When it comes to this persuasion technique, Donald is top Trump

On the 8th of November, the American general elections will end a two-year campaign marathon rife with scandals, surprises and slander.

At The Web Psychologist we are intensely curious about influence and persuasion on- and offline… And this presidential election has turned out to be a particularly interesting, memorable and disturbing case study.

So, with the results due out this week, we’d like to shine a spotlight on one particular rhetorical move that’s been used in this campaign – the Granfalloon technique – and explore the psychological dynamics that make it so effective.

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How online rituals can shape customer engagement

It’s 4.30pm on a Monday in late September.

Two friends share a table and piece of cake in a Bloomsbury coffee shop. They have reached the dark valley of afternoon exhaustion.

An attentive bystander observes an obscure behaviour: in the company of a person whose company they seem to cherish very much, both of them stare at their phones, placed on the table in front of them, continuously refreshing a variety of apps in shared silence.

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All work and no play? The rise of games and gamification

The turn of phrase “work hard, play hard” distinguishes work and play as two distinct areas of life. They are separated by a rigid comma that prevents any unwanted spillover. In four words, the statement illustrates the role of play in the everyday life of a 21st century adult.

Both are studiously kept apart and yet, both matter.

A closer look at play and games in the context of work reveals that the distinction between these two spheres of life has been blurred for rather a long time.

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How to break the spell of your phone addiction

Are you familiar with that awful, pleasurable sound the Facebook messenger app makes when you refresh it? I certainly am… In the middle of doing hard, important, no-fun work, those tiny moments of reprieve glow like a fata morgana to a thirsty woman crawling the desert of academic boredom.

My brain suggests to me that, even though the work I am intending to do is actually really important, what I really need, right now, to ensure my survival, is to check Facebook. And Instagram. And my email. Again and again.
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Are we sleep-walking into a real Minority Report?

In the 2002 movie Minority Report, a complex algorithm and omnipresent means of observation combine to predict who will commit a crime, just in time to catch the perpetrator (not yet) red handed, thus preventing the felony from happening.

While the technology introduced in the movie remains (to the best of our knowledge) a dystopian spectacle of the future, big data analysis has been capable of astonishing inferences for several years now.

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(2/3) Careful! Bear-traps on your mind-travel to the future

Given that technology is moving at such an extraordinary pace, for this holiday weekend we thought we’d publish a triptych of blog posts exploring the psychology of how we imagine and predict the future.

The first, published yesterday, sheds light on the psychological and social processes behind making predictions.

Today we’re going to zoom in on the mistakes that creep into this process, and illustrate how these fallacies distort our vision of the future.

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(1/3) How to mind-travel to the future

For this holiday weekend, we’ve decided to go all out and bring you thrice the inspiration and input as usual in a special three-part post. Given that our desire for new and exciting technology shows no signs of abating, we thought we’d take you on a journey into the psychology behind how we predict, simulate and imagine the future...

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