“People often behave for the sake of reasons” – Cialdini
Cialdini identified the principles of influence as Reciprocation, Commitment and Consistency, Social Proof, Liking, Authority, Scarcity. These were written about extensively in his book and many places online.
However, he also discusses the mental short cuts that people use and how these are taken advantage of by “compliance professionals” (1). These mental shortcuts have been used to take advantage of people as they assume they have meaning. Such as a writer claiming to have been featured in Forbes and using that logo when the reality is they wrote a blog post for forbes.com. This is something anyone can do. The world is becoming increasingly faster and meaningless (2) and with this rise one needs to become more aware of these automatic reactions and slow down. The news cycle is 24/7 but your brain can only handle so much content, and once its overloaded it will resort to mental shortcuts. You cannot control that so make sure you really trust when you use the short cuts and try to be a more skeptical and slower to jump to conclusions.
2) A post that illustrates this principle with laurels on movie posters can be seen on Ryan Holiday’s website http://www.ryanholiday.net/the-use-of-abandoned-shells/