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Social influence: Direct and indirect processes


Book reviews > Social influence: Direct and indirect processes


Forgas, J.P. and Williams, K.D. (2001). Social Influence: Direct and Indirect Processes, Philadelphia: Psychology Press


In this fascinating book, another in the series form the Sydney symposium of social influence, Professors Forgas and Williams have assembled writings from a cast of luminaries in the field such as Cialdini, Latan?and Petty.

Academic research papers that are published in refereed journals often spend most of the text describing the research method. The chapters in this book are far more useful as many of them cover interesting subjects which are of practical use.

The nineteen chapters are divided into three sections:

  • Section 1: Fundamental processes and theories
  • Section 2: The role of cognitive processes and strategies in social influence
  • Section 3: Social influence and group behavior

As always when you get a collection such as this, there are delights, disappointments and surprises. I leapt to the Cialdini chapter, for example, expecting to find an interesting new method but was disappointed that it was about research method. But then I found the following chapter from Knowles, Butler and Linn on reducing resistance to be an excellent and practical work, with a clear structure and fascinating examples.

I will confess a bias in my reading: I am not an academic, but do love to plough the academic furrows in search of new findings I can bridge into the everyday world. And this book has a rich seam, including some real gems.

No book is going to cover the whole domain and this is not a definitive treatise on the whole of social influence. Chapters range in scope from broad reviews to detailed consideration of corner case. Some are also more easily translated into action than others. Overall, however, the book most definitely adds to the field and is a splendid read for anyone who is serious about social influence and changing minds.



Buy Me

Joseph P. Forgas and Kipling D. Williams, Social Influence: Direct and Indirect Influences, Psychology Press, 2001 

A sound collection of 19 chapters on the deeper elements of social influence, each written by a leader in the field of social influence. Although strongly academic, most chapters are easily understandable by the lay reader.



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