How "one weird trick" conquered the Internet. Some excerpt I found interesting:
Research on persuasion shows the more arguments you list in favor of something, regardless of the quality of those arguments, the more that people tend to believe it,” Norton says. “Mainstream ads sometimes use long lists of bullet points—people don’t read them, but it’s persuasive to know there are so many reasons to buy.” OK, but if more is better, then why only one trick? “People want a simple solution that has a ton of support.”
I actually see this technique used in a lot of religious apologetics. There's even a name for one of them: The Gish Gallop. Would it be fair to say that this technique is taking advantage of a naive or intuitive understanding of Bayesian updates?
What about all the weirdness? “A word like ‘weird’ is not so negative, and kind of intriguing,” says Oleg Urminsky of the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. “There’s this foot-in-the-door model. If you lead with a strong, unbelievable claim it may turn people off. But if you start with ‘isn’t this kind of weird?’ it lowers the stakes.” The model also explains why some ads ask you to click on your age first. “Giving your age is low-stakes but it begins the dialogue. The hard sell comes later.”
The "click on your age" first gambit seems a bit like Cached Selves.
“People tend to think something is important if it’s secret,” says Michael Norton, a marketing professor at Harvard Business School. “Studies find that we give greater credence to information if we’ve been told it was once ‘classified.’ Ads like this often purport to be the work of one man, telling you something ‘they’ don’t want you to know.” The knocks on Big Pharma not only offered a tempting needle-free fantasy; they also had a whiff of secret knowledge, bolstering the ad’s credibility
Humanity's love affair with secrecy and its importance seems to go back quite a bit. The world's largest religion seems to have started out as one of many mystery religions in the Greco-Roman world at the time.