We’re Obsessed with Consistency in Words and Actions

When people on a seashore observed a staged larceny of a radio from a nearby towel, only 20 percent reacted; but if whoever owns the towel first asked individuals to “please view my things,” 95 percent of them became near-vigilantes, chasing down the thief and powerfully grabbing back the radio. Their desire to be consistent in what they’d said trumped their concern for personal safety.

However, what orders consistency? The answer is simple: dedication. Research implies that once we commit to something with words or actions, we wish to not be inconsistent with it; and public dedication is the most powerful driver of all. A juror in a court of law, for example, is extremely unlikely to change her view once she has openly said it.

We even alter our very own self-image to be consistent with our earlier actions.

For example, Chinese interrogators got American prisoners to collaborate after the Korean War by asking them to make very small concessions such as signing and writing statements that were innocuous like “America isn’t perfect.” His compatriots frequently labeled the prisoner a “collaborator” when these statements were read across the prison camp.

The prisoner subsequently started to find himself as a collaborator too, thus becoming more helpful to the Chinese. He efficiently adjusted his self-image to not be inconsistent with what he’d done. In writing, having the commitment was also an important component in this process; there is something inescapably powerful in written words signed by oneself.

This broadly known foot in the door technique takes advantage of how even little obligations affect our self-image and is very favored by salesmen who frequently secure substantial purchases by getting customers to first make little obligations that change their self-image before a more substantial deal is offered.

We are near-obsessed with being and appearing consistent in our words and actions.

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Shortcuts in Judgement

Our shortcuts in judgment can be used against us.

Occasionally the behaviour of creatures can look ridiculously easy. Look at the mother turkey, which even assaults them or usually cares greatly for its chicks but left if they don’t emit their distinguishing “cheep-cheep” sound. Even as little as a replica of the turkey’s archnemesis, the polecat, will arouse tender attention in the mother turkey provided that it “cheeps” loud. The sound is an easy cause: a shortcut that faithfully identify its chicks allows the turkey to rapidly and, generally.

In the event of the replica polecat, the mother turkey’s shortcut appears rather silly, but we too use mental shortcuts that are similar. We just must, as the planet is a complicated area where it’s not possible for people to ponder the information on each decision we make. Therefore, we use shortcuts that are fast, and they serve us.

As scientists can deceive a turkey into mothering a polecat that was filled, so called compliance professionals, like advertisers, con artists, salesmen etc, can mislead us into using our shortcuts against our personal interests. They often do that to get us to comply with their demands, for instance, to purchase a product.

Usually abused is the “cost suggests quality”-shortcut: people generally suppose items that are expensive are of higher quality than ones that are inexpensive. Frequently this shortcut is somewhat accurate, however a salesman that is wily might put it to use against us. As an example, memorabilia stores frequently sell stone that are unpopular by increasing rather than lowering their costs.

We have to recognize and protect ourselves against the manipulators who deceive us into wrong using those shortcuts, lest we wind up looking as silly as the poor mom turkey because dealing with all the complexities of life means needing to rely on shortcuts.