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Daring principle


Principles > Daring principle

Principle | How it works | So what?



If you dare me to do something, I daren't not do it.

How it works

Daring triggers basic drives to prove oneself, especially to one's peers and even more so to attractive members of the opposite sex.

Testosterone rules

A common factor through many species is the competition between males - often with the prize of first choice from the females.
Actual fighting is generally a bad idea as even if you win you can get seriously hurt. A way of winning without fighting is a display of courage. The effective message to other males is 'if we have to fight, I will not give in easily'.

Women compete and fight too and can be remarkably courageous, especially in the defense of family and close friends, but the evolutionary drives of men towards open risk-taking are much greater.

The dynamics of dares

Dares are often used in groups of young men to challenge one another to perform dangerous feats. Although these can involve physical danger, they are more often than not social in nature and sometimes enable valuable learning, for example where a boy is dared to ask out a girl.

The psychology of the dare is that the dared person is caught in a double bind. They have the choice of either accepting the dare or appearing as a coward and suffering a social lowering in status. Faced with such a choice, many people accept the dare, attracted as much by the potential kudos as the fear of ridicule.

Some people find great pleasure in the thrill that dares create, and saying "I dare you..." to them is like waving a red rag at a bull.
Dares can take many forms and can be very subtle. The only qualification is that the target feels impelled to act. You can have group dares ('Now who can do this?'), reverse dares ('I wouldn't if I were you') and more.

So what?

First, assess their preferences and act accordingly. For example:

See also

Extraversion vs. Introversion, Risk bias, Contrarian vs. Conformist

Theories about resistance

Theories about being contrary

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