Media ReleaseFrom: Elsevier
Trust me, you’re more persuasive face-to-face
A study published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology has found that people overestimate their ability to persuade others over email. The differences between people’s perception of how persuasive they are, and how persuasive they actually are, have been documented in previous research. Studies have shown that people underestimate the likelihood that a stranger will comply with their request when approached in person. However, the new study suggests that the opposite is true for email contact. Researchers asked students to target people both face-to-face and over email, and asked them to rate the likelihood that people would comply with their request to fill out a questionnaire. While students correctly identified that it’s harder for someone to say no if you ask them something in person, generally they overestimated how many email targets would complete the questionnaire. Researchers believe this is because ‘requesters’ i.e. those trying to do the persuasion, assume that email contact has the same level of implicit trust as people convey in face-to-face interactions.