British intelligence's use of persuasion psychology

The documents leaked by Edward Snowden revealed a division of British intelligence focused on the use of psychological science to influence, deceive, and infiltrate suspected terrorist cells, hostile states, criminal gangs, and activist groups. Vaughan "Mind Hacks" Bell investigates, and notes that some of their techniques draw heavily from the work of Robert Cialdini, author of Influence, an absolute must-read classic book about techniques of persuasion. Read the rest

How Reddit is making you afraid of cantaloupes

Trypophobia — a fear that isn't, technically, a disorder, but is, most likely, a brilliant example of how easy it is to be influenced by the power of suggestion. This piece by NPR's Michaeleen Doucleff has me trying to remember what (if anything) I thought about the word "moist" before I first heard that it was a word most people found to be disgusting. Read the rest