Our brain is programmed to save time and energy in decision making and it achieves this through mechanisms known as heuristics.

These heuristics (there are hundreds) are the basis on which our brain works and help us to live without calculating statistically or analyzing rationally each of the actions we do. That’s why heuristics are a way of disguising the emotional, the subjective, from the rational .

Heuristics: Our Brain Seeks Shortcuts

Heuristics are the parents of prejudices , of our musical tastes, of our brand values, of those who trust our secrets… The sciences of communication and marketing, being aware of this and seeing the power of influence they had on human beings, analysed them and began to use them in their messages to persuade people to consume their products or messages.

This was called the principles of persuasion . Understanding how the brain works is the best way to influence it. Is persuasion the same as manipulation? They are different things. Persuasion is the search for influence on the behaviour of the other person by making your intentions clear. Manipulation is the intention to influence but without showing your intentions. Persuasion is fine. Manipulation is wrong.

The principles of the art of persuasion

We persuade when we want to see a film and our partner another, when we present a project, when we try to be attractive to other people, etc… in short, we persuade almost always that we are in contact with another person. To do this honestly and effectively it is important to learn social skills .

Related article: “Top 14 Social Skills for Success in Life”

What are these principles of persuasion based on the functioning of our brain? Here are 3 of the keys to persuasion using the mechanisms of the brain:

1. Scarcity

Opportunities seem more valuable to us when their availability is limited . If we see that the quantity of something is small, we like it better. Does that child who only wants a toy because he can’t have one sound familiar? Well, when we grow up we don’t change our attitude much. Hence, advertising tricks such as “limited editions”, “short term special offers” and a long etcetera.

2. Authority

Authority is a great tool for persuasion. Human beings obey because it pays off. If I obey I save myself the trouble of thinking about the right option . I just have to follow the directions of the one who “knows”.

That’s exactly what the experts use when they see a Nordic model in a doctor’s gown telling you that the product is reliable. But not only experts on something, but those with a high status also serve as authority figures. If Iniesta advises me to take these polo shirts, it will be because they are good and tasty. Who knows more about ice cream than Iniesta?

3. Social test

Our brain tries to make decisions based on what’s right. And many times to find out what is right, it turns to observe what most people do . If you walk down the street and are suddenly surprised by everyone running in the opposite direction, your brain won’t weigh different options, it will imitate everyone else.

It makes a lot of sense that we try to act like everyone else to avoid making mistakes in things that others have already learned to do. That’s why in the commercials you’ll have heard things like “this product is being a success” or “the hot record” or anything like that… If people like it, it’s because it’s good.