Artful Persuasion: How to Command Attention, Change Minds, and Influence People

By Harry Mills | Go to book overview

CHAPTER
15
Persuasion Trigger One:
Contrast

The Power of
a Benchmark

CONTRAST - JUDGMENT IS RELATIVE

Rating Beauty

Two researchers, Douglas Kenrick and Sara Gutierres, showed male students photographs of potential blind dates and asked students to rate the potential dates' attractiveness before and after viewing the television show Charlie's Angels.

Watching the television show affected their opinions. The males rated their potential dates as far less physically attractive after they viewed the show than before. The students contrasted the blind dates' beauty with the stunning beauties from Charlies Angels and consequently rated the former less attractive.1

“I didn't have 3,000 pairs of shoes. I had only 1,060 pairs.”

— Imelda Marcos

Judgment of beauty, like most things, is relative, not absolute. Having television beauties as a benchmark made the blind dates seem much less attractive than they actually were.

The contrast principle shapes our perceptions in all sorts of different ways. You open your pay check and are overjoyed to find you've been given a 7.5 percent pay raise - until you discover your coworkers have been given a 10 percent raise.

-223-

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