Citation Commentary

Citation Commentary
Research Bete Noire

If you’ve been paying close attention at the end of each Chapter you found References and Recommended Readings.  That means you should find them and read them.  I didn’t cite them to be polite or cover my case against charges of plagiarism.  So, if you’re being a Good Girl or Boy, maybe you’ve been doing just that . . . except you can’t find Leon Festinger’s 1957 classic on dissonance ANYWHERE on the Web.  Same thing with that Petty and Cacioppo 1986 book.

Hey, Steve, why are the examples and citations so old?

People who ask this question are pop culture dweebies and should pull down their pants so that a friend can paint their butts red.

Only a postmodern hipster doofus counts years or Web access as a way of determining truth.  If the references and readings are “too old” does that mean that the principles of persuasion presented in this primer (don’t say that in the face of anyone you love unless that person likes a wet face) are untrustworthy because they aren’t dated within the past 30 minutes?  Or past 10 years?  That you have to actually read the book.  The real book.

Look, we’re talking about all faces, places, times, and rhymes.  If it worked in 1990 with Michael Jordan, do you really think that things are different in 2010 with LeBron James?  Get real my brother from another mother.  The principles are eternal, only the wrapper changes.

To a certain extent, I’m turning into an old guy who’s getting more than a little peeved with the young guys who aren’t hitting the library as hard as I did back in the day.  Over the past ten years, I’ve read more and more work in the social sciences that clearly demonstrates an aversion to reading anything published before 1992 or that isn’t easily available on the Web.  I can pick up an issue of virtually any good social science journal every month and read a new research paper that boldly proclaims a new finding . . . except I can remember reading an old research paper from the 1970s or the 1930s that reported the same thing and oddly enough that old paper is either uncited or misrepresented.

Most of this is just human nature. People can be too quick to closure, too fast in our need for certainty, or we can be just plain lazy taking the peripheral route when we should have hung tough on the central route.  My point here is that we need to keep our minds open, searching, and tentative when learning.  If you’ve read several of the Chapters, you’re probably struck by the incredible variety of methods by which people change.  There is a lot of knowledge out there and it is difficult to keep it all in your head.  It is simpler to stick to what is recent, convenient, and active.  But in this case, simple isn’t better.  The past holds an enormous vault of value.

Why don’t you go over to the library and go back into the dusty stacks.  Find old books and journals.  Dust them off, sit on the floor, and read them.  In many respects you should do the same thing with movies.  For many folks “black and white” is the great divider.  Who wants to watch a flick in grey tones?  Well, if you haven’t seen “Citizen Kane” or the “Treasure of Sierra Madre” or “Casablanca” or “Dr. Strangelove” and other black and white classics, you’ve missed a lot of great movies.