All animals, including humans, let themselves be fooled by their instincts
Female turkeys are excellent mothers…as long as their little ones keep chirping. If they don’t make this sound, the chicks are treated badly and sometimes even killed. To prove this, scientists hid a voice recorder inside a stuffed skunk (a turkey’s arch enemy) that made the same “cheep” sound that turkey chicks make, and the mother turkey looked after it. To us, it probably seems utterly ridiculous to be fooled by a sound! Yet we humans also have our own fixed patterns: our world is bursting with stimuli and we need our mental shortcuts to be able to cope with them. Obviously, stereotypes don’t always work; but the mistakes that we make because of them are widely accepted, because the benefits of using them seem to be greater than not using them.
The problem with automatic behaviour is not so much the lack of accuracy, as our pervasive ignorance, which makes us vulnerable to anyone who understands how it works. So we need to learn to recognise our basic behaviour patterns, to avoid being tricked, and maybe even learning to use them to our advantage.
The key ideas of "Influence"
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