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The Michael Shermer Show

A series of conversations between Dr. Michael Shermer and leading scientists, philosophers, historians, scholars, writers and thinkers about the most important issues of our time.

Watch or listen here or on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music, Google Podcasts, iHeartRadio, Stitcher, and TuneIn.

EPISODE # 187

Robert Cialdini — Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion

Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion (book cover)

In the new edition of this highly acclaimed bestseller (over 5 million copies sold in over 40 languages), Robert Cialdini — New York Times bestselling author of Pre-Suasion and the seminal expert in the fields of influence and persuasion — explains the psychology of why people say yes and how to apply these insights ethically in business and everyday settings. Using memorable stories and relatable examples, Cialdini makes this crucially important subject surprisingly easy. With Cialdini as a guide, you don’t have to be a scientist to learn how to use this science.

Robert Cialdini is Regents’ Professor Emeritus of Psychology and Marketing at Arizona State University and an award-winning behavioral scientist and author. He is the president and CEO of Influence at Work, focusing on live and virtual keynotes, streaming and online corporate training. In acknowledgement of his outstanding research achievements and contributions in behavioral science, Dr. Cialdini was elected to the American Academy of Arts & Sciences and the National Academy of Sciences. He has over 230 professional and scientific publications. Dr. Cialdini is known as the foundational expert in the science of influence and is frequently referred to as the “Godfather of Influence.”

Shermer and Cialdini discuss:

  • Cialdini’s Universal Principles of Influence and 7 Principles of Persuasion:

    • Reciprocation
    • Commitment and Consistency
    • Social Proof
    • Liking
    • Authority
    • Scarcity
    • Unity
  • good and evil uses of these principles,
  • Do we default to truth and naturally believe what people tell us?
  • Are we natural-born skeptics or natural-born sheep?
  • How rational are humans? Kahneman/Tversky (cognitive biases) vs. Gingerenzer/Tooby & Cosmides (bounded rationality),
  • pluralistic ignorance,
  • free will/determinism,
  • Are we all Nazis? Hugo Mercier, Not Born Yesterday, Germans ≠ Nazis, most people don’t join cults, most political advertising doesn’t work, etc.,
  • Jonestown, Heavens’ Gate, Nxivm, Scientology: why people join cults,
  • Milgram: Obedience to authority, role playing, social facilitation, social proof?
  • smoke in the room: conformity as a cognitive heuristic for survival, not a bug in the system,
  • Why didn’t the other cops stop Derek Chauvin from killing George Floyd?
  • thoughts on the movements #BLM, #metoo, antiracism, social justice,
  • Israel and Palestine: how can we apply the principles of influence to solve that seemingly insoluble problem?
  • How we can use the principles of influence to expand the moral sphere to include everyone as a rights-bearing member of our species; i.e., true universal human rights.

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Retrospective

Skeptic cover art by Pat Linse

Art of the Skeptic

In celebration of Skeptic magazine’s 100th issue, we present sage graphic art advice for skeptical groups and a gallery of art reflecting more than 47 years of skeptical activism from Skeptic’s long time Art Director, Pat Linse

Detecting Baloney

Baloney Detection Kit Sandwich (Infographic) by Deanna and Skylar (High Tech High Media Arts, San Diego, CA)

The Baloney Detection Kit Sandwich (Infographic)

For a class project, a pair of 11th grade physics students created the infographic shown below, inspired by Michael Shermer’s Baloney Detection Kit: a 16-page booklet designed to hone your critical thinking skills.

FREE PDF Download

Wisdom of Harriet Hall

Top 10 Things to Know About Alternative Medicine

Harriet Hall M.D. discusses: alternative versus conventional medicine, flu fear mongering, chiropractic, vaccines and autism, placebo effect, diet, homeopathy, acupuncture, “natural remedies,” and detoxification.

FREE Video Series

Science Based Medicine vs. Alternative Medicine

Science Based Medicine vs. Alternative Medicine

Understanding the difference could save your life! In this superb 10-part video lecture series, Harriet Hall M.D., contrasts science-based medicine with so-called “complementary and alternative” methods.

FREE PDF Download

Top 10 Myths of Terrorism

Is Terrorism an Existential Threat?

This free booklet reveals 10 myths that explain why terrorism is not a threat to our way of life or our survival.

FREE PDF Download

The Top 10 Weirdest Things

The Top Ten Strangest Beliefs

Michael Shermer has compiled a list of the top 10 strangest beliefs that he has encountered in his quarter century as a professional skeptic.

FREE PDF Download

Reality Check: How Science Deniers Threaten Our Future (paperback cover)

Who believes them? Why? How can you tell if they’re true?

What is a conspiracy theory, why do people believe in them, and can you tell the difference between a true conspiracy and a false one?

FREE PDF Download

The Science Behind Why People See Ghosts

The Science Behind Why People See Ghosts

Mind altering experiences are one of the foundations of widespread belief in the paranormal. But as skeptics are well aware, accepting them as reality can be dangerous…

FREE PDF Download

Top 10 Myths About Evolution

Top 10 Myths About Evolution (and how we know it really happened)

If humans came from apes, why aren’t apes evolving into humans? Find out in this pamphlet!

FREE PDF Download

Learn to be a Psychic in 10 Easy Lessons

Learn to do Psychic “Cold Reading” in 10
Easy Lessons

Psychic readings and fortunetelling are an ancient art — a combination of acting and psychological manipulation.

FREE PDF Download

The Yeti or Abominable Snowman

5 Cryptid Cards

Download and print 5 Cryptid Cards created by Junior Skeptic Editor Daniel Loxton. Creatures include: The Yeti, Griffin, Sasquatch/Bigfoot, Loch Ness Monster, and the Cadborosaurus.

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