The psychology of seduction | Raj Persaud | TEDxUniversityofBristol

The psychology of seduction | Raj Persaud | TEDxUniversityofBristol


Translator: Gabriela Poveda
Reviewer: Queenie Lee What’s the one decision
that you are going to make in your life that’s going to determine your future
mental health, happiness and well-being more than any other decision
you’re going to make? Well, that decision is
who you choose to marry. Or put another way, who you choose to enter into a long-term,
committed, monogamous relationship. If you get that decision wrong,
and you end up with the wrong person, then that’s going to cause you
more unhappiness and distress than any other decision in your life. In fact, it’s going to be so bad that you might as well get a season ticket
to my psychiatric clinic. (Laughter) Now, the survey data suggests that around the world
99% of the population desire a single committed,
monogamous, long-term relationship. It’s something that everyone wants, so how to get that decision right
is extremely important. There are many different aspects
of that decision we could discuss, we could talk, for example, about how to know
when you’ve met the right person. But because it’s a big
and complicated subject, I’m going to focus just
on one aspect in the short time I’ve got to talk to you today. And that aspect is going to be:
how to seduce. Or to put it in more common
British parlance: how to pull. (Laughter) I became interested in the subject
as a psychiatrist, when I had a moment
of epiphany in a clinic. I was working in the outpatient department
at my psychiatric hospital, I was consulting with a young lady
who was pretty depressed, and all of a sudden, she announced
in the middle of the consultation: ‘Dr Persaud, I don’t need Prozac,
I need a boyfriend.’ It was at that moment that I realized
that more success in relationships would go a long way
to improving people’s happiness. That if we could help people
improve their relationships and how they conduct relationships, it would go a long way
to improving their mental health. Hence, I got interested
in the science of seduction. Now it’s very important you understand that my interest
in the science of seduction is purely academic, clinical, scientific. I have no personal interest
in this subject. Indeed, before I came this evening
to give you this talk, my wife said it’s very important
that you make sure that they don’t think
you’re some kind of academic geek who started reading
about the science of seduction because you found the whole
relationship thing kind of puzzling. When the publishers
rang me up for the first time to ask me to write
my first book on seduction, I rang my wife, I was very excited. I said, ‘Darling, the publishers
have just rung me up, and they have commissioned me to write the very next book
they want to publish on how to seduce.’ There was a distinct silence
down the line, and then my wife said, ‘Yes, but why you?’ (Laughter) Which I thought was somewhat harsh. The other reason why I think
seduction is very important is that it actually goes to the heart
of a huge amount of human happiness. You see, people come to me at my clinic, and they tell me all about the things
they want from life and the world that they are not getting. And they are very frustrated. They may want a date,
they may want a Ferrari in their garage, or they may want a million pounds
in their bank account. They always tell me what they want
and what they’re not getting. What they don’t tell me is what they need to give
in order to get what they want. You see, at the heart of life
is a transaction. You can get what you want
from the world and life, but you have to be able to give something that the world wants
and you need to give it first. I’m going to let you into a little secret that all of the most highly effective
people on the planet already intuitively know, and that is, life is a seduction. We need to seduce the world
and the people in it and seduce life into giving us
the things that we want. And in order to seduce successfully, we need to make the world the right offer. You see, in a general sense, we need to be constantly seducing
our friends, our lovers as well, but our work colleagues, in a strictly
perhaps not erotic sense of the word, but we need to be seducing them
into giving us the things that we want. Now, I know already many of you
are going to be a bit disappointed, you were sitting there hoping
I was going to give you some hot tips on how to seduce in terms of more narrow erotic
sense of the word ‘seduction’. Well, the good news is, yes, some of the tips
I’m about to give you will be helpful if you came here focused on the more narrow erotic sense
of the word seduction. The bad news is,
if you have been sitting here really locked in and focused in
on getting some hot tips on how to seduce in the more
narrow erotic sense of the word, well, that says so much about you. (Laughter) So the other thing I want to say
before I finally reveal these tips is what I like about them
is how democratic they are. What they kind of say is that anyone
can become more seductive. It doesn’t really matter how hot you look
or how cool you are. I find that most people
seem to have rather low self-esteem when it comes to seduction. They kind of think,
