Event Details

Stauffer Colloquium: Zakary Tormala

Thursday, February 24, 2011 - Thursday, February 24, 2011
The Allure of Uncertainty: Implications for Persuasion and Preference

Dr. Zakary Tormala (Stanford Graduate School of Business)
Thursday, February 24, 2011, 4:00 pm
Room: Burkle 16
Dr. Tormala is an experimental social and consumer psychologist who works in the areas of attitudes, persuasion, and social influence. 

When people seek to persuade others, they often do so by conveying a high degree of certainty about their position.  For example, a politician or CEO who wants to persuade an audience might state that he or she is absolutely confident about a particular issue or course of action.  Likewise, when individuals promote themselves or others for something (e.g., a job interview), they often go to great lengths to remove any hint of uncertainty about their future prospects—noting, for instance, that they have considerable prior experience and achievement that makes future success highly certain.  Despite the intuitive appeal of these strategies, my collaborators and I find that they can backfire under some conditions.  For instance, we find that some message sources are more persuasive when they express uncertainty rather than certainty. Similarly, we find that contradicting oneself or having a change of heart, which can make one seem less certain, sometimes offers a persuasive advantage. In this talk, I will be exploring the implications for attitude change, stimulating interest, and shaping preferences.


Since 2002, the John Stauffer Charitable Trust has sponsored a series of informative talks on current research in applied psychology for SBOS students, faculty, and the general community.

Everyone is welcome to attend. Each one-hour talk is followed by a Q&A session and wine and cheese gathering.

Please note that SBOS-Stauffer Colloquia are mandatory for all first-year psychology students.

Contact: John LaVelle
Contact Email: John.LaVelle@cgu.edu

Location: Burkle 16