The impact of information on people

The impact of information on people

The oldest mechanism of influence is infection, it is a transfer of a certain emotional and psychological mood from one person to another, based on an appeal to the emotional and conscious sphere of the person (infection with panic, irritation, laughter).

Indoctrination is also based on an appeal to the unconscious, to the emotions of the person, but already verbal, verbal means, and the inspiring must be in a reasonable state, confident and authoritative. Inspiration is based primarily on the authority of the source of information: if the inspirer is not authoritative, then the inspiration is doomed to failure. The inspiration is verbal in nature, i.e. it can only be inspected through words, but this verbal message has a shortened character and an increased expressive moment. The role of voice intonation is very important here (90% of efficiency depends on the intonation, which expresses the persuasiveness, authority, significance of words).

Investibility – the degree of pliability to suggestion, the ability to uncritical perception of incoming information, varies from person to person. Attentiveness is higher in persons with a weak nervous system, as well as in persons with severe attention fluctuations. People with poorly balanced settings are more suggestible, people with a predominance of the first signal system are more suggestible.

Inspiration techniques are aimed at reducing the person’s criticality in receiving information and using emotional transfer. Thus, transfer techniques suggest that when transmitting a message, the new fact is associated with well-known facts, phenomena, people to whom the person is emotionally positive, so that there is a transfer of this emotional state to the new information (possible transfer and negative attitude, in this case the incoming information is rejected). Certificate receipts (citing a famous person, a scientist, a thinker) and “appeal to all”. (“most people think that…”) reduce criticality and make the person more compliant with the information they receive.


Persuasion appeals to logic, to the human mind, and implies a sufficiently high level of development of logical thinking. People, who are underdeveloped, sometimes cannot be logically influenced. The content and form of persuasion must correspond to the level of personal development, his thinking.

The process of persuasion begins with the perception and evaluation of the source of information:.

1) the listener compares the received information with the information available to him/her and as a result an idea is created of how the source presents the information, where does it come from, if it seems to the person that the source is not truthful, hides the facts, makes mistakes, the trust to him/her falls down sharply;

2) general idea about the authority of the persuasive person is created, but if the source makes logical mistakes, no official status and authority will help him;

3) the source and listener settings are compared: if the distance between them is very large, then persuasion may be ineffective. In this case, the best strategy of persuasion is: first, the persuader reports the elements of similarity with the views of the persuaders, as a result, a better understanding is established and a prerequisite for persuasion is created.

Another strategy can be used when at first they report a big difference between the attitudes, but then the persuader must confidently and demonstrably defeat the views of others (which is not easy – remember the presence of levels of selection, selection of information).

Thus, persuasion is a method of influence, based on logical methods, which are mixed with social and psychological pressures of different kinds (influence of authority of information source, group influence).

Persuasion is more effective when the group is convinced, not the individual.

Persuasion is based on logical methods of evidence, by means of which the truth of a thought is justified through other thoughts. All evidence consists of three parts: the thesis, arguments and demonstrations.

An assertion is a thought the truth of which needs to be proved, the assertion must be clear, precise, unambiguously defined and justified by facts.

The argument is a thought the truth of which has already been proved and therefore it can be given to justify the truth or falsehood of the thesis.

Demonstration is a logical reasoning, a set of logical rules used in proving. There are direct and indirect, inductive and deductive by the way of evidence management.

Manipulation techniques in the process of persuasion:

    • use of arguments that do not prove or are partially true under certain conditions, but are believed to be true under all circumstances, to prove the thesis; or use of knowingly false arguments;
    • representation of other people’s arguments is regarded as proof of the falsehood of someone else’s thesis and the correctness of his statement – the antithesis, although logically it is wrong: the incorrectness of the argument does not mean the incorrectness of the thesis.


An important social-psychological phenomenon is imitation – the reproduction of the activity, actions, qualities of another person to whom one wants to resemble.

Imitation conditions:

    • the presence of a positive emotional attitude, admiration or respect for the object of imitation;
    • less human experience compared to the imitation object in some respect;
    • clear, expressive, attractive sample;
    • availability of the sample, at least in some qualities;
    • the conscious focus of a person’s desires and will on the object of imitation (want to be the same).

Psychological impact of information on a person suggests that there is a change in mechanisms of regulation of human behavior and activity.

The means of influence are used:.

