Persuasion and Social Proof

Sometimes what we think is largely influenced by our society. If we look across different culture, our behaviour varies hugely.

If you watch the video, you will notice how social proof has influenced people’s behaviour. As the reporter said, “one in five women in Korea undergo plastic surgery”. Living in a society like this, you will be easily persuaded into adopting a very different mindset. Just watch the video at the end, the male reporter even convinced that after looking at all those pictures, he was comfortable into showing a picture of his own. Isn’t it amazing by looking at the behaviour of a social group can eventually altering our behaviour?

Our society evolves greatly throughout history, from hunter-gather into a nation, and into a globalising system. When we look into behavioural and evolutionary theory, society that cooperates will evenly outsize the smaller one, as the smaller social group will merge into the larger one, since acting as a group is always stronger than acting individually.

Therefore, if we want to persuade a social group into adopting certain behaviour, the tactic should be first spilt the social group into 2 parts: one group of where people can be easily influenced, and another group that does the opposite. One major difference between these 2 groups will be intelligence, as smarter people tend to have a mind that constantly finding reasons to reject new ideas, and have a more active reflective system. In order to make the ‘smarter’ group of people to adopt such behaviour, it is key to first attack the smaller group, and to expand from there, turning up the voice of the minority. As the influenced group grows larger and larger, the minority will becomes a majority, creating a social proof, feeding more information to other group of people as what is socially proven, hence telling them to do what the society is doing. This will be very similar to the creation of a revolution, where it started off as one person as a leader, and many more starting to follow, eventually outgrows into the whole nation.