Psychology is essentially manipulation with good eye contact. And, if you know these tricks you might be able to get more of what you want out of life. Neuropsychologist Hannah Korrel explains.
Most people understand psychology as a powerful way of helping people to get through tough situations and feelings in life. But psychology doesn’t just occur behind the four walls of the psychologist’s office when we’re feeling down. Psychology is part of virtually all interactions you are having with other people, and what you are exposed to every day.
For example, advertising is full of many psychological tactics to get us to engage and buy. Consider parenting – this too is full of psychological methods to get our kids to behave and do their best in life. Did you know that other people can also use certain psychological tactics to get what they want from you? And you can do this right back to them!
Like what you see? Sign up to our bodyandsoul.com.au newsletter to read more stories like this.
Below is the ‘dark side’ of psychology, methods that shape your opinions and actions which you may not be aware of. Here’s a list of some of the big ones, that you can either steer clear of or perhaps deploy to get what you need from other people….
Predict positive behaviour
If you predict positive behaviour in others, they are more likely to rise to those expectations. This involves saying what you expect at the start of an interaction e.g., ‘Thank you for being so understanding and patient!’
‘Thank you for being so helpful and generous’,
This involves using a bit of ingratiation, and a bit of inception – plant the seed in their minds that they are very generous and giving towards you.
Speed up rapport
People who like you will help you, so speed up them liking you:
1. All people have what’s called ‘mirror neurons’ in their brains. When we are in sync with someone (i.e. we have a trusting, collaborative rapport going), humans naturally start to mimic the posture of the other person. You can artificially build this ‘good rapport’ faster, by mimicking the body language of the person you are chatting with – the closer they feel to you, the more likely they are to acquiesce to your requests!
2. Get them talking about themselves. A person who enjoys talking to you will be far more likely to like you, and everyone loves talking about themselves.
3. Be interested but don’t gush. People don’t appreciate things that are given to them on a silver platter and respect things they have to work for.
4. Give them the signs you are interested in what they are saying by asking questions and giving ‘non personal’ compliments (‘that is fascinating. What an interesting perspective. How insightful’ etc. as opposed to personal compliments ‘you are so smart’, ‘you are so beautiful’ etc.). Make them feel they are working a little for your overt approval.
Use the triangle
The triangle refers to looking from each eye, down to the mouth and back up again – in a triangle shape. Again this is the type of ‘look’ people give one another when deep intimacy is forming and can help quicken a deeper, more trusting, relationship.
Of course, be careful with this one with the opposite sex – ‘triangle looking’ signals trust, but it’s also the precursor to kissing – so just make sure you don’t go overboard with your ‘tris’… (unless you want to kiss them? In which case, you go girl!)
Foot in the door
When asking for favours you can employ two strategies, called foot in the door or door in the face! Say you need a favour, like being driven to the airport. One tactic we can use is to ask for something very small first.
For example, ‘can you please help me zip up my suitcase?’. When the person consents, this is our ‘foot in the door’ to ask for something more – the theory is that, you can continue with the momentum of them saying ‘yes’ when you ask for something bigger. They are more likely to say yes to the next thing if they have already said yes to something else….
Door in the face
This is the opposite of foot in the door. In this technique, one is asked for something very big which they will inevitably say no to! Following the no, we then ask for something smaller – research tells us that the listener is more likely to feel like you have negotiated and compromised, and feeling guilty for having just said no, they are more likely to say yes to your smaller request.
For example, ‘can you help me to paint the 20 ft gazebo over the weekend?’ ‘uh.. no’… ‘ok, well could you please take an hour to drive me to the airport’ … ok.
Ok yes, these things are manipulative. And they can be used for negative purposes to get people to do things they clearly don’t want to do. They can also be used to help you optimise getting the best results from partners, kids, colleagues etc. So don’t be a scoundrel about it, act with integrity and only use these bad boys for good.
Neuropsychologist Hannah Korrel is the author of How to Break Up with Friends (Impact Press $24.99) and has spent over a decade becoming an expert in why the brain makes us do the things we do. Follow her @nobullpsych