3Engaging Emotion

“When dealing with people, remember you are not dealing with creatures of logic, but with creatures of emotion.”

– Dale Carnegie, How to Win Friends and Influence People

While, as individuals, we may think we are fairly logical beings, research indicates otherwise. We rarely make logical decisions. Rather, we make decisions emotionally and then justify them rationally.

From deeply felt emotions to passing moods, humans are driven by their feelings. Emotions play a role in our thinking, decision making, and behavior and even how we experience the world around us. That is why emotion is such a critical portion of our influence model. In this chapter, you will learn how to harness emotions, your own and others, in the process of influence and persuasion.

The Linda Problem

A good example of the role of emotions in decision making is the conjunction fallacy, also known as the Linda Problem. In 1983, famed scientists Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahneman carried out an experiment providing participants the following description and asking them to answer the related question:

Linda is 31 years old, single, outspoken, and very bright. She majored in philosophy. As a student, she was deeply concerned with issues of discrimination and social justice, and also participated in anti-nuclear demonstrations.

Which is more probable?

  1. Linda is a bank teller.
  2. Linda is a bank teller and is active in the feminist movement.

Which do you believe is the correct answer?

The majority ...

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