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How Our Brains Are Biologically Tuned to Be Influenced by Confident People

Reprinted from Neuroscience News and the Journal of Neuroscience

Summary: The brain automatically places more value on the opinions of people who appear to be confident, a new study reports.

Source: University of Sussex.

Scientists have uncovered that the added influence of confident people may be down to our biology.

By studying brain activity, academics discerned that human brains are geared for placing added value on opinions of confident people.

The research, published today in the Journal of Neuroscience and led by University of Sussex psychologist Dr Daniel Campbell-Meiklejohn, pinpointed a region of the brain that responds to confident (but not unconfident) opinions of others when making decisions.

The scientists examined the active brains of 23 healthy volunteers and found that expectations of success could be influenced by three key elements: personal experience, learning what the majority people believe and, most importantly, learning what confident people believe.

Image shows a brain scan.

The researchers observed that this extra activity occurs next door to a brain area that helps us consider what others are thinking. This is important for the next step, which is to figure out what the brain is actually doing when we observe confident people. image is adapted from the University of Sussex press release.

The first two had widespread effects on the brain’s reward system, which predicts how satisfied we will be when we choose something. Opinions of confident people, however, had an additional effect on this reward system – and only in a part of the brain that appeared late in our evolution.

Discussing the research, Dr Campbell-Meiklejohn said:

“This additional effect seems likely to be the mechanism by which the confidence of others can give us reassurance in our actions. Our findings suggest that social transmission of beliefs and preferences is not as straightforward as copying the person next to you. Other elements are clearly at play during the decision-making process.”

The researchers observed that this extra activity occurs next door to a brain area that helps us consider what others are thinking. This is important for the next step, which is to figure out what the brain is actually doing when we observe confident people.

“We can now consider that this part of the brain may be inferring, correctly or incorrectly, the quality of the confident person’s information before deciding whether or not to let that person change our beliefs,” adds Dr Campbell-Meiklejohn.

“In today’s political climate in particular, we should be aware that when facts aren’t clear, we may be biologically tuned to allow seemingly confident people to hold more sway on our own beliefs.”


The study was completed in conjunction with researchers at Aarhus University, University College London and Princeton University.

Source: University of Sussex
Image Source: image is adapted from the University of Sussex press release.
Original Research: Abstract for “Independent Neural Computation of Value from Other People’s Confidence” by Daniel Campbell-Meiklejohn, Arndis Simonsen, Chris D. Frith and Nathaniel D. Daw in Journal of Neuroscience. Published online December 9 2016 doi:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.4490-15.2016

How to Be Persuasive Using Conversational Hypnosis

This post is a crash course on how to be persuasive with the use of conversational-hypnosis.

So let's begin with modal operators of probability, unspecified verbs, analog marking, quotes in quotes and bridgers.


Bridgers are words that bridge two ideas together.  An example of this would be:

and so,
which means.  

Let's just talk about the word because for a moment.

Now if you ever read the book by Robert Cialdini called Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion which is a fantastic book, and what he found is that when you use the word 'because' in a sentence,  people are more likely to do the thing that you want them to do.
For example if I said to you 'Hi, share this post because I'm making blueberry pancakes.'
Obviously making blueberry pancakes and you sharing this post isn't much of a reason, however since the word 'because' is in there, that will kind of validate the reasoning behind sharing this post.  In the Robert Cialdini book he was talking about the people who are in line to get a photocopy done and how when someone would bud in and ask "hey do you mind if I just use the photocopier people?' People would get upset but if someone jumped in line and said "hey do you mind if I cut in front of you because i'm making spaghetti?" or whatever the bizarre reason was, there was a higher percentage, in and around 70% or so of people would say 'yeah sure go right ahead' and that's because... they got a reason and the reason is what came after the 'because' so, use 'because' more often.
Whether the person is double-parked or making blueberry pancakes or not, the point is that when you use the word 'because' it makes what comes afterwards that much easier for the listener to absorb, digest or accept.  So basically you are taking these two crazy ideas and putting the word 'because' in between those ideas to have a higher likelihood of influencing things more in your direction.  I know it seems weird but that's what works and that's the difference that makes a difference as far as communication goes.
Next bridger is  'and so'.  So if I said to you 'you're reading this post and so  you'll be noticing yourself finding that you'll be feeling quite relaxed and noticing how you are becoming all the more good-looking and so as you're becoming more and more good looking you'll also find that your confidence increases and so as your confidence increases you'll be able to be presenting yourself in such a way where other people are more receptive to you and so as people are more receptive to you, you'll be finding yourself getting your way a lot more often.

