How Critics Influence Behavior – And So Should You

Half of the major theater critics said they liked Jersey Boys, while the
other half called it 1970s corny. The NY Times gave it a moderate rave
on November 7th 2005 and in the middle of June 2010 it is still a major
hit on Broadway.

George Orwell said, “We are all equal, but some of us are more equal than
others.” NY Times is More equal than the other critics.

Addams Family opened April 9, 2010 to lousy reviews. NY Times was begrudging
in its appreciation. The public voted with its wallets and stood around the block to buy tickets. How come?

Familiarity Breeds Success

Addams family cartoons first appeared in the New Yorker magazine in 1935 and terminated in 1989 – when the cartoonist cashed in his chips. Wait: this celebration
of death and the macabre produced a successful TV show 1964-66, and two very internationally popular movies in 1991 and a sequel in 1993.

Therefore, the Broadway show was a guaranteed hit because we follow our friends.
We like the critics who agree with out likes and dislikes, but there are exceptions.

Key Point: the opinions of others – critics, friends and associates really matter even to independent thinkers like You and Me. It physiological and mentally feels good
when others agree with our opinions.

Career And Relationships

If we want to Influence, Persuade and Convince our peers, superiors and the public,
and obtain future promotions and leadership positions, we must know how to get their Agreement.

The first step to influence is agreeing with the opinions of others, before we ask them to agree (big-time) with our opinions. If we have a personal history of past (small) agreements, that credibility escalates to future agreement.

Who Says So

Researchers at University College London ((UCL). When? 6.17.2010, published in the journal Current Biology. Google: lead author, professor Chris Frith.

How Come

Get this: the Reward structure in our brain is activated (blood flows) when seen under a fMRI (functional Magnetic Resonance Imagery) – when others AGREE
with our opinions.


Why do we buy that fancy car when all we really want is cheap transportation? What characteristics (personality) entice us to choose a Significant Other?

Sure motivation, but what motivates our final decision?

What Does Our Brain’s Ventral Striatum Do?

The latest scientific research indicates our VS is the key to Emotion and Motivation
and delivers Dopamine, the neurotransmitter that produces Pleasure.

Inquiring Minds Need to locate our VS: it is in the Limbic System, near the Basal
Ganglia, and consists of the Nucleus Accumbens and Olfactory Tubercles.


Compulsive Gamblers have a high-jacked Ventral Striatum. They experience a runaway Dopamine flow and obtain pleasure from Risky Decisions, Novelty and
status. They gamble to keep up with the Joneses, not for the money.

Who Cares

Most Scientists agree 95% of all serious decisions are based on Emotion not organized planning and logic. Is it a fact that Homo sapiens have two goals
in life – we seek Pleasure (motivated to compete) and avoid Pain? Yes.

Question: Are decisions made using Will Power (conscious thinking) or the Nonsconscious mind (brainstem-basal ganglia and our nervous system)?

Approximately 16.7% is made by our Conscious mind, and 83.3% by our
Autonomic Nervous System (Nonconsciousness). I did not believe it either.


Listen closely: when we anticipate Financial Gain – the neurotransmitter
for reward in our VS – Dopamine increases, which increases our Pleasure.
When we contemplate Loss, Dopamine reduces its flow – decreases our pleasure.

“Fear of loss dominates our desire for gain – it is called Risk Aversive.”
Researcher, G. Senise. “Gamblers overcome Risk Aversive by secondary Pleasure, a belief in their personal Status, and Positive Potential. Even after losing, they
find pleasure in the gambling environment. They have a need to be different and
do not contemplate losses. They control their Fear of Loss until it overwhelms them.


When critics (reviewers) agree with our own choices – our brain’s Ventral Striatum
(reward center) is activated by an increase in Dopamine, the pleasure neurotransmitter.

When we get confirmation (validation) by a higher price on the stock market we feel the emotion of pride and high status. When we sell our real estate for more than we paid, dopamine flows. We work for rewards.

We are hardwired to be influenced, persuaded and convinced by the opinion of others. Words and status change our mind. More or less dopamine flows in our VS.
How come? It has evolutionary survival value in being a member of the tribe.

Agreement on the hunt in the savannah leads to cooperation and success in bringing back the bacon. It still works. We call it a ‘team effort’.

If you had the ability to read-and-remember three (3) books, articles and reports in
the time your peers could hardly finish one, is that an important competitive advantage?

Contact us for a free report on speed reading. It may be responsible for your next
promotion. No strings attacted.

copyright © 2010 H. Bernard Wechsler

See ya,

Author's Bio: 

Author of Speed Reading For Professionals, published by Barron's. Business partner of Evelyn Wood (1907-1995) creator of speed reading,graduating 2-million including the White House staffs of four U.S. Presidents: Kennedy-Johnson-Nixon-Carter