Robert Cialdini is president of Influence at Work, an international consulting, strategic planning and training organization. His books including, Influence: Science & Practice, are the results of more than 30 years of study into the reasons why people comply with requests in business settings. Cialdini received his Ph.D from the University of North Carolina and post doctoral training from Columbia University. He has held visiting scholar appointments at Ohio State University, the University of California, the Annenberg School of Communications, and the Graduate School of Business of Stanford University. Currently, he is a professor of marketing and psychology at Arizona State University, where he has also been named Distinguished Graduate Research Professor. In the field of influence and persuasion, Dr. Cialdini is the most cited living social psychologist in the world today.
Question: What inspires you?
Cialdini: You know, what inspires me is elegance in answering a question in a depth yet certain way so that an experimenter who does a piece of research that not only answers a question but eliminates alternative explanations for why this thing work the way it did, that takes my breath away. I’ll always be a researcher. I’m a behavioral scientist. And when I see that sort of thing, I just commend it. I write letters to the author of that study, praising them for it and trying to reinforce that kind of behavior.