Robert Beno Cialdini (born April 27, 1945) is the Regents' Professor Emeritus of Psychology and Marketing at Arizona State University and was a visiting professor of marketing, business and psychology at Stanford University, as well as at the University of California at Santa Cruz.
Cialdini received his Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee in June 1967. He then went on to Graduate studies in Social Psychology at the University of North Carolina and earned his Ph.D. in June 1970 and received Postgraduate training in Social Psychology at 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, Cialdini is Regents’ Professor Emeritus of Psychology and Marketing at Arizona State University.
He is best known for his 1984 book on persuasion and marketing, Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion. It was based on three "undercover" years applying for and training at used car dealerships, fund-raising organizations, and telemarketing firms to observe real-life situations of persuasion. He found that influence is based on six key principles: reciprocity, commitment and consistency, social proof, authority, liking, scarcity. In 2016 he proposed a seventh principle. He called it the unity principle. The more we identify ourselves with others, the more we are influenced by these others.
The book has sold over three million copies and has been translated into thirty languages. It has been listed on the New York Times Best Seller list and Fortune lists it in their "75 Smartest Business Books". It is mentioned in 50 Psychology Classics.
One of Cialdini's other books, Yes! 50 Scientifically Proven Ways to Be Persuasive, was a New York Times Bestseller; and another of his books, The Small BIG: Small changes that spark a big influence, was a Times Book of the year. Cialdini's most-recent book is Pre-suasion, which was published in 2016.
The Robert B. Cialdini prize from the Society for Personality and Social Psychology is named after him in honor of psychological research that demonstrates societal relevance using field methods. He was elected a member of the National Academy of Sciences in April 2019.
Cialdini was hired alongside many other behavioural scientists for the Barack Obama presidential campaign, 2012. He also advised in the early stages of the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign, 2016.
- Cialdini, R. B. (1984). Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion (ISBN 0-688-12816-5). Also published as the textbook Influence: Science and Practice (ISBN 0-321-01147-3).
- Cialdini, R. B. (2001). Influence: Science and practice (4th ed.). Boston: Allyn & Bacon. ISBN 978-0-205-60999-4.
- Yes! 50 Scientifically Proven Ways to be Persuasive. Authors: Noah J. Goldstein, Steve J. Martin and Robert B. Cialdini. Simon and Schuster, 2008, ISBN 978-1-4165-7096-7.
- The Small BIG: Small changes that spark a big influence, 2014.
- Pre-suasion, Simon & Schuster, 2016.