I object myself

Stress will kill all your good intentions. The chance of actually performing those acts that we are not accustomed to, but did plan, will drop dramatically when we experience stress. Hindrances and problems that we come across while trying to change our behavior, will make us stressful. Two very recognizable stress factors are interruptions throughout our action and the idea of not having enough time. The situation as we planned it to be like Gollwitzer did a lot of research on this subject, his implementation intentions can be a good start to prevent ourselves to relapse into old behavior. Implementation intentions are more tangible and practical intentions, with a planned moment, situation and so on. Implementation intentions will help us to remember what we planned to do. Through the addition of triggers (where, what, when) we are more likely to think of our intention and succeed in actually executing it. The actual situation The problem with implementation intentions is that they are focused on a positive frame in which we plan our future behavior and everything goes according to plan. This – of course – is far from how it often goes. Whenever we meet a problem or hindrance that keeps us from our old behavior, it will give us stress. Thinking about the possible problems we can encounter will not only give us a quick answer how to stick to our original plan. Thinking through possible objections and problems will also make us react less stressful to the objections. An example Maybe you intent to be nicer to customers at work. You just had a course and are determined to stay friendly no matter what happens. Then there comes a customer who is really angry at you for...

Why Cialdini’s six work...

I talked about this imaginary friend, a fishing buddy, that tells you he only liked fishing yesterday. Being a holistic individual is of great importance to us. We count on it that our friends will be the same friends we know tomorrow and the day after that. We also plan what we want to do in future times. If our goals and ideas stay the same, it would be hard to understand that our behavior would change all of the time. Caring and being one person Philosophers like Bratman and Frankfurt talk about this aspect of human being and the importance of being one and the same person. Not only is it important for us to care about something, it also makes us whole and gives us goals in life. The impact of the need to be holistic is not only visible in the principle of commitment, it also means we want to be right. Being wrong might mean you have to change your opinion later on. That is why we are vulnerable to other people’s opinion (social proof) and experts (authority). Even scarcity can be explained through this principle, since scarce items are wanted by other people too. Liking yourself: positive self-concept We do not only want to be one (and not many) persons, we also want to like ourselves. This is most visible in the principle of reciprocity where we share and give back because we want others (and ourselves) to think positive about us. The principle of liking is, of course, also tightly connected to liking ourselves. Why else would we like others that are like us? Shortcuts The principles Cialdini describes work most of the time unconsciously. A lot of times they also make sense...

Tempting prohibitions – Scarcity...

Ever wondered why your cellphone appeals so much to you, even though you are having a nice face-to-face conversation with a friend? The unknown and the possibility of missing something you can never get back is pulling so strongly at us it triggers us to check who is calling. Hobfoll found that people are more motivated by the thought of losing something than by the thought of gaining something with an equal value. Loss or gain of grade point averages that went up or down the same amount were not valued the same. The loss was seen as much less desirable then the gain was viewed positive (Ketelaar). They trick you with scarcity Whatever is scarce, we like and want more. Telling customers (you!) that the amount of products is low will make you want the products more. They call it the limited-number tactic. They tell you the production stopped, or the import stopped, or they changed the model/product line and you need to be quick to obtain the product before it is too late. Time limits also work great. Knowing that the time to see, visit, buy or get something is running out will make you want it more. The higher price you will have to pay afterwards, or the impossibility of getting the same product: both deadlines will work. Why does it work? The things we like will be liked by others too. This easily makes them scarce. We have an internal rule stating that things that are difficult to get are typically better than those that are easy to get (Lynn). A second, and very powerful, reason is the loss of freedom; whenever we are no longer capable of purchasing what we (might) want we lose...

Using Other People as Shortcut – Social Proof...

We appear to believe that what others think is correct. In an unknown situation we will look at the behavior of others, and copy-paste this to ourselves. Yet even in situations where we do know how to act, people can let us astray and make us follow their choices. The plurality of the truths of others appears more important than what we think ourselves. Ten people know more than one and so if we don’t know what to do; we better look at the behavior of others. It sounds very reasonable to think this way and we do it very often too. There is one major issue with this ‘shortcut’ in our thinking. We take it for granted that those other people do know what needs to be done. And this assumption might be false. Incorrect Examples Suppose all the examples of behavior you are seeing are not correct? Suppose everybody is acting just as unknowing as you are. Each of you will be copying the behavior of someone else. If, by accident, the first person (whom everyone started to copy) acted silly, you might all end up acting ridiculous. Lun et al. found that this principle influences greatly what we perceive as correct and incorrect behavior. The more often we see option A in situation X, the more we will appreciate option A in this situation. Using it for the better Bandura and Menlove reduced children’s fear for dogs. They provided the children with different pictures of others playing with dogs. Pictures were enough to make a change. The biggest change was found when pictures were shown where several people played with a dog: the more the better to prove that dogs aren’t scary. In a situation where...

Oh, Behave! – Introduction...

You might feel in charge of your own behavior, but you are not. At least not in the way you think you are. Many principles, mechanisms and reasons determine how and why you act like you do without you even noticing them. I want to have a look at the possibility to improve yourself by getting to know these mechanisms and use them for your own good. Social psychology is all about the way people react. How they react to others, to the environment, the system, or the situation. The field of behavioral change is about influencing this reaction. Social psychology uses the fact that eight out of ten people will react the same way. When reading about social psychology, one usually finds information about how to change the behavior of others through changing the situation. I want to use the instrument of changing the situation in order to change my own behavior, and not to try to change someone else. If you want to learn how to influence yourself, this blog might be a good start. What?! You might think now, social psychology sounds like manipulating! I can understand that position. But then please think again, because we are influenced (or manipulated) all of the time. No matter what, there always is a situation. And you will always have to deal with that situation. People, organizations, governments, and brands they all want things from you and they try to get you to do it. I think there are at least two things important, which I will illustrate in my blogs. Firstly, the choices we made in the past are very important for the choices we will make now and in the future. Much more important than most people...