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What is the word that describes people who are easily influenced by propaganda or always do what all other people are seen to be doing without much thinking?

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According to psychologists and social psychologists, the more educated you are, the less susceptible you think you are, but, in fact, they claim it's quite the opposite. People who are educated are generally more open-minded than the ignorant & ill-educated, so they're more influenced by propaganda than the closed-minded. People who "always do what all other people are seen to be doing without much thinking" are called "conformists" & "well-adjusted members of society". Your fellow parishioners, for example; your fraternity brothers; your military or corporate colleagues; etc. –  user21497 Dec 8 '12 at 9:53
At least in me experience, most of them are called "salesmen". The defining characteristic of being a good salesman is being susceptible to your own propaganda (which usually translates to being susceptible others' propaganda as well). –  Jerry Coffin Dec 8 '12 at 16:55
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4 Answers 4

up vote 5 down vote accepted

Well, If we're throwing words around, I'd like to throw in credulous.

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I know of no word quite so specific, but gullible describes anyone who is easily fooled.

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What about uncritical or accepting?

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Conformist / conforming - has the strong connotation of someone who "goes along" but not of that being a bad thing. One might (rightly) conform to a law one doesn't happen to like, or (wrongly) conform to a mob's violence or social injustice.

Suggestible - someone who takes on thoughts and ideas from others without conscious consideration

Susceptible (to propaganda) - can be influenced/affected

Influenceable (by propaganda) - as above

Malleable - bendable, implies resistance on some level that is ultimately suspended. The analogy is to metalworking.

Compliant - someone who complies over-readily

Sheepish - used in a certain sense, it means someone who follows a herd mentality. It can also mean shy or cowardly.

Lemming - (noun) means someone who follows a crowd even suicidally

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To me, "they are sheepish" would normally mean embarrassed/bashful. It's "they are sheep" that I see as embodying OP's credulous, easily-led sense. –  FumbleFingers Dec 19 '12 at 23:30
Fair enough. I think my use still works, though. wordreference.com/thesaurus/sheepish –  Ryan Dec 20 '12 at 5:07
Of course. I don't mean to say "sheepish" is never used with that sense. It's just that the distinction I made applies more often than not, but this would not be clear from your wording. –  FumbleFingers Dec 20 '12 at 16:46
Fair enough, @FumbleFingers. –  Ryan Jan 3 '13 at 21:30
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