Wednesday, 16 February 2011

"The secret of my influence has always been that it remained secret." [S. Dali]

It's not a recently published book that I would like to mention here, but I have only recently finished reading it. "Influence: Science and Practice" by Robert B. Cialdini, professor of psychology and marketing at Arizona State University.

This book is a must-read for anyone who is interested in how the minds of consumers work. It shows clearly what factors influence consumers and their decision-making processes on a daily basis, most often subconsciously. It presents also mechanisms of defence that consumers might try using to protect themselves from this influence (as Dali mentioned, the power of influence is usually greatly diminished if it becomes known). From a legal perspective, if we find out what factors influence consumers we might figure out why certain legal mechanisms established to protect consumers are not effective in practice - when they ignore these powerful effects of 'click-whirr' mechanisms that often dominate consumers' way of thinking (certain stimuli causes automatic responses with consumers: "Click and the appropriate tape is activated; whirr and out rolls the standard sequence of behaviors"). On the other hand, it clearly shows that there are many ways of influencing the consumers and maybe the EU regulators should start using them in their own decision-making processes in order to deliver better protection mechanisms to EU consumers.