I can’t be really seductive. What’s really amazing about the social
psychology of seduction is what it says is,
anyone can become more seductive, and indeed, some of these tips
are so powerful you can leap ahead of even
the hottest person that you know or the coolest member
of your social group and become more seductive than them. So, the first tip comes from a really
interesting social psychology experiment. In the social psychology experiment,
the social psychologist, an academic working
in the university department, recruits some students
to be confederates of the experimenter. He sends the students out on a date, they invite people to come
on a date with a student. The person invited to come on the date
thinks it’s just a date, but actually, there’s a social
psychology experiment going on. The social psychologist
instructs the student, who is the confederate
of the experimenter, to, throughout the date, agree with everything
the other person is saying. Then at the end of date, it’s revealed that there was
a social psychology experiment going on, and a rating is secured for how attractive
the student confederate was found, given how they behaved during the date. In the first condition of the experiment,
the student confederate goes out and just agrees with everything
the other person says on the date, and an attraction rating
is secured in the end, and people are found
moderately attractive in that condition. In the second condition of the experiment, the student confederate
is sent out on the date and is instructed to disagree
with everything the other person says. So it goes a bit like this:
‘I really like this restaurant. So lovely, what do you think?’
‘No, I don’t like it.’ (Laughter) ‘This fish was rather nice,
don’t you think?’ ‘No, I don’t like it.’ It comes as no surprise
if you spend the whole date doing that, disagreeing with everything
the other person says, you’re not really found
very attractive at all. So far, so obvious. Now, the third condition of the experiment
is where things get really interesting. In the third experiment,
the student confederate is sent out with the instruction to spend
the first half of the date disagreeing with everything
the other person says, and then to switch and start agreeing
for the second half of the date. And amazingly enough, you’re found most attractive of all
in this condition. Now why is that? There’s rather some complex
psychological theories going on as to what’s going on,
so I’m going to cut to the chase and give you what I think is
the most profound and important theory. You see the other person on the date didn’t realize there was a Machiavellian
manipulative plot of thought, whereby you were watching
for the clock to hit a certain time, and then you’re going to switch. What their experience of you was that you were rather difficult
in the first half of the date, and then you warmed up to them. And they think they had an impact on you. They think they warmed you up. And there is something
about having an impact which is very seductive. There are many objections
to this experiment. People always say, ‘I can see that’s seductive,
but you’re playing a game. Why can’t we just be ourselves?’ Well, you can just
be yourself if you want, but be aware of something, which is that there are
many people out there that are playing the game of life, and they are playing it rather hard. And as a result,
they are terrifically successful. They are really good in job interviews, and they’re very good
as politicians at getting elected. So if you are not going to play
the game of life, that’s fine, but be aware that you
might run into trouble if everyone else
is playing the game of life. The other important idea here is that we can divide relationships
into three key phases: attention, interest, and maintenance. You walk into a bar,
you see a very attractive person, ‘Wow!’ They’ve got your attention. Hopefully, you’ve got their attention. Then you go over and talk to them,
get to know them, and you’re entering the interest phase. Then, maybe after a few days or weeks, you might transition
into the maintenance phase, which is a long-term commitment. Now, the key point about this idea is that different skills are required
depending on which phase you’re in. It’s a profoundly important social
psychological model in terms of getting a handle on
and understanding business relationships, friendships,
and of course, romantic seductions. Even if you want to reject the attention,
interest, and maintenance phase, it is a very powerful model. We all know people who we think: ‘This is a wonderful person,
how come they are single?’ Well, maybe they
are very good at maintenance, and they are not so good at
attention or interest. So the model is really helpful
in diagnosing problems in terms of seduction. Another point I want to make is,
even if you end up in a long-term committed relationship
doing maintenance, if your relationship is going
to be successful and last 40 or 50 years, I believe you’ve got to cycle back through
attention, interest, and maintenance. You’re going to be
constantly cycling through in a long-term relationship, getting your partner’s attention again, getting them interested again in you. And that constant cycling means that life
