Reverse psychology: Don’t Read This

By Rebekah C.

“Vote To Close Troy Library, Book Burning Party On Aug. 5” After many complaints on the tax increase needed to keep the library open, the library decided to start campaigning too. They made Facebook and Twitter groups and posted videos of book burnings. Pretty soon, the campaign went international and people were outraged, protesting against the library closing. Six weeks later, 324 percent more voters showed up than expected, to vote for keeping the library open. They revealed their real intention: “A Vote Against The Library Is Like A Vote To Burn Books.” How did they change everyone’s mind? Reverse psychology.

Realllllly bad, don't even bother reloading the pageReverse psychology, the method of pretending to do the opposite to get someone to do what you want. Parents use this the most, “I bet you can’t eat those veggies in 10 minutes, like Sally can”. The kids take it as a challenge, wanting to show up their parents. Studies have shown that using words like “don’t” makes the person want to do it more. “Reverse psychology is one of those things that almost don’t make sense, but we all respond to it,” says Vicky Li


Some people have figured out a method in using reverse psychology. The best people to use this on are the ones who don’t like authority. The more you fight, the more determined they are to win. After arguing for a while, change your view around to the opposite of what you were saying. Tell the person that they win and you give up, but continue to push the fact that they’ve won. They’ll start agreeing with what you said the first time, but continue to say, “I don’t believe you!” They’ll want to prove you wrong by actually doing it.


A video was posted about a father using reverse psychology on his son. He points at the car, wanting to drive in it instead of walking. The father says no, while the child continues to say yes. Suddenly, the father says yes to taking the car and the child says no, switching their answers around. We can clearly see that the child wasn’t thinking about what he was saying, he just wanted to say the opposite of his father.

To top it all off, here’s a story on reverse psychology used by someone we all know, Lady Gaga. “Lady Gaga is no longer relevant,” “Ever since ‘Born This Way,’ she’s a flop,” “Give her no A-P-P-L-A-U-S-E. DON’T dance to the song at all,” read the video posted online. Believe it or not, Lady Gaga was in this video. The promotion video was posted right after her new single, “Applause” was released. She says not to buy her song, challenging the fans to try and resist her songs. This brought attention to her new song and herself, as an artist. Reverse psychology in this way, can be manipulative, but useful and creative.          


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