So I linked all those ideas together by putting 'and so' in between them all and joined, or bridged those concepts together so it flows easily.

I could have also done that interchangeably with which means.

Let's try it with which means 🙂

So you're reading this post which means that you're lookinconversational-hypnosisg to be increasing your persuasion skills which means you are looking to be perhaps increasing your sales and becoming a person that can communicate more effectively which means you're a person who learns by reading which means you're a person that really understands how valuable it is to be increasing your ability to talk in ways that allows you to get more of what you want.

OK, so again we've got all of these ideas together and then put which means in between them to bridge and connect those notions together.

So that's some information of bridgers.


Modal Operators of Probability

Now we're going to talk about modal operators of probability.   So these are words like:


These words are important because what they do is modify the verb and make the verb a softer, gentler thing to have you doing.  So let's say the verb is 'to help' and then use that as an example.

So if I said..
could you help me
can you help me
might you help me
perhaps help me
let yourself help me
maybe help me.You would likely help out more often than if I just said 'help me'.  By just putting the modal operator in front of the verb, which modifies it, can make the verb softer and easier to accept and be more enticing.

Now these become even more impactful when you link them together.  One group of people that do this a lot is the British.  If they needed you to pass the salt, they would use a bunch of modal operators of possibility stacked together.

Here is an over the top example.

I wonder if you could perhaps consider maybe might wanting to stretch out and perhaps if you could be so kind as to this pass me the salt please?'

With all those modal operators stacked together it seems like less of a demand, less of a burden because they use these modal operators of probability, compared to a more American way of plainly asking 'pass me the salt please?'

So these are ways to get what you want by using these modal operators of probability.


Unspecified Verbs.

Next is unspecified verbs.  Now I'm going to say a few verbs to do a little experiment. Jumping, skipping, running, punching and skiing,
As I'm saying those words, in your mind you're conjuring up those images of what it means to be jumping, skiing, pogo sticking and hula hooping etc.  You can easily have
those ideas become pictures in your mind, but if i say to you wondering, realizing, considering or noticing, then it's not as easy to make that picture in your mind of what that would look like.
Now this is a benefit because by using these kinds of words the listener has to piece it together in their own kind of fuzzy way and go along with what you're saying.  They can't really argue with it.  Using these unspecified verbs allows you to get past their critical factor and it allows you to slide in these verbs without argument under their radar. Let's do an example regarding sharing this post.

Here is the command.

'Share this post.'

Ugh.  Not too compelling. Now let's try it again with a bunch of unspecified verbs.  In a moment you might be considering how you might be wondering how it would feel to like and share this post as you are realizing that doing so wouldn't take that much effort especially as you're discovering what it could do for other people especially while you are understanding that doing so is really beneficial for you.

So there's a bunch of unspecified verbs highlighted and you can see how they are being far more persuasive than just saying to share this post.

Next we're going to use analog marking and this is when the command is different from the rest of the conversation.   This can be done by changing the tempo, or tone, or physiology or just changing something to distinguish the command a bit more.
This is best understood in the video that I made to describe this so give it play.
Actually, maybe you could perhaps consider watching the video so that you can find yourself understanding how to use analog marking in ways that you haven't thought of yet you will once you watch this video and share it 🙂


I'll give you an example of analog marking.  Let's say that the command here is for you to leave a comment below or to share this post.  If we were chatting together, I would have a normal conversation with you (is that possible? haha) and then when I'm saying the command, I would lean in just a bit closer to you or make eye contact with you at the same time as the command.   Now, consciously you may not even notice this but subconsciously you will and that's good enough.  The message gets through to you on another level and it sticks with you.  Many times a person is talking and I will remember something they said that sticks with me for life it would be something they said that was usually analog marked even though they may not have known they were doing it.

