How to Make Friends and Influence People With Just One Word

Source: Getty Images
Source: Getty Images

Researchers think they've found a word that will win you more friends and favors than "please."

According to a study led by Andrew Luttrell from Ohio State University's Department of Psychology, calling an argument or an attitude "moral" makes it stronger.

The team performed three experiments, in which the participants "were led to view their attitudes as grounded in moral or non-moral bases," the study said.

The idea was that, if the participants thought their beliefs were moral in nature, then they'd be less susceptible to outside persuasion, ostensibly because those opposing beliefs were immoral.

In one experiment, two groups were told to write down their thoughts about recycling. One group was told their views were moral. The other, "practical." Then Luttrell's team went about breaking them down secretly using anti-recycling messages like "recycling puts more cars on the road." In the end, the moral group was more resistant to the anti-recycling propaganda. 

According to a study released Wednesday from Quinnipiac University, Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton beats Republican hopeful Donald Trump 47% to 36% in the vague category of "higher moral standards."

That doesn't really mean anything. The study doesn't even say what it means be more moral. But according to Luttrell — and as seen in his study — labeling Clinton as moral might make her arguments more appealing to the public.

Source: Giphy

"Is moral a magic word?" Luttrell asked, according to the Washington Post. "In some ways, it might be. We grow up thinking morality is this thing that's untouchable. What's moral is permanent and cannot be challenged."

Untouchable, uncontested and permanent: In terms of gaining support and winning people over, that's a pretty great campaign platform.

How likely are you to make Mic your go-to news source?

Max Plenke

Max Plenke is a staff writer at Mic, where he covers breaking news, climate science, health and the future. His work has appeared in Esquire, GQ and Wallpaper. Send story tips to max@mic.com.

MORE FROM

Democrats on Neil Gorsuch's first Supreme Court term: "We've got another Scalia"

Some say Gorsuch's even-handed performance during his confirmation hearings "might be more an act than it was a real persona."

Fox News just hired US Rep. Jason Chaffetz as a correspondent

Chaffetz is headed to Fox.

Here are the key rulings from the Supreme Court's busy June term

The court's term ended with rulings on immigration, the First Amendment, LGBTQ rights and more.

These 3 Republican governors could pose the biggest threat to the Senate health care bill

Why some Republican governors oppose their own party's health care bill

When it comes to upholding the Paris climate agreement, America's mayors are leading the way

In spite of an uncooperative U.S. government, mayors around the world are working together to set the agenda on climate change.

The fatal Hillsborough Stadium Disaster is back in the news 30 years later. Here's why.

What was the Hillsborough Stadium disaster?

Democrats on Neil Gorsuch's first Supreme Court term: "We've got another Scalia"

Some say Gorsuch's even-handed performance during his confirmation hearings "might be more an act than it was a real persona."

Fox News just hired US Rep. Jason Chaffetz as a correspondent

Chaffetz is headed to Fox.

Here are the key rulings from the Supreme Court's busy June term

The court's term ended with rulings on immigration, the First Amendment, LGBTQ rights and more.

These 3 Republican governors could pose the biggest threat to the Senate health care bill

Why some Republican governors oppose their own party's health care bill

When it comes to upholding the Paris climate agreement, America's mayors are leading the way

In spite of an uncooperative U.S. government, mayors around the world are working together to set the agenda on climate change.

The fatal Hillsborough Stadium Disaster is back in the news 30 years later. Here's why.

What was the Hillsborough Stadium disaster?