'You Will Probably Refuse' - The Four Words That Make You More Likely To Do Something

A Jedi mind trick for the everyman

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Getting people to do what you want is great, particularly when you can achieve it without extortion or the threat of violence. 

Luckily it turns out the key to escaping a family dinner or your getting a colleague to take some of your workload is simple: make them think it was there idea in the first place.

A recent study by the Polish Psychological Bulletin has found that using the words "you will probably refuse" to preface your request makes people significantly more likely to help. To prove the theory researchers asked people to donate money to charity asking either, "You will probably refuse, but I wonder if you could help us by making a donation," or the same question without the four magic words. 

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Despite most of those asked still not being willing to donate, the former group were much more willing to empty there pockets when they believed they were giving a surprising answer. 39% of that group donated whereas just 25% did when asked directly.

Study author Nicolas Guéguen wrote that the research "seems to show that this sentence could be considered as a new verbal way to increase compliance with a donation request." Ny Mag backed this up adding, "People like it when you give them an out, a common-sense notion that is at the heart of something called reactance, a decades-strong theory in psychology that says most people have a strong aversive reaction to restriction."

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Guéguen also concluded in the research that, "Previous studies have indicated that a few
sentences that are included in a helping request increased
the number of participants who comply. It has been
reported that adding the sentences "You are free to accept
or to refuse, but…", "Do not feel obliged, but...", or "Do
as you wish, but..." exerted the same effect."

Got those noted down? Now go get whatever you want.