Quotes in Quotes.

Lastly is quote inside of quotes

So let's say I wanted you to like the video above and leave a comment.

To do that I'm going to tell the story here while using quotes in quotes.

Once upon a time I went to the restaurant and I ordered some blueberry pancakes and then the waitress came by and she said to me how she also likes blueberry pancakes and I said oh that's nice.   She says to me what do I do?  I said that sometimes I make youtube videos.  Then she said that she sometimes makes youtube videos.  So I said 'that's nice, so how about one day you tell me what your channel is so that I could do something to help you out with them maybe I could like your videos for you'.   And then she looked at me and she said 'you are going to like my videos?'  And I said 'Of course.  It will be helpful for you and perhaps you too could also like my videos and then she said 'Wow that would be great, we can help each other out by liking each other's videos.'  Then I wiped my mouth with the napkin and I left her a tip and again I looked her in the eye and I said 'you are healthy and good looking and I'm going to be liking your videos' and then I walked out the door knowing that I had a really wonderful meal.

 Not the best story you ever heard but it's got some commands in there that are being told to the listener or reader, namely YOU and that's how to use quotes in your stories.  You figure out what command you want to say and then you build a story around it where you can say the command as part of the story.

I hope you enjoyed this glimpse into how you can be more strategic in your communications with these pointers on conversational hypnosis.

Before you go, you might find yourself becoming more effective in the way you speak by using some of these tools and it might not be right away because everything requires some practice so begin by using bits and pieces of these lessons in ways that are comfortable for you so that you can be at ease while increasing your persuasion skills.

Which reminds me of a time when I saw a student of mine and she said to me that she 'learned a lot and that her life became so much better after discovering how to use conversational hypnosis with greater frequency.'

Maybe this will happen to you?

It might.

How to Overcome Addiction to Your Ex. (incl. Free Hypnosis to Get Over a Breakup and Overcome Addiction to Your Ex)

How to Overcome Addiction to Your Ex. (incl. Free Hypnosis to Get Over a Breakup and Overcome Addiction to Your Ex)

Richard Gray Ph.D wrote the book, "About Addictions - Notes from Psychology, Neuroluingistic Programming and Neuroscience' and also created the Brooklyn Program.  This was a program for helping convicts to overcome drug addictions.  The program was successful.  The man who created the program, Dr Richard Gray, said that there are 3 elements that are common in literature about overcoming addiction and that these three elements were included in the Brooklyn Program.  In another book of his 'Transforming Futures: The Brooklyn Program Facilitators Manual ' he goes into more depth as to how these three parts were used to help people overcome addictions and create new futures.

First is Self-esteem, which has been considered the elusive universal remedy for all manner of problems.  Here, self-esteem flows out of developing a more intimate sense of self that evolves from the realization of the Call, or a personal direction. Or what may also be referred to as the hero's journey.  In the past, we have misunderstood self esteem as flowing from power, position, possessions or other more or less concrete entities.  Here we understand that Self-Esteem flows from a true knowledge of Self.

Second is Self Efficacy.  This was originally defined by Albert Bandura as 'the individual’s ability to experience a degree of control about themselves and their environment.'

Addicts and substance abuse survivors have experienced considerable and increasing control deficits in their lives. 

By definition, addiction entails a narrowing of focus and loss of control to the addictive behaviour.

With getting over addiction to an ex, it can seem like there is a loss of control and a narrowing of focus on the past relationship.  With time it makes living in the present feel foggy and stuck while long term thinking and states of excitement and peace of mind  to the solution is minimized.
Overcoming the addiction requires restoring a sense of control, choice and mastery.   The Brooklyn program worked in part because it would open options for new behaviours that are not focused in addictive patterns of seeking the addictive substance.

