Reverse psychology is a type of persuasion. It persuades an individual to accomplish something specific by asking them to do the opposite. This tends to be an effective method of persuasion when an individual makes emotional decisions instead of logical decisions.
Here ae some examples of how reverse psychology works.
Examples of Reverse Psychology in Action
1. Today is John’s birthday. His sister hasn’t gotten him a present yet. Their father suggests that the reason why she hasn’t purchased a present is that she is cheap, stingy, and maybe doesn’t love her brother. The result? She purchases a nice present for her brother.
2. Emily has a friend who has a reputation for not helping others. There is a concert they want to attend, but Emily’s mother has a list of chores that need to be done first. Emily gets to work, but her friend sits on the couch and turns on the TV. “Fine,” Emily tells her friend. “Don’t bother helping. See if I care about going to the concert.” This causes her friend to start helping.
3. Peter has always been rather shy. It’s been tough for him to make friends. He’s never had a girlfriend, but he really likes Stephanie. He just hasn’t gotten the courage to ask her out on a date. He goes out to the bar with his friends and Stephanie happens to be there. Peter’s friends encourage him to ask her out, but he refuses. “Maybe you just don’t like girls?” his friend suggests. Peter then asks Stephanie out to prove them wrong.
Why Does Reverse Psychology Work?
Reverse psychology is based on the concept of reactance theory. People do not like having their sense of control taken away from them. If someone tries to do so, they will do anything they can to take back that control, even if the decision goes against their best interests.
The problem with reverse psychology is that it is a form of manipulation. If someone realizes that this process is being used on them, there is a good chance that the favor will be returned.
People can also be unpredictable and respond unexpectedly. Using Peter’s example, he might say, “Sure. I like boys. Want to go out on a date with me?” to one of his friends.
Reverse psychology implants a suggestion. It is up to the targeted individual to respond.