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Why People Often Do The Exact Opposite Of What They’re Told

Psychology, biases

It’s maddening when people do the opposite of what we tell them to do. Remind your boss to look at a report, and he puts it off longer. Discourage a friend from taking a job, and she accepts it. Nudge a colleague to drink less, and she pours herself another drink. Tell a child not to touch a hot stove, and he immediately reaches for it.

And you’re reading this post, even though the headline demanded the exact opposite. What were you thinking?

The psychology of reverse psychology boils down to three key principles. If you’re not careful, all three can become sources of bias or weapons of influence.

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