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Still here? What you just experienced is reverse psychology at its prime. According to the Cambridge English Dictionary, it is “a method of trying to make someone do what you want by asking them to do the opposite and expecting them to disagree with you.”

We know what it is and how it works. We love to take advantage of it for our own gains and are even aware when it is used on us.

But we STILL let it be a part of pop-culture. And arguably — capitalism.

Within reverse psychology, our need to have power is exemplified. Annoying, huh? Not only do we strive to assert our dominance, not unlike a dog upon a fire hydrant, but we also have a tendency to want to be right.

Because I, obviously, am right.

I don’t know about you, but I’m beyond confused. Why have humans adapted such a complex yet seemingly simple way of manipulating each other?

Maybe because it’s just too easy.

You see, there is such a concept known as reactance; the feeling you get when your power is threatened, and you have a need to establish your credibility in any way, shape or form. Like when your friend bets you won’t chug an entire bottle of Cholula, but you do it anyway.

Essentially, the event that induces reactance causes a yearning to do the opposite of what is intended.

Thus, if you are told you can’t handle the heat, you will swallow your pride, along with a harrowing bottle of hot sauce.

To be honest, I’m still confused … so, let’s talk about why reverse psychology is useful.

It’s used in sales, education, relationships (I wonder how long those last) and more. So, it must be pretty effective, right?

A father can trick their child into thinking vegetables are a godly food. Crazy, huh? All he has to do is pretend that asparagus is a “grown-up food” and voila! Your kid will be eating vegetables left and right.

Callie Byrnes, a Thought Catalogue blogger, wrote about how a student asked his teacher to drop his grade. Yes, you read that right. This seemingly insane request was met with an increase in the student’s grade. Yes, you read that right, too. What kind of tomfoolery is this, you may ask? The student wanted a grade bump so they asked for the opposite?

Normally, people have no desire to relinquish their power or sense of control. So, why fight it?

If reverse psychology leaves you with the results you want (and in comical ways) then take advantage of the human brain. Act like you are repulsed by something in order to make it a larger part of your life. Pretend you hate someone to attract them more, you know, like a healthy kindergarten relationship.

In the end, some people will ultimately get what they want, and those being manipulated won’t be aware of this clear exploitation. Then, and only then, can we all live exhilarating, yet more content lives. (You get that I’m using reverse psychology here, right?)

Some may say reverse psychology is unethical, but let’s look at consequentialism. This doctrine of moral philosophy basically states that the ethics of an action is based on its outcome. So, if no one is being hurt and the person reverse psychology-ing is getting their way, then the consequence is positive.

I recommend all of you use reverse psychology as often as possible in your daily lives. Especially with your teachers and parents.

Oh, and don’t go to the Talon online; it’s got nothing but bad news.
 

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About the Writer
Sam Barney-Gibbs, Ombudsman

Sam Barney-Gibbs is a junior at Oak Park High School. He is currently the 2018-19 Ombudsman.

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