other persuasion that requires real thought.

Also watch, of course, when others seem to be filling your mind with garbage. Ask, what else is going on?

See also

Hurry Close, Decisions, Exhaustion, Thought-stopping, Elaboration Likelihood Model, Distraction principle

 

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