The two deadliest weapons of the seducer

There are just two psychological principles which you must understand: automatic thinking and convenience

If you want to bluff your way into the art of seduction, there are only two principles you really need to understand: automatic thinking and convenience.

Automatic thinking

Automatic thinking means that we always start with an impulsive judgement and then, only if justification feels necessary, our mind will rationalize our decision.

A while ago PowNews interviewed visitors of the household fair, who had all voted for the Dutch far-right party leader, Wilders. When asked why, they all responded: “He cuts straight to the point.” When the interviewer asked what they meant by that, no one had a clue. One interviewee thought hard for a moment and then said: “Actually, it doesn’t really matter.” Our rationality is a slave that exists to justify our impulsive judgments. Wilders puts things forward the way they are, his leftist opponent Samsom is a street fighter, Prime Minister Rutte is an energetic manager and so on. We don’t need to know more to decide whether they are suitable politicians or not.


The seducer’s second weapon is convenience. It is the most underrated behavioural instrument. Advertisers want to influence your motivations; behavioural designers know that if you want people to do a certain thing, you first need to make it more convenient. Or else make the unwanted behaviour harder. The most effective diet is the Jewish diet: just don’t ever have any bad foodstuffs in the house. Why is obesity a big problem? The accessibility and convenience of unhealthy processed foods far outweigh its costs. Only imagine the physical and mental effort it really takes to keep a healthy diet. Obliging McDonald’s to make healthy fast food will do far more for public health than any educational advertising campaign.

Populists and lobbyists tend to be wiser than marketeers. They know that triggering convenient laziness will always be more effective than the power of persuasion.

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PS. If you want to master the art of influence yourself, join the Behavioural Design Academy now.

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