Behavior: Distant Persuasion

As lawyers, salesmen and politicians should know, persuasion is an art. What they probably do not know is that varying the distance between the speaker and his target may affect the persuader's success. Within limits, report Psychologists Stuart Albert and James M. Dabbs Jr., the more distance there is the likelier the argument is to succeed.

That conclusion can be drawn from an experiment conducted by the two men at the University of Michigan and reported in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. Their subjects, 90 male undergraduates, were individually led into a conference room and seated at one end of...

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