Recent quotes:

The Paradox of Disclosure - The New York Times

My latest research, published last month in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, reveals that patients with localized prostate cancer (a condition that has multiple effective treatment options) who heard their surgeon disclose his or her specialty bias were nearly three times more likely to have surgery than those patients who did not hear their surgeon reveal such a bias. Rather than discounting the surgeon’s recommendation, patients reported increased trust in physicians who disclosed their specialty bias. Remarkably, I found that surgeons who disclosed their bias also behaved differently. They were more biased, not less. These surgeons gave stronger recommendations to have surgery, perhaps in an attempt to overcome any potential discounting they feared their patient would make on the recommendation as a result of the disclosure.

Same number looks different, depending on the trend

Maglio says the lesson here for marketers or brand managers is they may want, where possible, to focus on the message that a product or an event is on an upward trend. But if you're in the not-so-desirable position of talking about something in decline, the best approach may be to focus on only the most recent estimate and not its downward trend or to assure consumers that the trend is not meaningful.

Counter-selling the proof of Jesus's wife

Before he was caught, Hofmann made an estimated $2 million selling his bogus manuscripts. Young, shy, and self-effacing—The New York Times called him a “scholarly country bumpkin”—he targeted buyers predisposed, by ideological bent or professional interest, to believe his documents were real. He often expressed doubts about his finds, making experts feel they were discovering signs of authenticity that he himself had somehow missed. “Usually he just leaned back quietly and let his delighted victim do the authentication, adding now and then a quiet, ‘Do you really think it’s genuine?,’ ” Charles Hamilton, once the country’s leading forgery examiner, and one of the many people Hofmann fooled, recalled in a 1996 book. Reading about Hofmann called to mind the curious e‑mails the owner of the Jesus’s-wife papyrus had sent to King. In some messages, the owner comes across as a hapless layman, addressing King as “Mrs.” rather than “Dr.” or “Professor” and claiming that he didn’t read Coptic and was “completely clueless.” In other messages, however, he is far more knowing. He sends King a translation of the Coptic that he says “seems to make sense.” He specifies its dialect (Sahidic) and likely vintage (third to fifth century a.d.), and asks that any carbon dating use “a few fibers only,” to avoid damaging the papyrus. Also strange is that he tells King he acquired the Jesus’s-wife fragment in 1997, then gives her a sales contract dated two years later.

A neural link between affective understanding and interpersonal attraction

At the neural level, changes in interpersonal attraction were predicted by activity in the reward system of the observer’s brain. Importantly, these effects were specific to individual observer–target pairs and could not be explained by a target’s general attractiveness or expressivity. Furthermore, using multivoxel pattern analysis (MVPA), we found that neural activity in the reward system of the observer’s brain varied as a function of how well the target’s affective behavior matched the observer’s neural representation of the underlying affective state: The greater the match, the larger the brain’s intrinsic reward signal. Taken together, these findings provide evidence that reward-related neural activity during social encounters signals how well an individual’s “neural vocabulary” is suited to infer another person’s affective state, and that this intrinsic reward might be a source of changes in interpersonal attraction.

Self-redemption narrative makes healing more durable

research examined whether the production of a narrative containing self-redemption (wherein the narrator describes a positive personality change following a negative experience) predicts positive behavioral change. In Study 1, we compared the narratives of alcoholics who had maintained their sobriety for over 4 years with those of alcoholics who had been sober 6 months or less. When describing their last drink, the former were significantly more likely to produce a narrative containing self-redemption than the latter. In Study 2, we examined the relation between the profession of self-redemption and behavioral change using a longitudinal design, by following the newly sober alcoholics from Study 1 over time. Although indistinguishable at initial assessment, newly sober alcoholics whose narratives included self-redemption were substantially more likely to maintain sobriety in the following months, compared to newly sober alcoholics who produced nonredemptive narratives; 83% of the redemptive group maintained sobriety between assessments, compared to 44% of nonredemptive participants. Redemptive participants in Study 2 also demonstrated improved health relative to the nonredemptive group. In both studies, the effects of self-redemption on sobriety and health held after controlling for relevant personality traits, alcohol dependence, recovery program involvement, initial physical and mental health, and additional narrative themes. Collectively, these results suggest that the production of a self-redemptive narrative may stimulate prolonged behavioral change and thus indicate a potentially modifiable psychological process that exhibits a major influence on recovery from addiction. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2013 APA, all rights reserved)

How to Sell the Most Cookies (Say Yes to Customers Who Say Yes!)

Don’t waste time trying to convince naysayers; instead, ‘‘move on and find the yesses.’’

Psychology of Pricing: A Gigantic List of Strategies

Not only should you start with a high initial price, but you should also use a precise value. In one study, Janiszewski and Uy (2008) asked participants to estimate the actual price of a plasma TV based on the suggested retail price — either $4,998, $5,000, or $5,012. When participants were given precise values ($4,998 and $5,012), they estimated the TV’s actual price to be closer to that range. When the suggested price was rounded ($5,000), participants believed the actual price to be much lower.

Sherwin Williams "dates" its customers

“We’ve always looked at business more like dating than war,” Wells noted. “It’s a theme that runs through our 140-year company history. In war, you’re focused on beating the competition. In dating you’re focused on strengthening a relationship. That difference of perspective has a million knock-on effects for how decisions get made.”
Comparing January 2014 department store sales to past Januaries indicates an even steeper decline: adjusted to 2013 dollars, department stores sold nearly $26.7 billion in January 1999, the highest January on record, compared to today’s $14.2 billion (in 2014 dollars).
'I'm looking forward to our interaction on Thursday on the topic of X, and my background and experience with regard to X are as follows.'" Says Cialdini, "It's perfectly appropriate to say those things in a letter of introduction, but it's not appropriate as soon as there's a face-to-face interaction because you look like a boastful braggart and a self-aggrandizer." The letter of introduction establishes your authority before you even step in the room, which would have helped me immeasurably.
This same CEB study also found that 53% of those surveyed claimed that the sales experience itself was one of the greatest contributing factors in continued loyalty to the brand. The feeling is that most products, services, brands and even pricing are about the same, but the sales experience, or value, ease and insight delivered during the actual process of buying, was what tipped the scale.