Rob Ashton

Rob Ashton

Founder - Rob Ashton
Rob is a science writer, a former research scientist and a former editor, as well as the founder of Emphasis, the global writing consultancy. For the last six years, he’s been on a quest to discover the science of how the words we read and write affect what we think and do.  
 
His experience includes 24 years advising some of the biggest names in commerce, as well as working with national governments, charities and even the Royal Household at Buckingham Palace.  
 
He calls writing ‘the invisible medium’. And he believes much of the misunderstanding in the world stems from our increasing reliance on our keyboards and phone screens to ‘talk’ to each other. But he says it’s always frustrated him that so much of the communication advice on the web and pushed by many consultants is based on a mixture of pseudoscience, hearsay and wishful thinking.  
 
His mission, he says, is to redress the balance, sorting fact from fiction by delving into peer-reviewed brain research and sharing it with the wider 
world. It’s a mission that he says has steadily taken over most of his waking hours and become nothing short of an obsession. 
Article links:
Silent Influence  
 
This is five-part (free) email course I created to help raise awareness of 
some of the science behind how written words influence our thoughts. To save you from having to go through it in real time, here are the links to web pages for each lesson: 
 
The hidden power we all miss (our increasing reliance on writing) 
Avoiding the brain’s tripwire (our vulnerability to information overload) 
Emotions in charge (why writing leaves us more prone to the affect 
heuristic) 
Hack the decision maker’s brain (cognitive bias and writing) 
Building silent influence (course summary – writing for humans). 
 
(The original sign-up page is at: robashton.com/influence.) 
Other selected writing 
This is what really drives decisions – the importance of narrative and 
its influence on our inner monologue.  
Why we miss our biggest errors – the mechanics of reading (and why 
we make up most of what we ‘read’). 
Mind reading for beginners – a look at our innate ability to put 
ourselves in the reader’s shoes, and how our computers and 
smartphones might reduce that ability to empathise. 
How Donald Trump’s tweets and speech patterns hypnotise his 
followers. 
The use of emotive language in news headlines during the Covid-19 
pandemic (based on my own analysis). 
Silent Influence course (free): https://robashton.com/influence 
Personal website: https://robashton.com 
Emphasis consultancy: https://www.writing-skills.com 

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