Dr. Brynn Winegard discusses the brain science of persuasion at inaugural speaker series event
Whether we realize it or not, one thing we do all day long is engage in acts of compliance, influence, and persuasion. That was the message delivered by Dr. Brynn Winegard, to more than 150 MA Leadership students at the inaugural Innovators: Leaders Pushing Boundaries speaker series, hosted by Professional Programs.
A noted professor, speaker and writer, Winegard married her diverse background in marketing and neuroscience to teach attendees about the important connection between neuroscience and persuasion. The emphasis on these two areas provided a unique perspective on human interaction and how it relates to brain function.
During her presentation, Winegard suggested that we are constantly attempting to influence or persuade people to act in accordance with our wishes and expectations, specifically one of the ‘3Bs’: believing, buying into, or buying things. We try to accomplish this through a number of different influential acts, from passive but obvious acts such as upholding social or cultural norms that demonstrate behavioral expectations (e.g. being quiet in the library), or active attempts to persuade people to buy into a strategic plan you’ve drafted at work; or to get your kids to eat more vegetables by letting them believe the neighbours’ kids three doors down are eating theirs.
“There are many misconceptions about the brain, especially the notion that it’s completely hard-wired and your destiny is set,” said Winegard. “In reality, your brain changes, physically, in response to every new stimulus or thought that you have intrinsically, or are influenced to have, extrinsically. You can play a large part in how your own brain manifests, and therefore what you’re able to accomplish in your career and in your life.”
Winegard’s talk demonstrated these points first through an examination of brain function fundamentals and second through an explanation of how these fundamentals can be applied to persuading and engaging with others, thereby becoming more influential people and leaders. Attendees walked away with helpful and tangible insights that have the potential to enhance their daily interactions.
“The purpose of this presentation is to help people feel empowered with a greater knowledge about how their ‘black box’ of a brain really works,” Winegard added. “They can use this science to improve their leadership abilities, be more engaging, and ultimately, be more persuasive in anything they do, whatever their business is, every day.”
In addition to Winegard’s presentation, the evening was also a celebration of incoming and outgoing MA Leadership students. Jennifer King and Dr. Leanna Duckworth received the Dean’s Award, and remarks were heard from four valedictorians, Dr. Leanna Duckworth, Stephen Rowland, Mina Rahravan and Allyson Marcolini. Professor Agnes Zdaniuk also received the Professor of the Year Award for her teaching work in research methods.