Tuesday, 8 July 2008

The Landscape of Social Psychology

image credit itv.com

If you have more the typical 'soap opera' interest in social affairs, then the chances are that you will curious about aspects of Social Psychology.

A good jumping off point is Social Psychology Arena which is a great resource for books and journals ranging from general interest through to academic texts.

If this post has been successful in influencing your attitude and behaviour
in any way then that is probably down to principles that early Greeks associated with Rhetoric namely:

Ethos - (good character) - hopefully you feel that Gullibility has some integrity
Logos - (an effective message) - what's being said is of value to you
Pathos - (control of emotions) - the tone is balanced yet enthusiastic

Or perhaps some of Aristotle's (Pratkanis et al 2007) notions of scarcity, credibility and vividness apply. i.e the information being offered is not general knowledge, it is believable, it is captivating and creates images in your minds eye.

In particular I find the notion of Landscaping or pre-persuasion extremely fascinating. For example, the post previous to this one might be termed 'landscaping' as it was a way of preparing the audience for what is to come next.

It is interesting to note that in many 'organisational change programmes' the 'set-up' or landscaping is often underplayed or omitted, and frequently this condemns the change intervention to failure. Pratkanis defines landscaping as "structuring the situation in such a way that the target is likely to be receptive to a given course of action and respond in a desired manner" Unskilled people who have 'power' or 'believe' they have power will ignore landscaping and assume that their position or authority will enforce any change required.

It is also interesting to note how many skilled 'landscapers' there are though - magicians, politicians, con artists, adulterers, cult leaders, abusers etc etc.

Hmmm... perhaps I should set up the Capability Brown awards for examples of Excellent Social Influence Landscape Design.

Who would you nominate?


  1. This is my first time visiting your excellent blog. Keep up the good work.