Social ProofOpen Access

Social Proof

We copy the behaviors of others, especially in unfamiliar situations

‘Correct’ decisions or behaviors are dictated by the actions of others, particularly those we’re similar to or aspire to become.

Bandura & Menlove (1968). Factors determining vicarious extinction through symbolic modeling. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

The study

Setup

32 dog-phobic children were split into 3 groups and shown 8 videos of either one child playing with a dog,  many children with different dogs or no dogs, and then asked to interact with a dog themselves.

Results

Those who watched another child play with a dog performed far better. Those who watched many children also kept this up a month later.

Study graph

Key Takeaways

Provide mental shortcuts through the judgements of others; the more people, the more persuasive.  First-time consumers of your product will benefit the most from this approach. 

Takeaway image

Persuade with similarity. We're most influenced by those who we deem similar to ourselves. Communicate characteristics relevant to that segment, such as proximity, gender / age, profession or social class to successfully direct behavior. 

Takeaway image

Use role-models. Understand the emotional drivers of your audience and seek out positive, aspirational individuals to direct specific consumer decisions and reinforce behaviors.

Takeaway image
Takeaway image
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Social Proof

Social Proof

We copy the behaviors of others, especially in unfamiliar situations

‘Correct’ decisions or behaviors are dictated by the actions of others, particularly those we’re similar to or aspire to become.

The study

Setup

32 dog-phobic children were split into 3 groups and shown 8 videos of either one child playing with a dog,  many children with different dogs or no dogs, and then asked to interact with a dog themselves.

Results

Those who watched another child play with a dog performed far better. Those who watched many children also kept this up a month later.

study graph
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Limited Choice
We’re more likely to decide when the options are sensibly restricted

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