The principle of social sanction: Concept, examples and avoiding it

The principle of social sanctionMan is a gregarious animal, in other words, he tends to live in a group, not in isolation. Our condition of gregarious animal affects our behavior in an important way, since it is influenced by the most accepted way of thinking of the group, which makes it difficult to go against it. In this article I will explain what the principle of social sanction consists of, a couple of examples of it and how to avoid its negative effects.

What is the principle of social sanction?

The principle of social sanction is that it makes us determine the attitude or way of thinking that is correct in a certain situation based on the actions or way of thinking of the majority.

The principle of social sanction is one of the principles collected in the book "Influence: Science and Practice" by Robert Cialdini and is intimately linked with the herd effect, a cognitive prejudice that I already told you about a while ago on the blog.

Examples of the principle of social sanction

One of the paradigmatic examples of the principle of social sanction is applied in television comedies. To induce the viewer to laugh, so-called "canned laughs" are often used, which are added artificially in production studios. In fact, many sitcoms lose much of their humor without canned laughter. Don't you believe it? Here's an example:

The principle of social sanction also has influence in the world of investment in the stock market. In fact, it is partly to blame for the emergence of bubbles and crashes in the markets, as people are influenced by the attitude of others and buy and sell stocks following the herd rather than for objective reasons. This behavior is the opposite of an investor who wants to earn money investing in the stock market. As it says Warren Buffett and I will never tire of repeating:

“Be fearful when others are greedy. Be greedy when others are fearful "

How to avoid the principle of social sanction

To avoid being influenced by the principle of social sanction, it is necessary, first of all, to be a bit stubborn, that is, to be able to act or think differently from the rest if we believe that others are wrong. It's difficult, I know, although with practice you get used to it and end up getting a taste for it.

On the other hand, we must detect when social proof is falsified as in the case of canned laughter. In this way, we will see that we are facing a deception attempt and it will help us to increase our defenses and enter "logical mode".

Robert Cialdini's Influence Summary on video

Here you have the summary of the book Influencia de Robert Cialdini, made by Adrián Godás de

  • Reciprocity
  • Commitment and consistency
  • Simpatía
  • Authority
  • Shortage