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The psychology of "free" and why it works

Discussion in 'Education, Research and Inside Reports' started by theprofitlrh, Jan 17, 2010.

  1. theprofitlrh Member

    The psychology of "free" and why it works

    Is a free stress test really free.
    The psychology behind giving something for "free".

    This article is about Krishnas giving people a "free" flower as a way to exploit
    the social norms of reciprocity.

    This article should be of intrest to people looking into how Scientology works on
    the individual when they offer a "free" Stress Test.

    --------------------------------------

    Chapter 26. page 178-183 of
    The Age Of Propaganda(Everyday Use and Abuse of Persuaion)
    By Anthony Pratkanis and Elliot Aronson

    WHAT IS THE INFLUENCE OF ONE FLOWER GIVEN?


    A. C. Bhaktivedanta spent much of his life in India as a manager of a
    successful pharmaceutical company. In the early 1960s, after leaving
    his wife and family and accepting the name of Swami Prabhupada, he
    came to America and founded the International society for Krishna
    Consciousness, a movement devoted to improving the world's spiritual
    health by chants and love for Lord Krishna. Starting from a storefront
    mission on Manhattan's Lower East Side, the swami, in less than a
    decade, was able to gather the resources to establish a worldwide
    network of more than a hundred Hare Krishna temples and communes,
    including forty located in the United States.

    Swami Prabhupada's primary source of income during this
    period of rapid expansion came from public donations and sales of
    religious merchandise, including his two most popular items, Back
    to Godhead
    magazine and a designer edition of the Bhagavad Gita.
    What makes the Hare Krishna's success so remarkable was the
    sales force the swami recruited to sell the society's merchandise.
    The swami selected young people-often teenagers, many of them
    with psychological problems-dressed them in saffron robes, holy
    beads, and B. F. Goodrich sandals, shaved the heads of the males,
    fed them a diet consisting primarily of vegetables (most notably
    dahl and chickpeas), and then sent them into the marketplace
    singing, dancing, and chanting the Hare Krishna. Would you buy a
    copy of the Bhagavad Gita (or anything else, for that matter) from a
    chanting, orange-clad, stubble-headed sales agent? Not likely. The
    Hare Krishna sales force breaks just about every persuasion rule
    (save one) found in this book-they were low in source credibility,
    low in interpersonal attraction and liking, and high in vested self-
    interest.

    How did the swami get thousands of people to part with their
    hard-earned cash to finance his spiritual kingdom? Robert Cialdini,
    one of the world's leading authorities on influence tactics,
    wondered how he did it, too. At first, Cialdini notes, the Hare
    Krishnas were quite unsuccessful in their solicitations. Indeed,
    many towns enacted laws and ordinances prohibiting Krishna begging
    and even banned them from certain parts of town, especially
    airports. Occasionally violence would erupt between Krishnas and
    townspeople. All of this turned around, according to Cialdini, when
    the Krishnas discovered one of society's most effective persuasion
    devices, one capable both of overcoming the Krishnas' negative image
    and of placing of an overpriced copy of the Bhagavad Gita into the
    hands of many a weary traveler. Their technique made use of what
    is called the norm of reciprocity.

    A norm is a specific guide to conduct-for example, tip 15% of
    the dinner bill; don't cut in front of people standing in line at the
    movies; don't urinate in public; don't read other people's mail. If we
    break a norn, we most likely receive some form of social sanction and
    disapproval - a glaring look, gossip and ridicule, shunning and
    ostracism, and sometimes even physical punishment, jail, banishment,
    or death. (Note the reaction of some people to the Krishnas
    because they broke society's dress and social interaction norms.) As a
    consequence of these sanctions, even a young child begins to learn not
    to break the norms. Indeed, when put in a position of transgressing a
    norm, we often feel highly anxious - a feeling that we would like to
    avoid. We may end up obeying the norm almost automatically without
    much thought as to why.

    Often norms can be associated with a specific role (cooking is
    women's work; businessmen are competitive) or a specific culture (eat
    with a fork [as opposed to chopsticks]; don't goldbrick [overproduce]
    in this workshop). Other norms are widely shared and appear in many
    cultures and societies (incest is taboo; honor your commitments). The
    norm of reciprocity is one such norm. It states: "If I do something for
    you, then you are obligated to retum the favor and do something for
    me." Perhaps one reason why this norm is found in so many cultures
    is its value to a society. The norm of reciprocity regulates exchange in
    a culture; it insures that the person who makes the first exchange will
    not be cheated.

