Social compliance refers to how we respond to people in authority or to those who have the appearance of competence and expertise.
Social proof refers to how we look for cues around us to know how to behave. This can be easily used against us by manipulating our environment to get us to behave in a certain way. For instance, a large number of "like"s on Facebook and other platforms will attract more "like"s as people take clues from others.
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People and businesses often use techniques to get us to do what they want. We go for the “buy two, get one free” offer at the drugstore, or buy the advertised special, even when it is not really needed.
While other people are responsible for the scams, the persuasion mostly happens in our minds.
The age-old tactic of misdirection is employed to distract us from the real issue. Companies and governments even implement it: they release bad news on Fridays or before major holidays with the hope that the weekend will distract us from focussing on the issue.
Combining time pressure and opportunity is a potent sales tactic. Think of the Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales (time pressure) that lead us to spend more than we typically would on things (the opportunity).
It is easier to manipulate people when they feel under pressure and don't have the time to consider the facts.
Confirmation bias, means we’re more likely to notice stories or facts that fit what we already believe (or want to believe). So, when you search for information, you should not disregard the information that goes against whatever opinion you might have in advance.
With practice, you can learn to control your brain's knee-jerk reactions in distressing situations.
While our identities can give us a sense of meaning and a place in the world, sometimes they can get in our way when we’re attempting new things: many of us will avoid doing anything that threatens our sense of self.
How to outsmart it: Find people like you, that are doing the things you'd like to do and share your concerns with them.