The Art and Science of Impact

Additional Background

I first became interested in emotional influence as a practicing psychotherapist and have created a teaching curriculum based on it for both professionals and non-professionals.

Here’s a simple example: Although psychotherapists are influence practitioners, most do not understand that foreshadowing increases activation of a future target. Many communicators do not understand that a subtle reference to a method serves as a "prime" that powerfully echoes when the method returns—a phenomenon based in the fact that familiarity creates perception.

Another example: Just as Beethoven uses recursions in the Fifth Symphony and subtly repeats themes in future movements that create coherence, Robert Frost does the same with poetry. Of course, movie directors and writers work similarly. These methods can be applied in everyday communication, including teaching, to enhance emotional impact.

Art, and especially movies, are great vehicles for demonstrating subtle aspects of emotional influence. Our culture has become increasingly media literate. If I teach priming (or recursions) didactically, I may lose my audience, but if I show it to them in a movie or have them listen to an overture, there is experiential impact, and they "get" the concept.

There are unexplored aspects of communication that can be made explicit and benefit the public. I will be able to show them in the documentary. Although I have a book agent, because subtle aspects of communication are best seen rather than read, the documentary format is an essential piece.