The Social Influence: The Psychology Of Persuasion

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Anyone can access a vast amount of information on the internet. People can discover informational articles or social trends through news articles, blogs, social media websites, etc. Furthermore, not only is the internet a library for electronic information, but it is also a way for anybody to share ideas by adding their own information to internet databases. Advertisers, scammers, and propagandists disguise their true intentions with the information they publish on the internet. Because of this, it can be hard to distinguish between a reliable source and a misleading website. Thus, the internet is not very reliable because partisan groups can deceive people by appealing to users’ emotional impulses. To begin, the internet influences people by playing on their emotional gullibility. For example, people can find slews of propaganda and advertisements on the internet, especially on websites associated with politics and news. Through clickbait and propaganda, advertisers gain the audience’s attention. Especially with politics, …show more content…
Robert Cialdini outlines in his book, “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion”. He states that “[w]hen people are uncertain about a course of action, they tend to look to those around them to guide their decision and actions” (Polansky 3). For instance, in Dateline’s smoky office experiment, participants stayed in the smoke-filled room because other people stayed, resisting their instinct to leave a dangerous situation. Another example is the spread of anti-Semitism during World War II. Because the Germans exposed children to anti-Sematic beliefs, children growing up during World War II became Nazis because everybody else supported the Nazis (Heil). This same instinct to follow influences people on the internet. Trends become viral and popular news spread because “social group is everything” (Hansen), and people want to keep up with everybody

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