How to use reverse psychology

How to use reverse psychology to make others do what you want

Why Romeo and Juliet fell so passionately in love with each other?
The answer is: reverse psychology.

Let me explain. If you remember the story, the two lovers met and took a liking in each other. If the story ended here, they might have gotten together, be happy for a few months and then discover that they are very different and don’t really see the future for themselves.
But – something happened that pushed them towards each other and made them fight till death for their love.
What was it? The fact that both families forbade the young lovers to see each others.

Whenever somebody forbids us to do something, our sense of freedom is endangered. Our natural reaction becomes to rebel.

This is why using reverse psychology is such an efficient tool for making others do what you want. You achieve it by.. telling them NOT to do it! In today’s article we will discuss how to use reverse psychology to achieve your goals.

Reverse psychology

We protect our freedom

Whenever we feel our freedom is restricted, we stop logically processing the order and analysing whether it might actually be good for us. So the content of the order stops mattering so much. What matters is how it’s formulated – Don’t do this.

Back in 1982 Wilson and Lassiter conducted a famous study to illustrate how reverse psychology works – what later was named a Reactance Theory.

In their research they managed to create a desire for a toy that initially was found unattractive.

Here is what they did:

Reverse psychology

Reverse psychology made kids change their preference for toys

The experimenters observed kids playing with various toys, which allowed them to identify one toy that was left mostly unused – the unattractive toy.
They then divided the kids in 2 groups – the first group was simply told to play with any of the toys they wanted. But the second group was told to play with all of the toys APART from that one toy – the one they initially didn’t like. Later, both groups of kids were given a chance to play with the toy.

What was observed is that in the second group, kids played 3 times longer with the forbidden toy.

Additional experiments were conducted on adults, that showed similar results: when we forbid people to use a certain object, it becomes more desirable.

So, if you want somebody to do something for you, tell them they can’t do it and what will happen is that they will want it more and they will rebel against your restriction to reassert their freedom – eventually doing exactly what you wanted them to.

Reverse psychology works best with people who are contrary or resistant. In contrast, agreeable people are likely to go along with you anyway so you don’t need to use it.

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    Reply Reply July 27, 2016

    Yes i Agree , i tell my kids they cant have as many sweets as they allways want ,but can have toys instead !!, and surprising they actually say NO BUT I WANT SWEETS INSTEAD OF THOSE TOYS !! it is true they will rebell. I know that buying Toys are more expensive than sweets so i use Reverse psychology as well and it works .Also not only with kids do i use this method !!

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