Just a few pages into reading a book called Influence:The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert Cialdini, I have already learned something new. It’s refered to in the book as ‘Click Whirr’ or fixed-action patterns. Why the odd wording? Well it’s because in one of the examples he talks about in the book an experiment was done to turkeys and polecats. Basically a mother turkey will tend to its young because it hears its ‘cheep cheep’ sound, if it doesn’t then it will abandon or even attack the little chicks. Curiously when a tape recorder (hence ‘click…whirr’) is placed inside a fake pole cat, a natural enemy of the turkey, and the ‘cheep cheep’ sound is played from it the turkey does not turn aggressive towards the dummy. This same experiment was done on Robins and red feathers to elicit a response with visuals instead of sounds. It was also tried on humans and it was found that when asking a favor of someone, that giving them a reason for the favor, like using the word ‘because’, has the same response effect. So it seems that people has similar fixed-action patterns as our animal cousins.