The third element for overcoming addictions is Futurity.
By being able to have a future that is more exciting and rewarding than the addiction makes quitting the addiction all the easier.  The more exciting your future is, the more you can become positively addicted to it like anyone that is created long term success in any field.  People do things that they enjoy.  What can you enjoy more of that you haven't considered yet you will once you begin to imagine how your future can be better?

If you would like to get over your ex and rebuild your future, you may want to consider joining our group, Rockstar Resilience.  In there you can get the support you need in an environment that will encourage you to become a more empowered version of yourself while also learning some of the NLP strategies to change your mind for good.  The Rockstar Resilience program is based on the Brooklyn program and it also has additional strategies designed specifically for helping women to rebuild confidence, find their calling in life,

Three Common Mind Traps That Sink Happiness

Three Common Mind Traps That Sink Happiness

Some habitual ways of thinking can keep us stuck in a negative loop.

Cultivating awareness of these "mind traps" can help you shift your attention.

There’s a funny print cartoon that shows a man and woman sitting on the couch staring at a TV screen, and the caption reads, “It’s 12 o’clock, do you know where your mind is?”

As time goes on and we grow from children to adolescents to adults, for many of us, somewhere along the way life begins to become routine. Day in and day out, whether we’re walking, driving, talking, eating, going to the grocery store, or spending time with our families, our minds get kicked into autopilot and continue to develop their habitual ways of thinking, interpreting, expecting, and relating to other people.

However, these habits also include habits of the mind that can keep us stuck in stress, anxiety, depression, or even addictive behaviors. Here are a few habits of the mind and a mindfulness practice to help you break out of autopilot and gain more control over your life.

Three Common Habits That Sink Happiness:

Catastrophizing — If you’re prone to stress and anxiety, you may recognize this habitual mind trap. This is where the mind interprets an event as the worst case scenario. If your heart is beating fast, you may think you’re having a heart attack. If your boss didn’t look at you while walking down the hall, you think you’re going to get fired. You get the picture. This style of thinking will support increased stress, anxiety, and even panic.

Discounting the positive and exaggerating the negative — The news is wonderful at supporting us with this one. This is where we habitually reject or minimize any positive feedback and magnify the negative. The glass is always half empty. If you catch yourself saying something positive and then saying “but” followed by a negative, you are practicing this. “I got a 95% on this test, but I didn’t get a 100%.” Without awareness, this style of thinking will likely land you in a depressed state.

Blaming — Be careful of this one. We all do it, pointing the finger at someone else for our woes or point the finger at ourselves for others’ woes. “If my boss wasn’t so hard on me at work, I wouldn’t be so anxious” or “It’s my fault my parents got divorced.” Just check in with yourself after noticing this style of thinking. It doesn’t cultivate any solutions, and just makes you feel stuck, anxious, or depressed.
Cultivating the ability to be more aware of these mind traps will help you break free from them and shift your attention to more effective ways of interacting with life.

For example, if you notice catastrophizing, actually say to yourself “catastrophizing is happening right now,” then bring your attention to your breath for a moment to steady your mind. Next, ask yourself, “what are some other possible reasons why my heart is racing (e.g., I just ran upstairs, I’m nervous)?”

If discounting the positive, come back to the breath, and then switch the “but” to an “and” so at least the positive statement get its equal weight, being more realistic and balanced. If blaming, call it out, say to yourself, “blaming is happening.” Remind yourself that blaming simply isn’t effective for anyone and then come back to your breath to steady your mind and return to the task you were just doing.

This is not an easy process, yet an important one for regaining control from the ineffective thought habits we develop. If we’re not mindful in our daily lives, our minds could just fall into their habitual states to the point we’re on our deathbeds asking, “where did it all go?”

Just check in with yourself during the day, look at the clock and say, “It’s X o’clock, do I know where my mind is?” You may catch yourself in some mind traps and if not, just notice whatever you are doing in the moment. Continue if you still want to be doing that or change if you’d rather be doing something else.

Try to be patient through this process and not judge yourself if you find mind traps arising. Judging yourself as bad or wrong is another mind trap that keeps you stuck. Breathe in, breathe out, and just redirect your focus.

Adapted from Mindfulness & Psychotherapy