Why did you click the link? I told you not to read this blog post. Do you really think you can just do whatever you want? The person who wrote it told you not to. Have you ever wondered why people are more likely to do something when they’re told not to? Me too.
The theory is called “Reactance theory”. Reactance Theory is a motivational reaction to offers, persons, rules, or regulations that threaten or eliminate specific behavioral freedoms. Reactance occurs when a person feels that someone or something is taking away his or her choices or limiting the range of alternatives. This theory applies when we are told not to do something or not to accept a certain point of view. When we are told we can’t eat sweets before dinner or not to smoke the ganja our inner rebel hops out and next thing you know we are high as fuck, eating sweets for dinner instead of before it. Reactance theory is used by many as a sort of reverse psychology trick, for example naming this post “Don’t read this blog” probably made you more likely to click it wether you realize it or not.
The fear of losing out on choices or limiting one’s freedom will tend to motivationally arouse them and further push them to re-establish the scarce resource. There are 4 stages that explain reactance theory:
1.) Perceived freedom: this is when we believe that we maintain the right to a certain resource. It can be anything we have the mental and physical ability to partake in.
2.) Threat to freedom: this is when we realize the resource we “want” or believe we want is in scarce supply or we are told we can not have it. This can be being what to do (or not to), how to do it (or how not to) or even when to do something (or not to).
3.) Reactance: the reactance stage is the process we go through which makes us internally motivated to get the thing we were told is in limited supply or that we can’t have. The more important the behavior or thing is perceived to be the greater the magnitude of reactance.
4.) Restoration of freedom: this is the final stage when we actually get the thing we believed we would lose. Although we may not actually want to be involved with this certain activity, or acquire this material thing our monkey brains go out and do it/ get it anyways, even though the cost is usually greater than the actual value.
You Really Shouldn’t Read The Rest of This Article
Reverse psychology is commonly used on children because of their high tendency to respond with reactance. It’s also commonly used in business in which it is referred to as “paradoxical marketing”. Companies can use this sort of reverse psychology as a unique selling point. By limiting the supply, exposure and presence of a product they can charge ridiculous fucking prices and people will fork the cash over because the item is almost impossible to find. during the holidays this is common practice for any toy manufacturer to help spread out sales past the holiday season. Why do you think every holiday season there seems to be that one toy that EVERYONE wants but can’t get their hands on, it’s sold out fucking everywhere and the only ones that exist seem to be on eBay for 50x the retail cost. Two months later the retailers like Target and Toy’s R Us magically have an over abundance of them and you’re forced to buy it because you promised your dipshit kids you would get it for Christmas. Here kids happy Martin Luther King Jr. day they finally had Furby’s at the store, now you can let all your other toys we bought you sit and collect dust because we fell for a simple marketing ploy and the Corporate God’s got one over on us again.
So, what did we learn?
Better yet, what didn’t we learn? If reactance theory interests you, and it should’t because it totally doesn’t subconsciously effect you and your behaviors at all, I would suggest a simple Google search to learn more about it. The whole idea of it is pretty fascinating and we can see it play a role in everything from politics to people dropping $5000 and The People’s Elbow to get a pair of fucking Yeezy’s that were hand sewn by an 8 year old in Bangkok for $1.32. There is a decent amount of empirical evidence on reactance theory and wether you acknowledge it as reality or not it is, it effects the choices you make, the things you buy and even how you behave.
Don’t me a favor and don’t share this blog, don’t read any of my other posts and don’t even think about subscribing to our weekly newsletter. You’re probably not smart enough or motivated enough to indulge yourself with applicable information and make your life better anyways so chances are you wouldn’t even if I told you to.