Mood and Physiology

There are multiple techniques that can prime a person using their mood and physiology. There are three usual manifestations:

  • Changing their physiology
    • The person can be more easily persuaded when tired, distracted and/or caffeinated;
  • Changing their mood
    • Showing them a specific mood places them in that mood as well;
    • E.g., showing someone investing in themselves before asking the person to do so themselves;
  • Changing their expectations
    • If the persons expects something, they will accept it more easily;

Underlying Psychology/Biases

For each specific group:

  • Changing their physiology works due to cognitive or willpower processes:
    • Being tired erodes your willpower, making you more vulnerable;
    • Being distracted completely bypasses your critical thinking, leaving you right open;
    • Being caffeinated places your brain on overdrive, eager to process logical facts and be convinced by them;
  • Changing your mood works due to mirror neurons:
    • When you see someone in a certain state, you will feel it as well to a point (in general);
    • This will make you be in that mood, which can be used against you in persuasion;
  • Changing your expectations works due to the principle of suggestion:
    • The more that something is suggested, and the more you believe in it, the more you will accept it later;


There are three key types of techniques:

  • Physiology
    • Being tired
      • Someone tired has their willpower eroded. The more tired they are, for example, at the end of a 3-4 hour meeting, is not when you should relent, but when you should persuade harder;
    • Being distracted
      • Someone distracted is completely caught off-guard as they are thinking about something else;
      • The caveat of this technique is that you have to actively state your claim, e.g., say, “So, as I was saying, our product is the best“;
      • Two key methods:
        • Unusual conversation topics:
          • “So yes, our product is an excellent choice. By the way, do your children constantly pester you to buy them Pokémon cards?”;
          • “Uh, oh, I don’t know…”;
          • “Of course. Sorry. Anyway, as I was saying, our product is an excellent choice to [ABC]”;
        • Unexpected giving
          • “John, before we continue this relationship, let me just give you this book. I think it would be very useful to you in this process”;
          • “Uh, oh, thanks”;
          • “Of course. Anyway, as I was stating, our service is the best choice to [ABC]”;
    • Being caffeinated
      • Caffeinated people have their brain working on overdrive, which makes them want to process more information and faster. But it only works if your argument is logical;
  • Mood
    • Showing a person another person in a certain mood places them in that mood as well;
    • For example, to convince someone to buy or donate, show them other people being generous or investing before making the ask of them (videos, testimonials, actual clients in the real world just before them, etc);
    • In a way, it’s similar to confirmatory gratefulness. By thanking people who have already done something, the new person thinks about doing it as well;
  • Expectations
    • By changing what the person expects, you prime them, because the more someone expects something, the more likely they will accept it (placebo effects, cults, etc);
    • The best way is to tell the person what to expect
      • “90% of clients are very satisfied at the end of this hour”;
      • “Most bosses I’ve had considered me a top performer”;


  • 4-hour meetings
    • If a meeting is very long, you will want to relent at the end, and give the other side some space. This is actually the best time to press;
    • If the person is caffeinated and the ask is logical, this is even more important;
  • Bait and switch
    • Distractions are a great way to disorient the person. Saying something like talking about ice cream flavors or mentioning your price in pennies instead of dollars will make the person lose track, and then you can slip something by them;
  • Coffee plans
    • If your ask is logical, don’t discount the value of coffee. Set up a talk for during a coffee break or after lunch;

Commercial/Known Uses

Key Takeaways

  • Mood priming works by showing the target someone else in a certain mood, which also places them in that mood due to mirror neurons. Show them someone being generous first, and then they will more easily be generous;
  • You can leverage physiology in multiple methods. Tired people question less, distracted people don’t even question, and caffeinated people accept logical arguments much more easily;
    • In specific, someone being tired or distracted benefits from a lot less critical thinking, which is the perfect type to hammer even more. Remember that, with being distracted, you have to actively mention your value proposition;
  • Changing a person’s expectations will change how they see things. If they expect a product to be excellent, and expect it deeply, regardless of how good it is they may actually think that;