Anthony Pratkanis

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Anthony Pratkanis
Anthony Pratkanis Altercasting as a Social Influence Tactic CSICon 2016.jpg
CSICon 2016
Born (1957-04-02) April 2, 1957 (age 59)
Portsmouth, Virginia
Nationality United States
Fields Psychology
Institutions Carnegie Mellon University, University of California, Santa Cruz
Alma mater Ohio State University, Eastern Mennonite University
Known for Propaganda expert
Notable awards 2006 UCSC's Excellence in Teaching Award
Eastern Mennonite University Distinguished Alumnus 2009
2002 Telly Award

Anthony R. Pratkanis is an author, advertising and political consultant, and professor of Psychology at the University of California in Santa Cruz, California.[1] Pratkanis studies and writes on economic fraud crimes, terrorist and dictator propaganda, marketing and consumer behavior, and subliminal persuasion.

Early life and education[edit]

Pratkanis was born and raised in Portsmouth, VA and received his B.S. from Eastern Mennonite College in 1979. He went on to complete his M.A. and Ph.D. in Social Psychology from Ohio State University in 1984.[1][2][3] Pratkanis's main psychological interests are social and group psychology, persuasion and social influence, communications, prejudice and stereotypes.[3]


After graduate school, Pratkanis began his career teaching at the business school at Carnegie Mellon University, where he taught several popular courses in advertising and human behavior.[2] In 1995, he was elected a fellow of the American Psychological Association.[4] He is currently a professor of Psychology at the University of California, Santa Cruz For his courses on Social Influence and Social Psychology, he received the UCSC's "Excellence in Teaching Award" for the 2003-4 school year.[5] In 2005 he was named the Psychology Class of 2005’s Most Revered Professor.[4]

In addition to his teaching career, Pratkanis is a well known persuasion and fraud consultant. He has been an expert witness in numerous trials, including those against CBS Records/Judas Priest for subliminal messages, the State of Vermont v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco, for two presidential campaigns, advertising and marketing campaigns, and other ventures.[2][4] In 2002, he was awarded a Telly award for his work with the AARP on a commercial campaign Weapons of Fraud.[4]

In 2006, Pratkanis was the founding editor of the journal Social Influence, promoting further research investigating aspects of social influence.[6][7] In 2009 Eastern Mennonite University named him its Alumnus of the Year in recognition of his work on propaganda and persuasion.[2]

In February 2011, Pratkanis was elected as a Fellow of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry[8]

On May 29, 2011, Pratkanis lectured on "Influence and Persuasion in Selling Flimflam" at the 2nd annual SkeptiCalCon event held in Berkeley, California, where he jokingly touted himself as "America's Most Beloved Social Psychologist," and ironically detailed how to use propaganda and other persuasive techniques to set yourself up as a con man selling non-scientific ideas to a gullible public.[9]

Selected publications[edit]


  • Pratkanis, A. R. (Eds.). (2007). The science of social influence: advances and future progress. Frontiers of Social Psychology. Philadelphia, PA: Psychology Press.
  • Pratkanis, A. R. & Shadel, D. (2005). Weapons of fraud: A source book for fraud fighters. Washington, D.C.: AARP Washington.
  • Pratkanis, A. R., & Aronson, E. (2001). Age of propaganda: The everyday use and abuse of persuasion (rev. ed.). New York: W. H. Freeman & Co.
  • Turner, M. E. & PratKanis, A. R. (1994). Social Psychological Perspectives on Affirmative Action: A Special Issue of Basic and Applied Social Psychology. Philadelphia, PA: Psychology Press.[3][10]
  • Aronson, E. & Pratkanis, A. R. (1993). Social Psychology. (Vol. 2). Edward Elgar Pub.
  • Pratkanis, A. R., Breckler, S. J., & Greenwald, A. G. (1989). Attitude Structure and Function. Philadelphia, PA: Psychology Press.

