Anthony Pratkanis
  • Santa Cruz

Anthony Pratkanis, Ph.D.

Advisory Board Member

Anthony is currently Professor of Psychology at the University of California, Santa Cruz where he studies social influence and persuasion. He earned his Ph.D. in 1984 from the famed social psychology program at the Ohio State University. An engaging classroom teacher, he began his career in the business school at Carnegie-Mellon University where he taught popular courses in advertising and consumer behavior.

From 2004-2007 he served as Visiting Professor of Information Sciences at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, CA. He was awarded UCSC’s coveted Excellence in Teaching Award in 2005 for his courses on Social Influence and Social Psychology and was named The Psychology Class of 2005’s Most Revered Professor and of 2010’s Most Inspiring Faculty Mentor. He was the 2009 Eastern Mennonite University Alumnus of the Year.

A frequent contributor to scientific journals and the popular press on the topics of persuasion and influence, he is a co-editor of Attitude Structure and Function, Social Psychology, The Science of Social Influence, and a past associate editor for the Journal of Consumer Psychology and the founding editor of the scientific journal, Social Influence. His research program has investigated such topics as the delayed effects of persuasion, attitudes and memory, groupthink, affirmative action, subliminal persuasion, mass communications, source credibility, persuasion and democracy, and a variety of influence tactics such as the pique technique, phantoms, the projection tactic, the 1-in-5 prize tactic, and altercasting. He is a fellow of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, American Psychological Association, and Association for Psychological Science. He has appeared in the mass media over 500 times including the Oprah Winfrey Show, Dateline NBC, CBS News, C-Span, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, New York Times, and CNN, and his research has been translated into ten different languages.

He is the co-author (with Elliot Aronson) of Age of Propaganda: The Everyday Use and Abuse of Persuasion and (with Doug Shadel) of Weapons of Fraud: A Source Book for Fraud Fighters.

Dr. Pratkanis’s expertise is sought by both public and private enterprises. His research on the principles of effective affirmative action (with M. E. Turner) has been featured in the popular business press, was awarded a custom baseball bat from the Cooperstown Symposium on baseball history, and has been presented in briefings to the United States Congress, the California State Legislature, and various civil rights groups. His testimony on subliminal persuasion at the trial of CBS Records/Judas Priest was instrumental in winning that case for the defense. He has served as an expert witness on behalf of the State of Oregon in their case against Publishers Clearing House, the State of California against MCI/Worldcom and Cingular Wireless, the State of Vermont against R. J. Reynolds Tobacco and Eclipse cigarettes, the State of Oregon and Washington against 5-Hour Energy, among other cases.

In 2002, he received a Telly award for his work as a scientific consultant on AARP’s video, Weapons of Fraud and has testified before the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission about his work with AARP and FINRA on what can be done to prevent economic fraud crimes. He has also consulted with the Office of the Director of National Intelligence on how to avoid groupthink in intelligence estimates and continues to work with the United States military on the use of social influence in international conflicts. Recently, he served as an expert consultant to the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging in their investigation of Publishers Clearing House’s advertising and marketing.

Anthony Pratkanis is proud to be an Inner Circle Magic Garage Magician and a Magician Extraordinaire of Ring 216 as well as a member of the International Brotherhood of Magicians and of the Society of American Magicians.