You have certainly resorted to inverse psychology sometimes, even if you have not realized it or are not aware of its power. Basically, it’s about adopting a position so that the other person adopts the opposite one.
Experts in this field are teenagers. In the full process of searching for their identity, if there is one thing they hate, it is that someone tells them what to do or tries to condition them. To avoid this feeling, therefore, they often opt not to do what they are told even if they know that it would be the best thing to do.
However, this does not only happen with teenagers. Although with less frequency and intensity, this inclination (to behave in the opposite way) is also found in adulthood.
How is reverse psychology activated?
Imagine that your 5 year old son doesn’t want to eat vegetables. You do everything you can to force him to eat what is on his plate, but there is no way he will do it: he does not eat carrots or courgettes. If you continue to insist, the situation will not improve. You will give up and he will go away happy to play.
Why is it better not to take advantage of reverse psychology?
This is not as simple as telling the child not to eat. He will run away and you will be impaled with your vegetables. You have to do some basic work first, you have to present the vegetables in an inviting way, it doesn’t have to look like a boring and tasteless dish, but quite the opposite.
At this point, you can activate the reverse psychology to further increase the attractive power of the pot. The certainty is that something intrigues us even more if it is prohibited. This is typical of childhood, in fact parents often prohibit their children from doing things that at certain times they have experienced as fun experiences.
When we grow up, we add the need for independence to the association acquired during childhood.
Other reasons for using reverse psychology relate to safety in certain situations. If we feel insecure and someone pushes us to take a risk, we will probably opt for more normal or less divergent behavior from the crowd.
On the contrary, if we are accompanied by a feeling of security, we choose the riskiest option and we do it with even more determination if someone encourages us to choose the safest alternative.
Acting in the opposite way in these cases will not affect the balance needle, but will make it tilt definitively or that it will do it more forcefully towards one plate or another.
Reverse psychology in adulthood
Perhaps the example of the child who does not want to eat vegetables is too simple and we understand it because “he is a child and it is easy to manipulate him”. However, you should know that reverse psychology is widely used in companies.
For example: a company offers optional training courses for its employees. Since they are kept outside of working hours, no one signs up. The management, therefore, informs that starting from next month the lesson time will be reduced and that resource will be lost.
With this strategic technique, the company does not really want to eliminate courses, but wants the employee to realize that he has something of value available and that if he does not use it, he will devote himself to something else that has nothing to do with it. with him. And nobody likes to lose something of objective value.
If the company manages to make the worker understand this, the latter will begin to attend the courses, even if only because they are not eliminated.
How to use reverse psychology?
At this point, it’s not about spending your life “denying things” for others to do it the way we want. There are some “conditions”, let’s call them this way, to prevent manipulation from becoming a habit.
- Who do you use it with and why? Answer this question before resorting to reverse psychology. If you use it because your child gets dressed for school or stops watching television, then it’s okay, but if you use it to convince your customers to buy a new product, maybe you need to think about it.
- What are the effects of reverse psychology that you can achieve? If you deny your child to do his homework and he eventually does it, then welcome. However, it will not always suit you and it may happen that your child answers you in the happiest way possible: “Perfect, then I can play video games!”.
- How free does the other person want to feel? The greater the need for self-affirmation (the need to know that he is making decisions based on his will), the greater the probability that he will follow a different path than what we indicate them. For example, a person who does not like receiving orders at all will be an excellent candidate on whom reverse psychology will work.