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Dr. Ernest Dichter is the Director of the Institute of Motivational Research. In this book which is not really readable enough to be popular (in spite of its title) or technical enough to be of value to students the author begins by defending motivational research against such detractors as Vance Packard. Dr. Dichter argues that since many of our daily decisions are governed by motivations over which we have no control and of which we are often unaware the only debatable factor surrounding the subject of persuasion is its goal and purpose. The book deals with the techniques of persuasion -- what makes people act the way they do, how they can be motivated, the application of social science to the problems of human behavior and the psychology of personality. Most of the author's examples are drawn from the commercial field and industrial problems -- the symbolism of certain products and are discussed under such headings as: ""the emotional facets of glass"", ""the secret life of a fruit"", ""the soul of metals"", ""textiles: the fabric of life"", etc., etc. Actually the book covers everything from the need for a ""psychological creed"" to creating an acceptable image of America for export. Dr. Dichter does not accept the idea that rational motivations are more moral and more acceptable than irrational ones and he does not believe that a division between cognitive and emotional behavior is relevant in the area of ""persuasion"". But there's another point which the opponents of motivational research usually bring up and which Dr. Dichter does not deal with: apart from the argument over just how beneficial this new knowledge is, a lot depends on who does the persuading.

Pub Date: Sept. 9th, 1960
Publisher: Doubleday