In the Loop

In the Loop: June 27, 2008 Archive

"Because" . . . a word that will get you what you want

Posted at 12:39 PM on June 27, 2008 by Sanden Totten (1 Comments)

Remember when you would ask your mom, "why can't I watch RoboCop on TV?" and she would say, "because I make the rules!" and that was that?

Well, Mom knew her stuff.

A study found that "because" is a powerfully persuasive word.
The Economist blog lays out the experiment like this:

In the study, a stranger approached someone waiting in line to use a photocopier and asked, "Excuse me, I have five pages. May I use the Xerox machine?" This resulted in 60% of people agreeing to let the stranger go ahead of them. But when the stranger asked instead, "May I use the Xerox machine, because I'm in a rush?", 94% of people complied. And even when the given reason was meaningless--"May I use the Xerox machine, because I have to make copies?"--93% of people complied

The Economist blog goes on to speculate about candidates taking this advice and releasing a series of ads saying essentially "Vote for me because ________."

But if someone cuts in front of you in line for the copier because they "have to make copies," you may let them do it, but you'll probably also think they are a self important jerk! I mean, we all have to make copies pal, what makes you so special?!

So be warned. "Because" may convince people to let you have your way, but it doesn't mean they'll like you for it . . . especially when it comes to watching RoboCop.

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