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Thought Manipulation

 

Techniques General persuasionKellerman and Cole's 64 Strategies > Thought Manipulation

Description | Example | Discussion | See also

 

Description

Get the other person to do as you want them to do by subtly convincing them that it was actually their idea.

Plant seeds at an earlier date. Water the seeds and help them grow. Then when the person comes up with the idea, be impressed. Congratulate them on their wisdom and say you will be fully supportive of their idea.

If their memory is not perfect, you can 'remind' them of what they decided some time ago, even if they had not actually agreed then (perhaps they only said they might agree).

Create false memories by getting them to imagine situations. Ask if they noticed or thought about things (and let them say that they did, of course, even if they clearly did not). You may need to repeat this several times before the memory sinks in.

Do whatever you want to to do, and then when people challenge you, say that they agreed long ago or at a time when they were tired or had been drinking.

Example

Remember last year you said you were going to build a fence for me? Well I guess it's time now to do it.

Did you notice how customers are asking for quicker delivery. What do you think we should do about it?

You said I could go to the party! You said I could!

Discussion

Thought manipulation can be a tricky and deceptive method that is not always done in the best interest of the person -- for example in the way that destructive cults use this approach.

It is a surprisingly common method and we can even persuade ourselves that other people have agreed when in fact they have not. This can be exacerbated when they have shown some agreement but not given permission.

Thought Manipulation is the 58th of the 64 compliance-gaining strategies described by Kellerman and Cole.

See also

Conversion techniques, Interrogation

 

Kellermann, K. & Cole, T. (1994). Classifying compliance gaining messages: Taxonomic disorder and strategic confusion. Communication Theory, 1, 3-60

 

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