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Emotion and Investment

 

Explanations > Emotions > Emotion and Investment

What is 'investment'? | The effects of investment | So what

 

Investment is an important principle in emotion, especially if you want to change minds and get people to act in desired ways.

What is 'investment'?

Emotional 'investment' in a subject is the degree to which emotions are evoked when the subject is encountered.

Things in which we can invest include:

  • Relationships with others.
  • Ideas and ideologies.
  • Membership of groups.
  • Pleasures such as listening to music and hobbies.
  • Development of our selves and our careers.

Examples of emotional investment include:

  • A couple who love one another and who are committed to their partnership.
  • A football supporter who is passionate about the local team.
  • A member of a religion who regularly prays and attends church.
  • A stamp collector who studies the history of stamps.
  • The drive for personal success that leads to study and qualification.

In relationships, investment is often a reciprocal arrangement, where there is a joint decision to invest in one another.

The effects of investment

Investment leads to deep commitment and there may well be a spiral of actions and further investment that serves to progressively deepen investment.

Typical effects of emotional investment include:

  • Increase in loyalty (to other people, social groups, brands, employers, etc.)
  • Spending time and money on the subject.
  • Seeking to persuade others to also become invested.

Examples of these effects of investment include:

  • A loving couple who would not consider other romantic attachments.
  • A football supporter who attends every game, even distant away fixtures.
  • A member of a religion trying to convert 'non-believers'.

Once a person is invested, then they will not only act in ways supportive of the investment, they will also seek to justify the investment to themselves, typically by becoming more invested and possibly seeking to get others invested also.

Investment leads to higher levels of emotion, including delight, frustration and anger. In contrast, lower investment leads to neutral emotions. For example, consider a scenario where a local football team beats a national football team. The local team supporters would be delighted, and the national team supporters disgusted. Others, who are less invested in their teams would merely be surprised.

In relationships a certain degree of investment is expected by each party. If the actual investment is below the desired investment, then this will cause tension. There may also be an upper limit on expected investment and when one person over-invests relative to the expectation of the other person, then this also can cause problems.

So what?

If you want a person to take something seriously, work to get them emotionally invested in the subject. There are two key stages to this: (a) Getting sufficient initial investment to get them committed, and (b) Sustaining the investment to keep them operationally active.

Gaining initial investment

Was to get people emotionally invested include:

  • Being passionate yourself, raising the emotional temperature and showing the way.
  • Connect the area of investment to the person's needs and goals.
  • Offering proof that socially desirable other people are already invested.
  • Asking them to take small and easy steps.
  • Get them to give something they value.

Sustaining investment

Ways to sustain investment include:

  • Getting them to act in aligned ways (so they have to justify their actions to themselves).
  • Get them actively involved in ways that show to others their investment.
  • Creating evidence that their investment is paying dividends.
  • Making it difficult to divest or otherwise awkward to return to the previous low-investment state.

See also

Change Techniques, Investment principle, Investment Model

 

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