and even long-term committed relationships are a long-term seduction. Life is a seduction, even long-term marriages
are a constant seduction. And the attention, interest,
and maintenance model is really helpful in understanding that. Perhaps the most expert exponent
of attention, interest, and maintenance was Casanova. Not least because Casanova
was brilliant at attention and interest, but really bad at maintenance. Casanova was a real figure,
he lived in the 18th century Venice, he was an adventurer and a nobleman,
and is said to be, perhaps, the most successful seducer
of women in history. And he’s got the final tip
I want to give you at the heart of the secret of seduction. You see, many people think that Casanova would walk into a bar
in the 18th century Venice, see an attractive member
of the opposite sex, and pull like that. But actually, that’s not true. He would walk into a bar
and see an attractive woman, but then spend many months courting her, as was the courtly custom of the day,
before being finally successful. And there is, by the way,
an important lesson for us all. If you go into a bar tonight,
and pull like that, I’m afraid to tell you
that’s not really a seduction. A seduction is when you meet someone who is disinterested in you,
or only moderately interested, and you convert
that interest into rabid desire. That’s a seduction. And the problem with the modern world,
and websites, Tinder and Apps is that it’s kind of doing away
with the whole seduction idea, and we are losing the skill of seduction
with very ominous social implications, in my opinion. The story is that Casanova
walks into a bar one night, sees a gorgeous woman, she’s an actress,
physically very desirable, falls immediately
in love with her, desires her. The actress, besides being
physically stunning, has an interesting characteristic. You see, she has
a speech impediment, a lisp. She can’t say words properly
that have the letter R in them. Many of you will know
a famous TV presenter here in Britain called Jonathan Ross,
whose nickname is Wossy, who has a very similar speech impediment. He can’t say words properly
that have the letter R. She has this speech impediment. Without really interacting
with the actress, Casanova turns on his heels, goes home and does a mysterious thing. He spends the next
three days and nights writing a play. And this play has a very special feature. It has no words in it with the letter R. Three days and nights later,
he returns to the bar, presents the play to the actress, and the seduction is successful. But here is my pop quiz
psychology question for you, you see, what Casanova could’ve done, he could have said ‘I can’t help noticing you’ve got
a bit of a speech impediment there. Tell you what, I’ll pay for elocution lessons,
I’ll buy you speech therapy.’ No one can deny that speech therapy is more pragmatically helpful
to the poor actress than a play that has no words in it
with the letter R. However, it’s the play
that’s the seductive move. It’s the play that’s sexy. Why is that? Well, let’s look at between the lines. What you are really saying
when you offer someone speech therapy is, what you are saying is, ‘There is something wrong
with you, it needs fixing. After it’s fixed, then I’ll have
a relationship with you.’ That’s not a very sexy message. But, guess what? It’s kind of what we’re saying
to a lot of people, a lot of the time. What does the play with no words
with the letter R say? What it says is, ‘Don’t change a thing!
You’re perfect as you are. And my job is to help the world recognise
the perfection that I see.’ That’s a sexy message! The other thing the play does is this. It’s terrifically specific, the actress knows that Casanova
is interested specifically in her. A lot of young men going on a date,
nip into the petrol station because they’ve left at the last minute, buy some petrol station flowers, present the petrol station flowers
to their date with a grand gesture, and are somewhat perplexed
that the date is less than overwhelmed with the presentation
of petrol station flowers. You see, you can’t go to a petrol station
and buy a play off the self that has no words in it with the letter R. The actress knows that Casanova
was interested in her and no one else. It’s specific. But here is the final point
and the most profound message in terms of the psychology of seduction. What Casanova has done brilliantly is, and here is the key catchphrase
you need to remember: he’s filled the unmet need. The actress has an unmet need for parts
that have no words with the letter R, and Casanova diagnoses the unmet need, and meets it more completely
than it’s ever been met before. If you find someone’s unmet need and fill it in a way
it’s never been filled before, you will be successful in seducing them. So your mission is a two-pronged attack. You’ve got to find out the unmet need, and then you have to fill it
in a way that’s never been filled before. I can sense immediately
that you have a lot of questions. ‘How do we find out the unmet need?
How do we fill it?’ And I apologize I’ve I run out of time, so I won’t be able
to answer those questions. But … is it possible
that leaving you wanting more is a kind of seduction? Thank you very much. (Applauses) (Cheers)

