User Experience Design Agency

Cialdini’s New Book: Pre-suasion

After his bestseller 'Influence' Dr. Robert Cialdini introduces a new book with a seventh principle of persuasion: Unity.

It’s definitely been a while, but after having spent a decade on an intensive research trajectory, this month sees  the return of Dr. Robert Cialdini with his new book Pre-suasion.

This sequel to his previous publication provides us with an insight into the way people can be made susceptible to a message before the actual message is sent. In other words, Dr. Cialdini shows us how we can nudge people in the right direction even before any persuasion principles are employed. Hoe do you ensure that people are optimally receptive to your request or proposition? As it turns out, it all comes down to perfect timing: asking the right question at the exact right moment.

As It Turns Out, It All Comes Down To Perfect Timing: Asking The Right Question At The Exact Right Moment.

The book comprises three sections: directing attention, the part played by associates, and optimising pre-suasion. Moreover, in true last but not least fashion, Cialdini introduces a seventh principle of persuasion.

Who? Dr. Robert Cialdini?

Cialdini, who has gained renown by his psychological bestseller ‘Influence’ , is the leading expert in the field of the psychology of influence. Every year, he is invited to host a seminar on ‘The psychology of Persuasion’, organised by Denk Producties. As before, we managed to attend this year’s event, and we had the opportunity to exchange a few brief words with Robert Cialdini himself, discussing his new publication and, of course, his new principle.

Robert Cialdini & Laurens Boex - Persuasion Partners In Crime

Robert Cialdini & Laurens Boex - Persuasion Partners In Crime

Unity: it’s all about us

The seventh principle is supplementary to the previous six principles as introduced by Cialdini back in 1984. The new addition is called ‘unity’, and is somewhat similar to the principle of sympathy: the more we perceive people as being a part of ourselves, the greater our influence on them becomes. Cialdini describes the principle in two movements.

The first movement of unity is ‘togetherness’, by which he describes a shared identity that influences both the influencer and the consumer. The best example of such togetherness is the family, with whom we share a strong common identity, which makes us very much ‘alike’. Of course, apart from family togetherness, one could also consider togetherness arising from shared identities such as ethnicity, nationality, religion, or political preferences.

The second movement of unity deals with ‘concerted effort’. Whenever a group of individuals decides to join forces and collaborate towards a specific goal, their sense of unity will increase further. The group solidarity that results from these concerted efforts resembles the feeling of being a family, in a sense.
A good example of this mechanism would be a group of football supporters making a concerted effort by chanting their club hymns together to cheer the team on, or getting together to celebrate their common victory over other teams. These acts generate intense feelings of belonging and group identity, which will render its members more susceptible to the opinions and actions of the group as a whole.

More About Timing, Priming And Attention

Dr. Cialdini’s new book is highly recommendable for anyone interested in the psychology of persuasion, as it is full of practical examples for everyday use. If you can’t find it at your local bookstore, you are sure to get it from any of the big online book vendors like

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