The Psychology of Persuasion

Arizona State University

Carolyn J. Cavanaugh Toft, Ph.D. is a Teaching Professor and the Inaugural Area Head of the Teaching Faculty in the Department of Psychology at Arizona State University (ASU). A licensed psychologist who has worked in different clinical settings, she has presented at National Teaching Conferences, supervised doctoral students in the Clinical Psychology program and runs the Early Start program for incoming students majoring in psychology. Professor Cavanaugh Toft has received several teaching awards, including the 2018 Outstanding Lecturer Award from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at ASU.



January 4, 2023, 4:00 pm

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How do salespeople get us to part with our money? How do politicians induce us to vote in particular ways? How do our significant others make us engage in certain activities? While we think that we always make decisions after carefully collecting all the pertinent data and exercising rational problem-solving, social psychologists have found that there are a handful of shortcuts that can lead people to say “yes” to requests that they may not normally agree to.

In this class, Professor Carolyn Cavanaugh Toft will describe several of these tactics of persuasion such as Reciprocity, Commitment and Consistency, Social Proof, Authority, Liking, and Scarcity, as well as the cutting-edge research that demonstrates how these tactics can be used for good–or not-so-good–means. She will also give tips on how to disarm unethical users of these principles.

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