100 thoughts on “The psychology of seduction | Raj Persaud | TEDxUniversityofBristol”

  1. Sales. AIDA. Attention, interest, desire, action. His example of the actress was both eloquent and masterful, as was Cassanova's. Do not forget courtship either. Only animals mate when smelling the right smell.

  2. Fantastic delivery – great points. Our technology is from a 'me first' perspective. Raj makes it clear that is what's keeping us alone.

  3. you can call me alex

    i have a professor whose my classmates has a crush on. well except me. so i ignored him most of the time. not chatting him on fb even i have questions (i just don't start convo unless needed). and i guessed he noticed it (that i have no interest in him lol) that's why he tried to talked to me most of the time and i even caught him staring at me intently often. lol. i thought showing you're not interested when everyone is, is a form of seduction. they will be curious what's wrong with you LOLLLL

  4. This guy is a plagiarist. He was temporarily suspended from practicing medicine in 2008, and disappeared from British TV.

  5. So, pure marketing: FInd the unmet need, and fulfill it, just like trade transactions and market regulated by demand and supply of people.. The part with the attraction, interest and maintainance also reminds me of Marketing model AIDA- Attraction, Interest, Desire, Action…And yes, we have also Maintainance or Service as it is in the economics, so that you should get loyal customers..or lovers 🙂 Well..well…start applying marketing laws in order to be sucessful in love!!!

  6. Nice video. I think it's a good sign for myself that I've always known this thing about if you want to give someone a good gift, something that will make them like you more, make it something which is personal for them, even better if it fills some of their needs

  7. We all long for someone whom we can care and cared for. We're social brings, it's within our nature to strive for connection and intimacy.

  8. What did your wife write this? How about the women actually seduce us? Why would I try to seduce a woman when there is 3.5 billion of them. U dont like me? Cya I got 3 more in line

  9. Some feedback on the social experiment:
    If a person only agrees with you, the agreement cancels out itself. If someone only pays you compliments the value of each compliment gets less. If someone only agrees, there is no value and no personality there. This is not attractive.
    If a person only disagrees you're obviously not compatible. This is not attractive.
    If a person first disagrees, and then agrees, both of the above problems are cancelled out. So of course this setup will be the most 'seductive' of these 3 scenarios, regardless of any other theories. So the idea that the person likes you more because they've made an impact on you might be true, but I would draw that conclusion from common sense rather than from some contrived 'social science' BS.

  10. He's a very good speaker but most of this for guys wanting to attract women is bs advice. Go watch videos on pick up including rsd this advice about focusing on a woman's need is great if you're wanting to be friend zoned and be a good friend to her

  11. "Don´t change a thing, you´re perfect as you are, and my job is to help the world to recognise the perfection that I see".

  12. The psychology of manipulation. If you are "playing the game of life", be aware that you will never have any true friends, never experience true love and you will spend the rest of your life playing a game and maintaining lies. Everyone else is not playing the game. If happiness and meaning is what you want; avoid people like this, avoid advice like this, and find people that are real and genuine.

  13. I am not very fond of these TED talks but this guy's speaking skills are beyond anyone I have ever seen. Taught me how to talk.

  14. It is literally a simple as what Scarface said. First you get the money then you get the power and then you get the women. The rest of the ideas of what attracts women are just things we make up to live with ourselves. And for the women… Just look good.

  15. To start out a relationship being manipulative? Nah, I'm good. Don't equal political manipulation and what happens in job interviews to real connection with a life long partner.

  16. " So if you are not going to play the game of life, that's fine, but be aware that you might run into trouble if everyone else is playing the game of life. "

  17. to keep pursuing somebody when they're not interested doesn't sound like seduction to me, it sounds like rather unpleasant and scary for the person pursued.

  18. The argument about 'don't be surprised if you run into trouble not playing the game of life' just seemed like a jaded plea for conformism. And a rather unconvincing one at that.

  19. The experiment is very unethical. Many people so rarely get dates…after they realize that it's just a game it will be for many people who don't get dates very often VERY hurtful. They thought someone was at the very least interested in a date, they got excited, they got ready, maybe they even bought new clothes. What if they really like the person? That really hurts when they find out they were just used.

  20. Wow!! He is good! I use to be a pick up artist and he made me remember something I stopped doing. Seduction is like torture but with plsause. He's good with his speech!

  21. I think this is a horrible message. He is basically saying the way to make your relationship more successful is to lie constantly to your partner to make her more attractive to you.
    Here is better advice: Be yourself, and self reflect on your actions each day and decide and discuss with other ways you can change and develop for the better. Keep doing this and remain open and honest with people. Eventually you will find someone on a similar wave length. At least if things don't work out in the future you can have a healthy honest talk and move on.
    I wouldn't advise what Dr Persaud is saying as he is advising you create lies to keep your partner more interested in you. That is never going to be healthy and is why there are so many destructive and unhealthy relationships out there. Do you think you will be happy if you have to consistently lie to keep someone interested in you? No, therefore the relationship will self destruct.
    This guy is no relationship guru. He is a psychiatrist who has done one study with a multitude of flaws in it.

  22. That explains why i did not finished his book 🙂 my focus when I bought the book is the narrow point of view on the subject. I guess I'll finish it now after years, good that I've watched this.

  23. Get a hobby and don’t make your hobby seducing others it’s cringeworthy. Why parody around and forcefully apply seduction for the sake of seduction. What happened to just being yourself and if that’s not good for the other person then that’s their loss a dozen other people will love you and want to be around you.

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