Reverse psychology involves asserting a belief or behaviour that is opposite to the one desired, desiring that this approach will encourage the subject of the persuasion to do what is actually desired.

For example, you desire to see your wife go to Nairobi but you know she will resist. You therefore ask her to go to Mombasa. She refuses and goes to Nairobi in protest and hence you achieve your goal.

The person being manipulated is usually unaware. This technique can take the form of strategic self-anticonformity. Strategic self-anticonformity is when a person advocates a position that is opposite to their true goal, while hiding the fact that they are using a persuasion tactic.

A common example is marketing techniques such as “do not click this link” or “do not push this button”. Strategic self-anticonformity and psychological reactance relate in their expected negativity or disagreeableness to their influence target.

How this works in politics is best illustrated by medieval Roman history. Julius Caesar, the Roman dictator, was assassinated by a group of senators on March 15, 44 BC during a meeting of the senate in Rome, where the senators stabbed Caesar 23 times.

They claimed to be acting over fears that Caesar’s unprecedented concentration of power during his dictatorship was undermining the republic. At least 60 senators were party to the conspiracy, led by Marcus Brutus.

Caesar had served the Republic for eight years in the Gallic Wars, fully conquering modern-day France. After the senate demanded that Caesar should disband his army and return home as a civilian, he refused, crossing the Rubicon with his army and plunging Rome into civil war in 49 BC. After defeating the last of the opposition, Caesar was appointed supreme leader. He was later assassinated.

One character in his assassination is Mark Antony, an intelligent man. He was loyal to his friend, Caesar. When Julius Caesar was assassinated, Antony was distraught and sought revenge against the assassins, first by speaking to the crowd.

He showed how clever and cunning he could be when he convinced the crowd at Caesar’s funeral ceremony to side with him and not with the murderers. The people became excited and rowdy when he teased them about Caesar’s will, waving it in the air and pretending that he was not going to read it. Reverse psychology is used when he first pretends to respect the conspirators, calling them honourable men, and then slowly proving that they are not.

By Nation

Facebook Comments