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Creating Cognitive Load

 

Techniques General persuasion > Creating Cognitive Load

Description | Example | Discussion | See also

 

A common activity in changing minds is to get people to put effort into conscious thinking. Sometimes you want to think about the issue at hand. At other times it is better if they do not think too much about what you are saying as this may lead to them objecting or otherwise trying to resist your efforts to persuade them.

A way to reduce resistance and other objections is simply to get them to think about something else. This has two effects. Firstly, the thinking acts as a distraction, occupying their attention while you suggest things that they will think less about before agreeing. Secondly, willpower fades as blood glucose is used up by the thinking, causing exhaustion and a reduce ability to resist persuasion. This also allows you to interrupt them when they are busy thinking such that the continuing concern for the problem reduces the mental effort they put into considering your proposal.

Here are a number of ways you can make them think more and hence create 'cognitive load':

See also

Resisting persuasion, Objection-handling techniques and methods, Distraction principle, Persuasive Language, Modifying Meaning, Figures of speech

 

Sweller, J. (1988). Cognitive load during problem solving: Effects on learning. Cognitive Science. 12, 2, 257–285.

 

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