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ChangingMinds Blog! > Blog Archive > 09-Jul-10

 


Friday 09-July-10

Littering with disgust

I was in Dublin recently and saw the following sign on rubbish bins in the city:



 

'Litter is disgusting; so are those responsible.' So what is going on? What method of persuasion is being used here? This is a classic two-step sequential method, where the first sentence ('litter is disgusting') is easy to accept, and also in this case difficult to reject. Having got you hooked, the next sentence is the killer: 'So are those responsible'. Now you are compelled to agree that people who litter are disgusting.

Now disgust is a particularly powerful thing, as if I disgust others they will quickly eject me from their social groups and I will become that most feared of things, an outcast. To be ostracized is to have one's need for belonging to be removed and most people really do not want this to happen. So they distance themselves quickly from anything that will cause this, which in this case means not littering!


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