How Reverse Psychology Works (Don’t Watch This Video)

Summary: You don't want to know this information about reverse psychology - the technique of using inverse speech to convince someone to do something.

Reverse psychology is a tactic used to persuade someone to do something. It’s often used in interpersonal relationships, parenting, and marketing. The idea is to say the opposite of what you want someone else to do, hoping they do what you truly want. Reverse psychology can be highly effective at convincing and persuading people, coercing them into doing things they normally would not.

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We naturally want what we cannot have. When we were a child, when our parents told us to not do something, we ended up doing it anyway. This is why reverse psychology is so effective. By telling someone the opposite of what you truly want them to do, they may just do what you really want. Since we naturally like to disobey and have what we cannot, our mind hears a phrase such as, “Clean your room,” and wants to do the opposite. Yet if we hear, “Don’t clean your room,” we may just do the opposite.

Reverse psychology can be used to get children to do what the parent wants them to do, by giving them suggestions and orders that are the inverse of what the parent actually wants them to do. It also comes into play with relationships where someone will ask their partner to do certain chores, such as cleaning, but the partner never does. By giving an exhausted sign, the person may say, “I’ll just do it myself then. It’s always easier with help, but I’m all by myself on this one.” This exhausted sign and tone guilts the partner into helping them. Another example is when someone is urging their partner to clean while they are gone, but may say, “But I know you won’t.” This creates a challenge within the mind of the person to want to prove their partner wrong.

Now you see why this is so effective. Since the partner doesn’t want to be wrong, as it looks bad on them and they can have a negative view of themselves with shame, they end up doing what their partner really wants. If they didn’t, they would only have themselves to blame and would feel guilty as it would negatively reflect on their personality that they didn’t help out. This guilt is intertwined with reverse psychology to manipulate the person to do things they normally wouldn’t on their own. This can be highly beneficial for relationships, but caution must be used as manipulation of any kind can get ugly real fast, especially if the relationship is unhealthy.

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Marketing is also another great example of reverse psychology. When someone is trying to sell you something, they will often make you feel like the only one without the item, and like you are missing out while your peers are far ahead of you with the new fancy gadget. They may even combine negative and positive words together to sell you the item, such as, “You don’t want this item. It has all these fancy features that you probably don’t need that make life so much easier. It’s far superior to the previous model, so much faster. You would love it.”

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This may make you want the product more with all the fancy features that you truly don’t need, but they convince you that it’s far better than the initial one you were looking at. They may even offer a price that is far too expensive for you, making you want it more since it’s far above what you were going to pay for it. But, then negotiate a lower price, which is actually higher than the retail price of the item anyway.

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To recognize reverse psychology, you must realize the true intention of why someone wants you to do something. It’s not all bad, but realize when you’re being manipulated to avoid doing things that aren’t of your best interest. Reverse psychology can manipulate your mind, tricking you into following an order that is outside your best judgment, but you can recognize it by thinking deeper about the motive behind the person who’s manipulating you and what you truly want. Is what you desire coming from within, or an external source?

By telling someone they don’t want something makes them want it more. This is reverse psychology since we naturally want what we cannot have. It’s used in many aspects of relationships and marketing. It’s not all bad, but surely recognize when you’ve been manipulated and are following orders that are not your own.

Let me know how this works for you. Have a great day!

Additional Info

Reverse psychology is a great tool to get people to do something, but I tend to not be really good at it. I’m usually up front with people and honest, not trying to manipulate them. Technically I could view it as a persuasion technique to get people to do what I wish, but I also feel disingenuous. It’s not all bad I suppose, but surely I don’t really use it.

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About the Author

Autumn Asphodel
My name is Autumn Asphodel (also known as Elle Stone) and I am a motivator and coach to help others live a better life through natural means, hard work, and dedication.

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