    • verbal information, word – but it should be taken into account that the meaning and meaning of a word can be different for different people and have different impacts (affect the level of self-esteem, breadth of experience, intellectual abilities, character traits and type of personality);
    • inverbal information (intonation of speech, facial expressions, gestures, postures become iconic and affect mood, behavior, confidence level);
    • involvement of a person in a specially organized activity, because in the framework of any activity a person occupies a certain status and thus fixes a certain type of behavior (a change of status in interaction leads to a change of behavior, as well as real experiences associated with the implementation of a certain activity can change a person, his condition and behavior);
    • regulate the degree and level of need satisfaction (if a person recognizes the right of another person or group to regulate their level of need satisfaction, then changes may occur; if not, there will be no impact as such).

Target of exposure is:.

  • introduce new information into the system of views, attitudes;
  • change structural relations in the system of installations, i.e. enter information that reveals objective links between objects, changes or establishes new links between installations, human views;
  • to change a person’s attitude, i.e. to make a shift of motives, a shift in the listener’s value system.

Socio-psychological attitudes are a state of psychological readiness that develops on the basis of experience and influences the reactions of a person in relation to those objects and situations with which he is associated and which are socially significant.

  1. Adjustment function – is related to the need to ensure the most favorable position of the person in the social environment, and therefore the person acquires positive attitudes to useful, positive, favorable for themselves stimuli, situations, and negative attitudes – to sources of unpleasant negative stimuli.
  2. The protective function of the installation is connected with the necessity to support the internal stability of the person, as a result of which the person gets a negative attitude towards those persons, actions that can serve as a source of danger for the integrity of the person. If a significant person evaluates us negatively, it can lead to a decrease in self-esteem, so we tend to develop a negative attitude towards this person. However, the source of negative attitude may not be the person’s own qualities, but the person’s attitude toward us.
  3. Value-expressive function is related to the need for personal stability and is that positive attitudes are usually developed in relation to our personality type (if we evaluate our personality type positively enough). If a person thinks he or she is strong, independent, he or she will treat the same people positively enough, and “cool” or even negative enough.
  4. Worldview organization function: settings are developed in relation to some knowledge about the world. All this knowledge forms a system, i.e. the system of attitudes is a set of emotionally colored elements of knowledge about the world, about people. But a person can meet with such facts and information, which contradict the established attitudes. The function of such attitudes is not to trust or reject such “dangerous facts”, negative emotional attitude, distrust, skepticism are generated to such “dangerous” information. For this reason, new scientific theories, innovations are initially confronted with opposition, misunderstanding, distrust.

If the installations are connected to each other and form a system, they cannot change quickly.

This system has installations that are centrally located with a lot of connections – these are central focal installations. There are installations that are on the periphery and have few links, so they can be modified more easily and quickly. The focal points are the attitudes to knowledge, which are related to the outlook of the individual, to his moral credo. The main central attitude is the attitude to one’s own Self, around which the whole system of attitudes is built.

Emotional Impact

Studies have shown that a more reliable and faster method of changing attitudes is to change the emotional meaning, attitude to a particular problem. The logical method of action for changing attitudes does not always work for everyone, because a person tends to avoid information that can prove that his behavior is wrong.

Thus, in their experience with smokers, they were asked to read and evaluate the reliability of a scientific article about the harm of smoking. The more a person smokes, the less credible the article is, the less likely it is that he or she can logically change his or her mind about smoking. The role and amount of information is played.

Based on numerous experiments, we have found a correlation between the probability of changing the setting and the amount of information about the setting: a small amount of information does not lead to a change of the setting, but as the information grows, the probability of change increases, but to a certain limit, after which the probability of change drops sharply, i.e. a very large amount of information, on the contrary, can cause rejection, distrust, misunderstanding. The probability of changing the setting also depends on its balance. Balanced systems of attitudes and opinions are characterized by psychological compatibility, so it is more difficult to be influenced than unbalanced systems, which themselves are prone to tears.

The person tends to avoid information that can cause cognitive dissonance – a mismatch between attitudes or a mismatch between attitudes and the person’s real behavior.

If a person’s opinions are close to the source’s, then after his or her speech, they are even closer to the source’s position, i.e., there is assimilation, unification of opinions.

The closer the audience’s attitude is to the source’s opinion, the more it is assessed by the audience as objective and impartial. People at the extreme positions are less inclined to change their attitudes than people with moderate views.

