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Aggressive Persuasion - Technical Authority technique

Today's Aggressive Persuasion Spotlight falls on the technique known as: Technical Authority

Name: Technical Authority
Type:  An Automatic Behavior
Medium: Text, Internet, News, In Person, Video, Voice Recording
Chance of Encounter: High
Typical Target: Large Groups, Mass Media
Setup, Conditions, or Environment:  This technique is best used in an environment of multi-level confliction, without overbearing conflict. For example, a problem is perceived through the latest results of a report, that the math standards of the state of California are not providing a needed element. Opinions have been given suggesting, clarity of requirements, limited or vague instruction, low level of expectation, expectations are too high, and fosters an environment which allows too many methods. However, none of these are clear enough to take a stand on at this point.

Automatic Behaviors are frequently underestimated, not recognized when engaged, and commonly attributed to some other origin.[1] The name however is descriptive and accurate. These are behaviors that are 1) triggered by an event. 2) Responsive to the event in predictable ways, 3) The response requires no forethought, planning or conscious agreement. Most people are completely unaware that this behavior is ... a behavior and not a conscious decision on their part.

This particular behaviour however is very strong especially the environment is as described above -- a problem exists, there appear to be several possible areas of exploration, many voices with opinions, and an escalating atmosphere as more people buy into the discussion.

At this point, the introduction of a Technical Authority, someone who establishes credibility in a recognizable, and easily acceptable manner, and then begins to instruct steps and goals -- will be followed and given a great deal of power without question -- such questions might have been "What are you an authority on, exactly?" would have undoubtedly been asked at any other time, but are dismissed by the momentum of the moment.

Once the Technical Authority is accepted by this group, newcomers will also fall in line and an establishment of loyalty by precedent comes in to being -- meaning, any questioning of credentials will be looked down on with derision by the existing members of the core group.

Even on discovery later that the Technical Authority is not qualified, it will take a major abuse of position and power to break the spell.

[1]Bar-Anan, Yoav, Timothy D. Wilson, and Ran R. Hassin. "Inaccurate self-knowledge formation as a result of automatic behavior." Journal of Experimental Social Psychology 46.6 (2010): 884-894.


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