The human brain is a mysterious thing that can be affected by things in unexpected ways. Every day we’re subtly influenced by things we aren’t even aware of. The following ten examples demonstrate how you can use knowledge of certain psychology hacks to control situations to your advantage, be it socially, professionally, or academically.
10. Throw Them Off Their Game
If you’re playing a sport, or a game and your opponent is doing spectacularly, there’s a psychology hack to throw them off without them even realizing it. Ask them about their technique. Asking them how exactly they’re doing as well as they’re doing takes them out of ‘the zone’ and back into their own head.
And anyone who has ever been in ‘the zone’ can tell you that your head is not where you want to be. Truly hitting your stride in a game is all about not consciously considering all of the things you theoretically know and practiced and just effortlessly putting them into action. Humans have two kinds of memory – implicit memory and explicit memory. Implicit memory is long term and doesn’t require conscious thought. This is where you want to be for games. Explicit memory is what you’re causing them to fall back into – it deals with conscious recall.
9. Don’t Over-Negotiate
Negotiating deals is a mixture of art and science that some people seem to excel at and others just stumble through. One psychology hack to help your cause is to stop talking after you’ve stated your position. Unnecessary words make your position seem weaker by making it look like you don’t even understand it yourself. Over-explaining can also make you appear less confident.
It’s just as common for people to talk too much when they’re nervous as it is to completely shut up. Basically, after you’ve given them what they need to know about your offer, everything you say after that isn’t doing you any favors.
8. Eye Contact
Figuring out just how much eye contact you’re supposed to make in a conversation can be awkward. Especially for the sorts of people who might not be huge fans of having conversations with people they don’t know in the first place. Dale Carnegie, the author of the famous book How to Win Friends and Influence People offered this solution: look into someone’s eyes long enough to tell what color they are before you look away.
This feels like a natural and conversational amount of eye contact to make. A similar trick is to imagine a triangle that connects the other person’s eyes and mouth and shift your gaze between the three points every five to ten seconds. This will make you appear interested in the conversation even if you’d rather be playing video games or eating a sandwich.
7. Remember Names
Whenever you meet someone that you’ll meet again, or even if there’s just a chance that you’ll meet them again, it’s important to remember their name.
People are more likely to want to help you if they feel valued by you, and the start of making someone feel valued is to remember their name. This is because by not remembering someone’s name, whether you intend to or not, you’re telling them that, to you, they’re just one of many. For example, every student in the class knows the teacher’s name. But the teacher may not remember the name of every student.
This is because each student has only one teacher, but the teacher has many students. So by remembering someone’s name, you’re showing them that they’re the only person who fills that role for you.
6. Chew Gum for Tests
Provided that your loud chewing noises don’t cause your classmates to physically attack you, scientists have discovered that chewing gum right before a test could improve your score.
The chewing motion improves the flow of blood to the head, which can help your memory. While the effect lasts only a few minutes, researchers believe that it could prove useful. In the study, students who chewed gum immediately before the test recalled twenty-five to fifty percent more than the students who didn’t chew gum and the students who chewed gum during the test.
Researchers have named the phenomena ‘mastication-induced arousal’. They say that the effects are similar to that of mild exercise. Unfortunately, chewing gum doesn’t burn as many calories as going for a jog.
5. Foot in the Door
This infamous psychological marketing method, known as the ‘foot in the door’ technique, operates on the principle that people are more likely to agree to something big if you can first get them to agree to something small. Social scientists call it “successive approximations”. If you can land a small ‘yes’, you’re going to have a better chance at getting a big ‘yes’.
To study this psychology hack, psychologists in California called women and asked them if they would be willing to answer a few questions about the household products that they use. A few days later, they called again, this time asking if they could send five or six men into the house to go through cupboards and storage places as part of a 2-hour enumeration of household products.
The women who were called previously were twice as likely to agree to this second request than were women who had not been called previously. So the next time you need a favor, consider starting small.
4. Asking Questions
Talking to other human beings can be difficult for some human beings. It can seem like a daunting task. And it can be almost physically painful to sit through an awkward silence. The best way to naturally start conversations, and maintain them so that you can avoid dying of terminal awkwardness is simply to ask questions.
Many people’s favorite topic of conversation is themselves. Questions allow them to take the conversation in that direction. This is how interviews can last for hours and hours: because nobody knows anything better than themselves.
3. First Dates
While many people may think that the ideal place for a first date is a movie theater or a coffee shop, science may suggest that you would be better off taking your date on a roller coaster.
Known as the ‘misattribution of arousal’, this psychology hack describes the process wherein people unconsciously mistake what is actually causing them to feel excited. The roller coaster is what’s actually making your date’s head flood with endorphins and their bloodstream with adrenaline, but they just might think that it’s actually you. An interesting test done on this idea had men cross either a suspension bridge or a normal, sturdy bridge to get to a woman on the other side.
The woman asked them some questions and gave them her personal phone number they could call if they had questions about the study. A greater percentage of the men who had gone across the suspension bridge called the woman, a result that the researchers attributed to the ‘misattribution of arousal’.
Smiling, it turns out, can be a powerful psychological tool. While everyone knows that people smile when they are happy, few people know that smiling can also cause you to feel happy. In a study investigating this, subjects were told to either ‘raise their cheeks’, meaning smile, or ‘contract their eyebrows’, meaning frown, when they were presented with certain images. Subjects found the images that they viewed while smiling to be more pleasant than the ones they viewed while they were frowning. So if you’re trying to cheer yourself up, smile, and you’ll be more likely to smile without having to force it pretty soon. Interestingly, people are also less likely to get mad if they can see their own angry face in a mirror.
People tend to underestimate the effects of their physical bodies on their mental state.
At a library, researchers cut in front of people who were in line to use a photocopy machine. Not because they were really busy, but for science.
They would then ask the person they cut either “Excuse me, I have 5 pages. May I use the Xerox machine?”, “Excuse me, I have 5 pages. May I use the xerox machine, because I’m in a rush?”, or “Excuse me, I have 5 pages. May I use the xerox machine because I have to make copies?”. The first question, ‘May I’ only got people to let them cut sixty percent of the time. However, the second and third questions, the ‘because’ questions, got people to let them cut in line over ninety percent of the time. The third question isn’t even a real reason: ‘because I have to make copies’. Well, everyone who uses a photocopy machine has to make copies.
The person that was cut in line obviously had to make copies. The word ‘because’ has a unique effect on the human mind, and should be considered the next time you’re asking someone for something.
Similarly, people are more likely to help you if you phrase your request as an offer: ‘Would you like to help me’ as opposed to ‘please help me’.
These ten seemingly simple things were lurking under your nose and infiltrating your brain your whole life without you even realizing it. Have you realized any of these psychology hacks working on you? Will you be using them to influence others? Let me know in the comment section down below because I want to know. If you enjoyed this article please sign up – thanks for reading! subconsciously
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