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The Science of Persuading Teenagers

Does it ever seem like your teen purposely does the exact opposite of what you ask? This is a perfectly normal part of adolescence and the experts say not to worry about it. But, let’s face it, sometimes as a parent you really do need to be able to persuade your teen to do what you are asking. How can parents be more influential? In this episode I got some answers from persuasion researcher Jake Teeny.

Jake has published a number of studies on persuasion and has even created a free online course called The Science of Persuasion to teach research-based influence techniques. So this guy knows what he’s talking about. He explained to me that there are two different routes through which people can be persuaded. If you want your teenager to form a lasting attitude as a result of your persuasive attempt, then you want to persuade through the central route. This means that you need to get your teen to invest some energy and carefully consider your message.

How do you make sure this happens?

Jake told me there are two factors: motivation and ability. Your teen has to be both motivated and able to carefully consider what you are saying. Most likely your teen has the ability unless he or she is really tired or feeling particularly lazy. So Jake taught me some strategies to increase motivation. For instance, he explained how to frame a message in terms of your teen’s values so that he or she will view it as more self-relevant and will be more motivated to consider it.

This interview was so jam-packed with incredible content that we just couldn’t cut it down to a single podcast episode. So there are two parts.

Part 1:

Part 2:

Enjoy the 4-minute “teaser” version of this episode. If you want to hear the full thing, you will need either a BASIC or a STANDARD membership. Click here for more information about our membership options.

About Jake Teeny

Already with an M.A. in social psychology, Jake Teeny is currently pursuing his PhD at Ohio State University. His research largely focuses on the psychology of persuasion, having published multiple chapters and empirical articles on the topic.

Jake is the founder of www.everydaypsych.com, where he keeps a weekly blog on fascinating topics in social psychology. Additionally, he has written for international outlets such as Noba Psychology and Go Highbrow, where his courses on Attraction Science and The Psychology of Persuasion have become two of the more popular series.

In addition to science, Jake loves to write fiction, and since 2013, he has published over 20 short stories in literary magazines such as the Saturday Evening Post as well as placed nationally in short story competitions. If you would like to read more about his research or his fiction, head to www.everydaypsych.com

About Andy

Andy Earle is a researcher at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, where he studies adolescent risk behavior and the role of parents in helping teens thrive. He publishes papers and speaks to groups of parents about the science of talking to teens. Reach him any time at [email protected]

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