Susceptibility of personality traits, gender and culture to persuasion techniques
Research Paper (postgraduate) from the year 2011 in the subject Business economics - Business Management, Corporate Governance, grade: A, Harvard University (Harvard Business School), course: Psychology of Strategic Leadership, language: English, abstract: 1. Introduction Much has been written on which types of people have more influence, are more successful negotiators and the techniques related to persuasion. However, this assumes that most people have the ability to enter a situation and accurately judge their audiences and respond accordingly to cues and effectively use numerous appropriate persuasion techniques. The ongoing hypotheses in the literature is that all people are equal when it comes to persuasion, whereas in practice we may use how much somebody cares about when it is one friend and using social pressure on another friend depending on that friend's characteristics. Very little research has been done on how the identity of the audience changes their responsiveness to different persuasion techniques. The authors of this paper examine how the responsiveness to Cialdini's six persuasion techniques varies by gender, cultural background and personality type. Each of the techniques is briefly described in the table below. Our results show that there are indeed differences in responsiveness to techniques depending on demographic and personality differences. 2. Theoretical background 2.1 Personality and persuasion 2.1.1 Five-factor model of personality Fifty years ago, Tupes and Christal (1961) established a five-factor model of personal traits (often termed the Big Five) consisting of neuroticism, extraversion, openness to experience, agreeableness and conscientiousness.2 Today, this framework is widely used to describe the most important aspects of personalities.3 Several studies showed that the five traits are stable over time and can be applied across cultures.4 Table 2 lists the most representative attributes of the extremes for each of the five factors. 2.1.2 Personality and persuasibility Already before the five-factor personality model was created, Hovland et al. (1953) and Janis et al. (1959) studied personality factors related to persuasibility. In their Yale studies, the authors tested selected personal characteristics such as self esteem, richness of fantasy and interpersonal aggressiveness with regards to susceptibility to persuasion.7 These studies triggered further persuasion research which expanded to personal attributes such as anxiety, dogmatism and need for cognition.8 The following paragraphs summarize major findings regarding the five personality traits' susceptibility to persuasion.
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