…if a panhandler asks for 17 cents or 37 cents, will he collect more donations than if he asks for 25 cents? Answer: He will receive about 60 percent more.

Here is another study…Students, acting as fundraisers, went door-to-door asking for donations. At half the houses they added one sentence to their spiel: “Even a penny would help.” Did this have any effect? Answer: It nearly doubled donations.

…Is it better to a) lecture students that they should be neat and tidy, or b) compliment them for being neat and tidy. Answer: In this study, the lecture method was useless, while method “b” led to a three-fold increase in the collection of litter.”

From a forthcoming review by J. Scott Armstrong, here is the whole review, it covers a book The Age of Propaganda, by Anthony Pratkanis and Elliot Aronson.

Here is another bit on persuasion, from Nalebuff and Ayres:

In 1990, H. Wesley Perkins, a professor at Hobart and William Smith College, discovered that most students think that they drink less than the average – and thus increase their consumption to be more like others. When the true drinking data is publicized, and students discover that few of their peers have more than five drinks at a party, peer pressure to binge is greatly reduced. The results were so successful in reducing heavy drinking that this approach has been employed throughout the California state university system and beyond. Rather than telling students to “Just say no,” it is more effective to say, “Just be like most everybody else.”

McCloskey and Klamer tell us that “One Quarter of GDP is Persuasion.”


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