Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Getting What You Want

Have you ever wanted something really bad but struggled to get someone to give it to you? Here is how to get what you want by asking for more from someone who would give you less.

The"Door-in-the-Face" technique, or DITF, tactic is a tried and tested method for getting what you want. The basic procedure is as follows: You want something, be it an item or a favour. You ask someone, a persuadee, for something so large, expensive or demanding that they are sure to turn it down. Then, you ask for something smaller, cheaper or less demanding. This, according to the method, should get you what you want, even though it is more than what the persuadee was willing to give in the first place.

Salespersons do this all the time. They will offer to sell you a very expensive item, say a £700 dishwasher. Of course you will refuse after which the salesman will try to sell a much cheaper, £400 dishwasher. You are likely to buy this dishwasher even though you were only planning to spend £300. Why is this?

Creepy film demonstrating the DITF tactic

There are a number of processes at work in a situation where the DITF tactic is employed.

  1. Contrast effect: When contrasted with the first offer, the second offer sounds reasonable. A reversal of the process shows how this happens; if the salesperson had offered you a £200 dishwasher first and then the £400 dishwasher, how would you react to this contrast? Thought so.
  2. Reciprocal concessions: According to the golden rule you should do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Similarly, if someone does you a favour or makes a concession, you feel obliged to do the same. It is embedded in our belief in the civilised human to desire consensus. Thus, when the persuader reduces his demands this is percieved as a concession by the persuadee who then seeks to mirror that kindness done unto him.
  3. Self-presentation: People are concerned about how they appear to the rest of the world. This is of course also comparative. If the persuadee rejects the first offer and the persuader lowers his request, the persuadee will feel he makes a comparatively negative figure. He will then try to compensate by accepting the second offer although this is higher than his original ceiling.
  4. Social responsibility: If you turn self-presentation inside out, you get the social responsibility position. If the persuadee feels it is socially responsible to get along, in other words that his internal standards favours consensus, he will try to fulfil those obligations by accepting the second offer.
  5. Guilt: A combination of the above can be understood through the concept of guilt. Refusing the first offer will induce the persuadee with a sense of guilt which he will try to alleviate. According to Gass et.al.(2011), accepting the second offer may not accomplish this but the expectation of the alleviation is enough to achieve the persuader's goal.
Feel free to try this out yourself, but be aware that the conditions have to be right.

  1. Size of first offer: The first offer has to be outside the bounds of what is acceptable for the persuadee, but it should not be outrageously so. This might lead to the persuasion failing and the prospective persuadee rejecting the whole transaction alltogether.
  2. Goal of the persuasion: Dillard et.al. (1984) has found that an DITF persuasion for altruistic purposes, that is one which aims to help the disadvantaged, is 17% more likely to succeed than one merely for personal gain.
  3. Time between offers: In order to profit the most from the contrast between offers, the time elapsed between the two offers should be as brief as possible.
  4. Just one persuader: In order to achieve a reciprocal concession, there should be just one persuader making both offers. If there are two giving one offer each, and especially if they do not make their offers with both present, the persuadee will register the contrast but there will not be a concession from the persuaders' side since that is tied to the first persuader.
  5. The persuadee: A persuadee who is more conscious about what he owes and is owed is more likely to respond to the DITF tactic than one who is not and is less susceptible to reciprocal concessions.
Source: Gass, Robert H. et.al.: Persuasion, Social Influence and Compliance Gaining, 4th ed., Pearson 2011

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

MOD Ebay

Ever wanted your very own fighter jet? Or a skin weaver? It turns out the British Ministry of Defence has their own little ebay-like outlet here. Here are some of the interesting items which can be found for sale there:

For those with 400 rampant animals

For those emergency dentist situations

This is how it is done

No, it is not a metaphor

And finally, for the paranoid driver or the one eager to alleviate his road rage:

Saturday, 14 January 2012

The Shropshire Pumpkin Scandal

Please enjoy this shocking piece of news from last summer. The plot thickens, though, as related in this Have I Got News for You episode. Something's rotten in the county Shropshire...


Champion Shropshire pumpkin grower confesses to cheating

Monday 20th June 2011, 11:05AM BST. 

Scandal has hit a Shropshire village after the champion grower of its annual allotment association pumpkin competition claimed he filled his 186-pound prize-winning squash with water to win.

Barry Truss, 57, of Ryton Road, Beckbury, near Shifnal, has won the competition, which is held at the village’s Severn Stars pub in October, for four years in a row and walked away with a trophy and a £50 prize.

At last year’s contest, which is run by Beckbury Allotment Association, judges could scarcely believe the size of the 13-stone pumpkin, and following Mr Truss’s revelation on Saturday they were right to.

Other allotment holders have lost the plot at his cheating, and even accused Mr Truss of sabotaging rival pumpkins.

The culprit, his wife and his dog caught scheming

Mr Truss, a lorry driver, said his deception was uncovered after he was overheard telling a friend in a bar.

He said: “This kind of skulduggery goes on with everybody. I only did it for a bit of fun. I’ve been doing it for about 10 years and won it four years in a row.

“I haven’t cheated any other of the years, I haven’t had to. We’ve all had a bit of a laugh. I’m scuppered now, no-one will believe I haven’t cheated. There’s one thing for sure, I won’t get away with it again.”

Mr Truss’s wife Carol, 56, was an accessory to the swindle after she spent hours rolling the pumpkin around the garden at last October’s contest to empty it of water to stop organisers discovering his attempt to cheat.

“I was on a night out at the time when I heard that the sponsors wanted to pick it up so I phoned Carol and told her to let the water out,” added Mr Truss, who has had his allotment for 30 years. I was scared there would be a tsunami in their kitchen when they cut it open.

“I asked Carol to take the bung out of the bottom then role it around the garden until it was empty.”

Mrs Truss said: “I was rolling a giant pumpkin around the garden for hours, it was making gurgling noises.”

Mick Scriven, allotment association chairman, said today: “He’s an absolute rogue."

“As things stand he is able to take part in future competitions however there will be heightened security, and we might have to invest in some specialised equipment."

“It’s all very tongue in cheek.”

By Paul Mannion


andrew finch
June 20, 2011 at 11:10

Every one who likes to grow big pumpkins for show cheats , they do not grow to a massive size naturally 

June 20, 2011 at 12:06

Except for Jim’s on the vicar of Dibley !!!! 

Joanne Garner
June 20, 2011 at 11:53

To read our stories in full, log in to the premium 24 website….


June 20, 2011 at 17:32

What’s the problem, Joanne? Do you feel you should be able to see the whole story online for free when readers of the paper have to pay 42p? The Shropshire Star is a business and can’t just give its product for free. 

Rob, Telford
June 20, 2011 at 12:49

I blame the judges – surely they could tell that it was actually a dog and not a pumpkin…. 

June 20, 2011 at 13:37

that really made me laugh rob, how funny. x


Source: Link

Sunday, 8 January 2012

Things Which Look Like Hitler

Why people keep likening things to Hitler, I do not know. It might be a strategy for dealing with the past or it might simply be the familiarity of the nefarious dicatator's exterior which lie at the root of the association. In any case, here are a few things that look like Hitler.

The Original
Der Furrer
The Dogtator

And finally:

A house in Swansea

Swansea City Council is fearing it might attack that pole. For more pictures of animals that look like Hitler, click here.