Journal articles[edit]

  • Pratkanis, A. R. & Uriel, Y. (2011). The expert snare as an influence tactic: Surf, turf, and ballroom demonstrations of some compliance consequences of being altercast as an expert. Current Psychology: A Journal for Diverse Perspectives on Diverse Psychological Issues, 30(4), 335-344.
  • Horvitz, T., & Pratkanis, A. R. (2002). A laboratory demonstration of the fraudulent telemarketers' 1-in-5 prize tactic. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 32(2), 310-317.
  • Rucker, D. D., & Pratkanis, A. R. (2001). Projection as an interpersonal influence tactic: The effects of the pot calling the kettle black. Personality & Social Psychology Bulletin, 27(11), 1494-1507.
  • Pratkanis, A. R., & Turner, M. E. (1999). The significance of affirmative action for the souls of white folk: Further implications of a helping model. Journal of Social Issues, 55(4), 787-815.
  • Turner, M. E., & Pratkanis, A. R. (1998). A social identity maintenance model of groupthink. Organizational Behavior & Human Decision Processes, 73(2-3), 210-235.
  • Turner, M. E., & Pratkanis, A. R. (1998). Twenty-five years of groupthink theory and research: Lessons from the evaluation of a theory. Organizational Behavior & Human Decision Processes, 73(2-3), 105-115.
  • Pratkanis, A. R., & Turner, M. E. (1996). Persuasion and democracy: Strategies for increasing deliberative participation and enacting social change. Journal of Social Issues, 52(1), 187-205.
  • Pratkanis, A. R., & Turner, M. E. (1996). The proactive removal of discriminatory barriers: Affirmative action as effective help. Journal of Social Issues, 52(4), 111-132.
  • Pratkanis, A. R., Eskenazi, J., & Greenwald, A. G. (1994). What you expect is what you believe (but not necessarily what you get): A test of the effectiveness of subliminal self-help audiotapes. Basic & Applied Social Psychology, 15(3), 251-276.
  • Santos, M. D., Leve, C., & Pratkanis, A. R. (1994). Hey buddy, can you spare seventeen cents? Mindful persuasion and the pique technique. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 24(9), 755-764.
  • Pratkanis, A. R., & Greenwald, A. G. (1993). Consumer involvement, message attention, and the persistence of persuasive impact in a message-dense environment. Psychology & Marketing, 10(4), 321-332.
  • Pratkanis, A. R., & Farquhar, P. H. (1992). A brief history of research on phantom alternatives: Evidence for seven empirical generalizations about phantoms. Basic & Applied Social Psychology, 13(1), 103-122.
  • Turner, M. E., Pratkanis, A. R., Probasco, P., & Leve, C. (1992). Threat, cohesion, and group effectiveness: Testing a social identity maintenance perspective on groupthink. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 63(5), 781.
  • Greenwald, A. G., Spangenberg, E. R., Pratkanis, A. R., & Eskenazi, J. (1991). Double-blind tests of subliminal self-help audiotapes. Psychological Science, 2(2), 119-122.
  • Greenwald, A. G., & Pratkanis, A. R. (1988). On the use of "theory" and the usefulness of theory. Psychological Review, 95(4), 575-579.


  1. ^ a b "Faculty Page". Retrieved 27 August 2014. 
  2. ^ a b c d "2009 Alumnus of the Year Leading Expert in Propaganda: Anthony Pratkanis, EMU class of 79". Archived from the original on 27 August 2014. Retrieved 27 August 2014. 
  3. ^ a b c "Anthony Pratkanis". Social Psychology Network. 2001-03-30. Retrieved 2008-07-04. 
  4. ^ a b c d "Anthony Pratkanis" (PDF). Retrieved 27 August 2014. 
  5. ^ "Excellence in Teaching Awards Recipients". Retrieved 27 August 2014. 
  6. ^ "Social Influence". Retrieved 27 August 2014. 
  7. ^ "Science Briefs". Retrieved 27 August 2014. 
  8. ^ "CSI announces new Fellows". Archived from the original on 30 June 2011. Retrieved 2011-08-07. 
  9. ^ "SkeptiCalCon 2011". 2011. Retrieved 2011-06-02. 
  10. ^ "Anthony Pratkanis: Books". Retrieved 2008-07-04. 

External links[edit]