Kevin Hogan

International Speaker

Latest Articles:  Stopping the Black Swan Can You Become a New Person?

Quick! Get a pen and paper.

Choose which you prefer (you’re makng monetary “bets”). Circle or write down your choice.

Alternative A: A sure gain of $240
Alternative B: A 25% chance to gain $1,000, and a 75% chance to gain nothing.

Choose which you prefer:

Alternative C: A sure loss of $750
Alternative D: A 75% chance to lose $1,000, and a 25% chance to lose nothing.

Kahneman and Tversky found that 84% of people choose option A.

First KEY: When people have a sure thing in hand, they tend to not go for the potential bigger gain and lose what they have. People hate to lose what they have.

KT also found that 87% of people choose option D.

Second KEY: Instead of the sure loss, people will gamble at an even greater loss for the chance to break even. (This is why casinos have big chandeliers, big name acts, and the best hotel rooms on the planet.) When people feel pain or have experienced loss, they will spend more to get out of the loss or come out of the pain, even if the odds are against success.

In fact, 73% of all people choose the AD combination and even though BC is a better choice…only 3 in a 100 will choose that combination…the one that is the logical choice. And so it is with our species. We are a rational-izing people. We make emotional choices and then rationalize (make them seem logical, whether correct or incorrect).

Key THREE: How a question, proposal, idea, product or statement is framed can largely determine what the majority of people will decide and actually DO.

Most people respond or react to the fear of loss and the threat of pain in a much more profound way than they do to the potential for gain. This does NOT mean, however, that all of your influential messages should be couched in the language of fear and threats. Far from it. In fact, in some situations fear and pain will turn someone away from your attempted persuasive communication.

Once you begin to understand when it is appropriate to use prohibitions, losses, and fear in your message and when it is appropriate to use allowances, gains and “positive messages” you will find yourself influentially succeeding in ways you didn’t really think were possible.

We really do pride ourselves on being in charge, in control, intelligent, great decision making beings…until we are exposed to the truth. Sigh…we often respond to others in ways that make absolutely no rational sense whatsoever. Becoming aware of most of these mechanisms of stimulus/response, environment/response, frame/response, perception/response will help you become a superb decision maker and open the door for you to become a remarkably influential person.

What about educated people? Medical Doctors? How do they decide what to do and how will they influence your decision?

A 1987 study in the New England Journal of Medicine revealed this:

1193 participants…
Which of two treatments would they prefer? Surgery or radation therapy for cancer? Depends on how the questions was asked!

If the medical specialists were asked the question in terms of “surgery will yield a 68% chance of surviving after one year,” then 3/4 of the time surgery was chosen. If the question was asked in the mortality (death) frame (32% will be dead by the end of one year) then only 58% of the time did the specialists choose the surgery option.

Key Four: The FRAME of a proposal can alter life and death decisions even though the identical data is used to make the decisions!

The Valued Dimension Alternative

There is more to influence than only the frame, as we have seen the frame is critical. Here is a question Slovic used to point out the value of the “more important dimension.”

Player 1 has hit 26 home runs and has a batting average of .273. Player 2 has hit 20 home runs. What would Player 2’s batting average have to be in order to make the two players of equal ability and value to their teams?

My question to you dear reader is what is your answer?! Now, you probably wrote down something like .290 or .300. Me too. The next question is now that you have two players that you have rated as equal, now which player would you choose for your team?

The answer to this question will also determine which dimension is your most valued dimension, hitting for average or power. Different people have different answers and people tend to buy products, services and ideas that match their Most Valued Dimension.

As you evaluate your products/services/ideas and especially yourself, what do you think others will perceive as possible most important dimensions?

Hypnotic Confusion

Milton Erickson, M.D. was one of the 20th Century’s best known hypnotherapists.

Erickson utilized the tactic of confusing his patients so they would go into trance and be distracted from resistant thoughts they would have toward Erickson or hypnosis in general. Erickson believed that whatever suggestion followed the confusing tactic he would use, it would be more likely to take hold and succeed.

Some confusion techniques have proven to be counter productive and actually increase resistance, but simple disruptions followed by an elegantly simple reframe actually have been proven to be successful in influence.

Example 1: The Cupcake Study. People coming to the Psychology Club table on campus used the following answers in response to the “how much are they?”

Control: “These cupcakes are 50 cents; they’re really delicious.”

Mild Disruption: “These half cakes are 50 cents; they’re really delicious.”

Severe Disrupton: “These petit gateau are 50 cents; they’re really delicious.”

What worked as far as sales?

74% Mild disruption
67% Severe disruption.
46% Control condition

Does this work with anything other than women selling cupcakes?

Example 2: Students asking for donations to the Richardson Center asked people to donate “some money” in the control and “money some” (just those two words in their door to door presentation) in the disruption condition.

A third condition was tested using “money some” and the name of the organization incorrectly stated as “Center Richardson.” This was a severe disruption.


65% of houses donated in the Disruption condition
30% of houses donated in the Control condition
25% of houses donated in the Severe disruption condition.

If you want to know something that will increase your sales in a virtual guaranteed condition I am going to refer you to The Science of Influence Volume 8 and listen carefully for The Amendment Technique.

I know you found this article incredibly powerful, but I want to hear how you are utilizing this information. Please do write and perhaps I can tell your story later in the summer!

Where Can You Find More Information Like This?

Science of Influence: The Master’s Home Study Course CD Set Volumes 1-12

by Kevin Hogan

Here are just some of the incredible things you will learn when you receive the first 12 cds in the series:


  • Discover which of the desire to gain or the fear of loss is TRULY the far greater motivator and how to harness that power in your persuasive messages.
  • Learn what may be the single most important element of influence you have ever been introduced to. I have NEVER released this information on audio, video or in manual form
  • Discover how skeptical and non-skeptical people perceive and respond to persuasive messages in a VERY different fashion. (Hint: If you don’t know this information you will automatically lose almost 1/4 of all of your encounters.)
  • Ethical techniques to hypnotically enter another person’s mind and reshuffle their deck!
  • The one way that reciprocity can blow up and completely backfire.
  • How to prepare your unconscious mind to always present the right body language at the right time.
  • There is one KEY factor in making your clients decisions permanent: Here it is!
  • How to specifically use Hypnotic Confusion in influential messages.
  • The One Question that someone MUST say “Yes” to every time!
  • The most effective non-coercive way to gain compliance on record.
  • How do you create metaphors…based upon the person/audience you are speaking to?
  • So much more!

Science of Influence: Strategies & Syntax of Persuasion

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Article by Kevin in Sales Guru magazine (based in South Africa). "Burnout: Escaping Living Hell"

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Author of The Psychology of Persuasion, Irresistible Attraction, and The Science of Influence, Dr. Kevin Hogan is trusted by organizations, both large and small, to help them help their people reach their personal peak performance and maximize influence in selling and marketing. Kevin is an internationally admired keynote speaker and corporate thought leader. In Coffee with Kevin Hogan, he shares his research, observations, and how you can apply them in your life – both in business and at home.

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