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Lecture notes Nov 10 Nov 12

by: Christopher Moench

Lecture notes Nov 10 Nov 12 Psych150

Christopher Moench
GPA 3.4

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These lectures cover Selling Nostradamus (Prophecies) and Economic Fraud Crime. I have tried to give as much background to the examples used without making it too long. Just enough to understand wh...
Psychology of FlimFlam
Dr. Pratkanis
Class Notes
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This 5 page Class Notes was uploaded by Christopher Moench on Monday November 16, 2015. The Class Notes belongs to Psych150 at University of California - Santa Cruz taught by Dr. Pratkanis in Fall 2015. Since its upload, it has received 12 views. For similar materials see Psychology of FlimFlam in Psychlogy at University of California - Santa Cruz.


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Date Created: 11/16/15
NOV 10 SELLING NOSTRADAMUS Objectives I. Reveal the secrets of Nostradamus, What the Discovery Channel doesn’t want you to know. II. Describe and discuss how the mass media sells flimflam with the examples Nostradamus Decoded  Going to explore prophecies of the most famous, Nostradamus and watch Nostradamus Decoded  Who is he? – a 6  century Frenchman, he wrote over 400 books of prophecies called quatrains  He made tons of predictions and was a doctor who treated plague victims  What do people claim about him? He is one of the most famous prophets who “predicted” the  future.  o Ex: Beasts wild with hunger will cross the rivers,  The greater part of the battle will be against Hitler.  He will cause great men to be dragged in a cage of iron, When the son of Germany obeys no law.  John Houge makes a living off of selling interpretations of Nostradamus’s quatrains  Ex: Houge claims Nostradamus predicted three antichrists with Pau Nay Loron=Napoleon,  Hister=Hitler, and Mabus as an unknown person for now 1. Rules of the Prophecy Game­ by James Randi   Rule 1: Make lots of predictions and hope some come true. The ones that do come true you  brag about, the ones that didn’t, they never happened.  Rule 2: Be vague and ambiguous, “possible” items can always be reinterpreted. Use  modifiers such as “I feel…”, “look for…”, “I see a picture of…”. “perhaps…”, “I am  getting…” etc.  Rule 3: Use symbolism. Be metaphorical, using images of animals, names, initials. Things  that can be easily fitted to man situations.  Rule 4: Cover situations both ways and select a winner as the “real” intent of your statement.  Rule 5: Credit God with your successes and say your failures are our mistakes. Make people  have to fight with God so that they will not bother you.  Rule 6: No matter how often you are wrong, plow ahead. The believers won’t notice your  mistakes, and will continue to follow your every word.   Rule 7: Predict catastrophes; they are more easily remembered and more popular by far.  Rule 8: When predicting after the fact, but representing the prophecy as preceding the event,  be wrong just enough to appear uncertain about the exact details, too good a prophecy is  suspect.  The video from the 90s shows the world possibly ending in 2000 its 2015 lol  Nostradamus Decoded video shows how translating ancient French is basically really  ambiguous and can have multiple meanings   Poems with astrology and ambiguous terms that have rhythm “become” cryptic and  compelling   Excuse that the writings were obscure for protection and used “random codes” allowing for  loose interpretations  Nostradamus became famous because he predicted that the French king would die and it  happened in the same location or same interpretation of location of his prophecy. NOV 12 ECONOMIC FRAUD CRIME Objectives: I. Describe how economic fraud crimes work. II. Discuss other classic fraud scams.  Ex: 3 card monty­ a card game that uses only three cards that are placed face down and you  need to guess which one is the Ace thus winning the money while the other two cards are  cheap lame cards and if you pick either one of those you lose.   Tap dancing or throwing the bubble are phrases that are used to describe when the dealer  does some low key card switch and distracts you by either pointing at other things or certain  cards or shuffles them in weird fancy and dramatic ways to distract your attention.  Who are victims of fraud? Most victims tend to be successful, intelligent, achievement  oriented people  There is about $100 billion lost to economic fraud a year  General themes of economic fraud are lottery fraud, investment fraud, and charity fraud  Scammers will usually watch for big events on the news to use to their advantage with  timeshares and travel scams  Many examples of scams/frauds have you pay money in order to cash in or collect the prize  Most people called by scammers are on a mouch/sucker list which is a list of likely to be  victims  An old proverb from my mom (note taker’s mom not professors’) “if it’s too good to be true,  it ain’t”  Social influence and persuasion tactics used are phantom fixation, social proof, authority, and scarcity  Phantom fixation­something you like and can’t help but want even if you know you probably  won’t get it   Social proof­ look at all these other prize winners from before; totally not fake or made up  with photo shop, when you see pictures of winners that look like regular people you think  you have a chance to win as well. Also you see social consensus with that these people also  must have been happy with the results then so will I.  Authority­ con artists will play any role especially over the phone such as being with the IRS, US government, or any other authority figure they think will win you over. That way you  trust them.   Scarcity­ last chance mentality, time pressure, this offer won’t last long, other people are  waiting, could be your last chance.  Compliance and social relations tactics: reciprocity, similarity, consistency, contrast­ all  makes your sales pitch look good  Cons hone in on emotional weaknesses and use personal info against you such as familial  relations etc o Ex: conman calls every day and talks with victim to learn about weaknesses and then starts  even sending gifts to help with their problems thus getting something back in return and takes  advantage.   Awareness of fraud helps protect against it, seems obvious right!   Another tip: to fight their influence check yourself emotionally, if you begin to feel anything  ask why, immediately question your emotions because emotions cloud your judgment, and  the best option when feeling emotionally biased is to leave the situation by either hanging up  or walking away, if neither is possible then begin thinking step by step what is being asked  and why  Sometimes conmen use intimidation such as IRS etc as a fear appeal to get you to follow  their orders  There is no profile of a fraud victim, everyone is targeted, Seniors are targeted the most  because they usually have money since they are retired  Personality can predict what types of fraud you are more likely to fall prey too.  The longer you talk on the phone with a conman the more likely you will fall prey to them  They also target people who have experienced recent lost or life stresses.  They tailor their pitches just for you which is why so many people fall prey to them  If you think someone is being conned don’t lecture them, ask them to ask for proof of service  through some kind of organization depending on what the con is trying to sell.   Ask and check, google or call the Feds to know if it is legitimate  Last example for economic fraud: How to sell the Eiffel Tower! o King Con Count Lestigen o The Count played as an authority figure as working for the Parisian Government  o He created a phantom story, selling of the Eiffel Tower o Created an identity as a government official all dressed up and resided in special  hotels reserved for the wealthy and government o He approached scrap metal contractors and held a secret meeting to create scarcity  and secrecy o With the other contractors present he created social consensus that it was legit and  important o Wanted to sell the tower and have it used for parts because the city could no longer  pay for the tower and it was supposed to be decommissioned a few years ago  anyways o He talked individually with each contractor to see who was the most likely to fall  prey to his scheme o He always looked interested and listened to everything and never bragged about  himself o He picked the contractor who was new to fame and wanted to be among the elites of  his peers, thus the ambitious guy got picked and suckered o To really make the con seem legit the count even asked for a bribe to make the scrap  contractor more at ease because the belief was that the government officials were not  completely honest men  o The count’s backstory now seemed more legit and since the target wants to also  believe in the con it becomes more believable o Con man wins the day and the rich victim was too embarrassed to bring it up  allowing the con to sell the Eiffel Tower a second time! Like a Boss lol. 


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