    A study by Dennis Regan illustrates the persuasive power of
    the norm of reciprocity-a tactic so powerful that it can overcome
    the effects of being disliked. In his experiment, two male students
    reported for a study that supposedly was investigating "aesthetic
    judgments." One of the men was really an accomplice who, at the
    beginning of the study, attempted to make himself unlikable (by
    being rude and inconsiderate to another person) or likable (by
    being kind and considerate to another). After both "subjects" rated
    art slides for about five minutes, the accomplice slipped out of the
    room for a couple of minutes and returned either empty-handed or
    carrying two cokes and said, "I asked him [the experimenter] if I
    could get myself a Coke, and he said it was OK, so I bought one for
    you, too." At the end of the study, the accomplice asked the real
    subject if he would like to buy some raffle tickets. The results showed
    that when the accomplice gave the other student a Coke and thus
    invoked the norm of reciprocity, he sold nearly twice as many raffle
    tickets, compared to when no Coke was given and regardless of how
    socially attractive he was perceived to be!

    How did the Krishnas use the norm of reciprocity to solicit
    money? Quite simply, they gave the influence target a gift of a flower.
    As Cialdini, who spent hours at the airport observing the Krishnas in
    action, tells it, the sect member would spy a "victim," who would
    suddenly find a flower pressed into his or her hand or pinned to a
    jacket. If the target attempted to give it back, the Krishna would refuse
    by saying, "It is our gift to you." Only then was the request made for a
    donation. The gift of a flower established a feeling of obligation and
    indebtedness. How could this favor be repaid? Quite obviously by
    providing the Society with a donation or with the purchase of an
    attractive edition of the Bhagavad Gita.

    Hare Krishnas are not the only ones to employ the norm of
    reciprocity for persuasive purposes. This may have started on a
    mass scale with the well-known "Fuller-brushman," a fixture of the
    1930s who went from door to door selling brushes. He always began
    by giving the home owner a small inexpensive brush as a way to
    establish the reciprocity norm. A phenomenon of the 1950s,
    Tupperware parties, began with a gift from the company (typically a
    small Tupperware item) and a gift from the party host (refresh-
    ments), thereby obligating the party goer to both company and host
    (who receives a gift from the company if you and your friends buy
    enough). A recent television ad for an antacid began with an
    authoritative looking man stating, "We believe in our product so
    much, that, after watching this ad, if you would like to try our
    product just call us toll-free and we will send you a pack."
    Marketers know that a free sample - a taste of sausage or orange
    juice at the supermarket or a trial packet of cold medicine or
    shampoo in the mail - can greatly increase product sales. Sales
    presentations for such things as vacuum cleaners, automobiles,
    encyclopedias, and beachfront property in Florida often begin with
    a free prize,such as a road atlas, a transistor radio, or a trial magazine
    subscription. Charities and political parties frequently mail free gifts
    of buttons and bumper stickers with catchy slogans when they ask for
    a contribution. Many university professors will receive a free copy of
    this book in the hopes that they will assign it to their classes.

    One ingenious variation in the use of the norm of reciprocity
    occurs in negotiations and has been dubbed the door-in-the-face
    technique. Here's how it works. Imagine that you worked for a local
    blood bank and you wanted to increase blood donations. Using the
    door-in-the-face technique, you would begin by asking for a very
    extreme favor - say, donate blood once every two months for at least
    three years. Such a request would surely be rejected (hence the name
    "door-in-the-face") but might lead to more acceptances of a compromise
    - say, donating one unit of blood - than would otherwise be
    the case. This is exactly what Robert Cialdini and Karen Ascani
    found. In one study, they asked passersby on a University of Arizona
    walkway to either (1) donate a unit of blood sometime tomorrow or (2)
    donate a unit of blood once every two months for a period of three years
    and, when this request was rejected by the passerby, to merely donate
    a unit of blood sometime tomorrow. The results showed that more
    people agreed to give blood and actually gave more blood when they
    received the extreme request first.

