UCLA Anderson Professor of Management and Organizations Noah Goldstein holds joint appointments at UCLA in the Psychology Department and at the David Geffen School of Medicine. His primary line of research involves the study of the factors that lead people to change their behaviors in a variety of contexts, including management, marketing and health. He has been awarded research fellowships and grants from the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health, among others.
Goldstein teaches the psychology of persuasion and advises corporate and government organizations, where his insights from tested persuasion research have had substantial impact. He has also served on the Scientific Advisory Boards of two Fortune Global 500 companies.
Goldstein has coauthored two widely acclaimed books on persuasion. Yes!: 50 Scientifically Proven Ways to Be Persuasive, published in 2008, was a New York Times best-seller that has been translated in over 25 languages. He and his colleagues most recently published The Small BIG, which presents new science showing how small, often ignored changes to one’s influence strategies can pay disproportionately big dividends — all without compromising one’s ethics.
Before he was a professional behavioral researcher, says Goldstein, “I was an amateur persuasion scientist.”
At age 16, Goldstein unwittingly conducted his first controlled persuasion experiment. Working a summer job in telemarketing, he noticed the company’s standard script wasn’t exactly persuasive. So he made strategic adjustments to it and tested them on every other call he made. He very quickly found that the new pitch was far superior, leading him to handily surpass his far more experienced colleagues in sales. “That experience showed me the power of using the scientific method to go beyond anecdotes, hunches and personal experience to discover what really makes something persuasive.”
More than 20 years since his initial foray into the science of persuasion, Goldstein is still focused on what research can tell us about how to be more persuasive. He teaches his MBAs to understand what researchers have learned about the factors that make persuasion strategies maximally influential. Although his courses require a deep understanding of persuasion research and theory, his primary focus is on applying the principles of persuasion to make the students more effective influencers in their professional and personal lives. “If my students learned the theory without knowing how to apply these principles in a variety of contexts, I would feel like my job isn’t done.”
Ph.D. Social Psychology, 2007, Arizona State University
M.A. Social Psychology, 2004, Arizona State University
B.S. Human Development, 2000, Cornell University