A person has a system of information selection (selection) on a number of levels:

  • at the level of attention (attention is directed to what is interesting, corresponds to the views of the person);
  • selection at the level of perception (so, even perception, understanding of humorous pictures depends on a person’s attitude);
  • selection at the memory level (remembering what matches, acceptable to the interests and views of the person).

What kind of impact methods are used?

  • Methods of influencing the sources of activity are aimed at forming new needs or changing the impulse of existing motives for behavior.

In order to form new needs in a person, the following methods and means are used: they involve him/her in a new activity, using the desire of the person to interact or relate, to associate himself/herself with a certain person, or involving the whole group in this new activity and using the motive of following the disciplinary norms (“I have to do something, like everyone in the group”), or using the desire of the child to join the adult life or the desire of the person to raise the prestige. At the same time, by involving a person into a new, yet indifferent activity, it is useful to minimize the person’s efforts to fulfill it. If the new activity is too burdensome for the person, then the person loses the desire and interest in this activity.

  • In order to change a person’s behavior, it is necessary to change his desires, motives (he wants something he did not want before, or has stopped wanting, to strive for something he used to attract), i.e. to change the system of hierarchy of motives.

One of the methods that allows to do this is regression, i.e. unification of the motivational sphere, actualization of the motives of the lower sphere (safety, survival, food motive, etc.) is carried out in case the basic vital needs of a person are not satisfied (this method is carried out in politics as well in order to “knock down” the activity of many layers of society, creating enough difficult conditions for their subsistence and survival).

    • Whatever changes a person’s behavior, you need to change their views, opinions, settings: create new settings, or change the relevance of existing settings, or destroy them. If the settings are broken, the activity breaks down.
    • Uncertainty factor – the higher the level of subjective uncertainty, the higher the anxiety, and then the purposefulness of activity is lost;
    • uncertainty in the evaluation of personal perspectives, in the evaluation of one’s role and place in life, uncertainty in the importance of efforts in study, in work (if we want to make sense of the activity, we reduce the importance of efforts);
    • uncertainty of incoming information (its inconsistency; it is not clear which of them can be trusted);

indeterminacy of moral and social norms – all this causes a person’s tension from which he or she tries to defend himself or herself by trying to rethink the situation, by searching for new goals, or by going into regressive forms of reaction (indifference, apathy, depression, aggression, etc.).

Victor Frankle (world-renowned psychiatrist, psychotherapist, philosopher, creator of the so-called Third Vienna School of Psychotherapy) wrote:.

The method of creating uncertainty allows a person to be brought into a state of “broken attitudes”, “loss of self”, and if you then show a person the way out of this uncertainty, he will be ready to accept this attitude and respond in the required way, especially if there will be some impressive maneuvers: appeal to the opinion of the majority, publicizing the results of public opinion, combined with involvement in organized activities.

The method of associative or emotional transposition is used to form an attitude towards the required attitude or assessment of an event: to place this object in the same context with something that already has an assessment, or to evoke a moral assessment, or a certain emotion about this context (for example, in Western cartoons at one time dangerous and bad aliens were depicted with Soviet symbols, from here the transposition “All Soviet – dangerous, bad” could occur).

In order to strengthen, actualize the required installation, but capable of causing emotional or moral protest of a person, the method of “combining stereotypical phrases with what they want to implement” is often used, because stereotypical phrases reduce the attention, emotional attitude of a person at some point, sufficient to trigger the required installation (this method is used in military instructions, where it is written “Launch a rocket at object B” (not at city B), because the stereotypical word “object” reduces the emotional attitude of a person and his strength.)

To change a person’s emotional attitude and state to current events, the method of “remembering the bitter past” is effective – if a person remembers the past troubles more intensively, “how bad it was before…” seeing the past life in a black light, there is an involuntary decrease in disharmony, a decrease in a person’s dissatisfaction with the present day and “pink illusions” for the future are created.

To defuse the negative emotional state of people in the required direction and with the required effect since antiquity is used the method of “mood sewer”, when against the background of increased anxiety and frustration of people’s needs is provoked by the outpouring of anger of the crowd on people who are only indirectly or almost not involved in the difficulties.

If all three factors (motivation, desires of people, attitudes, opinions, and emotional states of people) are taken into account, then the impact of information will be most effective both at the level of an individual and at the level of a group.

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