Reverse Psychology Example: The Way To Control Behavior

It is funny how easy to influence other’s behavior. But before you can effectively do it, you need to understand the basic psychology. Whether you like it or not, we operate in a world that is governed by concealed forces. We are not totally free. Something confines us and puts us in a constrained place.

In true-life situations, our behavior is determined by the presence of others and how we perceive their possible responses to our actions. In that way alone, we are not free. Society shapes our freedom (if there’s any). People are intervening with our decision on a daily basis. Can we take some sort of control over other people?

Well, not if you don’t learn the power of psychology. The truth is that you can also affect people’s behavior and direct them on what to do. But this strategy is not what you learn from your teacher in school.

As mentioned, psychology has a direct or indirect effect on our actions. In order to use it, you have to understand its nature. In this post, I will share with you a concept that is commonly known as the reverse psychology.

What is a reverse psychology?

Reverse psychology pertains to a persuasion technique wherein the persuader persuades the target by suggesting the opposite. This method relies on the person’s reactance the tendency to react against any act of persuasion.

Reverse psychology is commonly used by parents for their children. A good reverse psychology example, in this case, is when a parent wants a child to stop playing video games and go to bed early. Normally, a child does not follow. A parent may say, Don’t ever, ever stop playing that game until tomorrow morning.

In this case, the parent seemingly allows the child to play the video game. But guess what, the child, in most cases, would stop playing. This may sound funny but you might also experience it during your childhood. But what is really happening? What makes the child do the opposite?

How reverse psychology works?

The reason why reverse psychology works is that people are afraid of losing their freedom to make their own choice. As a result, they protect that freedom of choice by reacting. This behavioral tendency is called reactance. A person may become reactive when his freedom of choice is threatened.

Reverse psychology is actually taking advantage of a person’s reactive tendency. When you threaten the person’s perception of freedom, he will more likely want to exercise that freedom. Take this another reverse psychology example:

Suppose that a child does not want to eat broccoli. The parent may say, You can’t eat the broccoli. As a response, the child starts eating the broccoli. Why? Because taking the child’s freedom to decide, the child felt free to decide thus he eats the broccoli.

Does reverse psychology always work?

Some experts believe that reverse psychology will not always work. It depends on the reactance level of a person. This means that the more reactive a person, the more he is prone to reverse psychology.

In most cases, irritable and emotional people are prone to reverse psychology. While the agreeable and compliant ones are less prone to reverse psychology.