    The door-in-the-face technique makes use of two basic psychological
    processes. First, the large request sets up a contrast effect, similar to the
    one that occurs with decoys (see Chapter 9) - giving a pint of blood
    doesn't seem nearly so bad when compared to donating at regular intervals
    for the next three years. Second, the immediate concession by the
    requester invokes the norm of reciprocity. The requester is implicitly
    saying, "I just reduced my request from three years of blood donations to
    just once; now it is your tum to reciprocate my concession." And many an
    influence target does just that!

    Car dealers have learned the value of the door-in-the-face tech-
    nique. Dealers often pad the asking price for an automobile by adding
    an extra price sticker that raises the price of a car by as much as a few
    thousand dollars. Early in the negotiations, the dealer will graciously
    concede this extra charge. Now it is your turn to reciprocate and to
    pay more for that car.

    In general, the norm of reciprocity is successful as a persuasion
    device because it directs our thoughts and carries its own motivation
    to act on those thoughts. We are directed to think "How can I repay my
    obligation?"
    as opposed to "Is this a good deal?"
    Our primary motivation is to avoid the uneasy feeling that comes from transgressing the norm.

    End of Chapter
    ------------------------------------

    Is this one reason why Scienologists offer "free" stress tests.
  2. Anonymous Member

    Re: The psychology of "free" and why it works

    That's one fucking mighty wall o text with a gunning fog index of 15 which means nobody else will read it.

    My comic books are 6.

    But this is better (copied and mauled off the interwebs)



    Then Scientology sink their teeth into your head.
  3. genxanon Member

    Re: The psychology of "free" and why it works

    Interesting read. Genxanon does not suffer from ADD like alot of the people around here....
  4. Anonymous Member

    Re: The psychology of "free" and why it works

    tr;dr

    Social rules mean that when we are given something for free we feel indebted and so are more prone to donate or give time to the giver even though we may not want to.

    This is a classic exploit that plays a part in the "free" stress test.
  5. afternon Member

    Re: The psychology of "free" and why it works

    The law of reciprocity is a basic psychological phenomona and exploited by salemen, advertisers and marketing people alot. Yes- it's why the cult of a "free" stress test, it's also why the cult put a copy of dianetics in the hand of someone after "finding their ruin" saying how the book will help (as if it's a favor).

    It's also something anonymous has done (knowingly or unknowingly)- by offering free hugs or cake- guess what? More people will take your fliers!

    I had a "chugger" (a charity mugger- the people with clipbaord trying to get you to sign up there and then with a direct debit to their charity)- engage me in chat and put a gift box with chocolate and other things in it in order to get me to sign up- he quickly took it back when I refused as I hate pressure salespeople with a passion!

    This law of reciprocity can be used positively by anons by offering something free before or with their leaflets and it doesn't have to cost anything extra it could be included within the leaflet..

    Cialdini also did an experiment with free chocolate(s) with the bill at a resteraunt- more free chocolates= more tip, especially when the second chocolate seemed like an afterthought "because they were nice customers"!
  6. Anonymous Member

    Re: The psychology of "free" and why it works

    Exactamundo. Breaking societal norms is what Scientology trains its followers to do, from TRs to their concept of "out-exchange". That's why /b/tards and Anonymous are so well-adapted to dealing with their mindfuck.
  7. theprofitlrh Member

    Re: The psychology of "free" and why it works

    Does anybody know when CoS actually started using the Stress Test approach ?

    Did they try other sales techniques before settling for the Stress Test?

    Are there an internal Documents relating to this subject?
  8. PimpXenu Member

    Re: The psychology of "free" and why it works

    They used to use "Personality Tests", not sure what date they stopped using that, maybe it was right after the south park episode. Basically, all the results came back saying the person was a horrible prick, and the only way they'll ever be able to become a good person is through dianetics/scientology.

    The current stress tests basically say the same thing as the personality tests, as far as i can see, they're just much more toned down, and easier to break to the public. Instead of "Look dude, you're really fucked up, i dont know how you even made it in here, you need this shit", they say something more like "wow, you're really fucked up, thats ok though, it's just the environment around you thats doing it, we'll teach you how to deal with that."
  9. watsi12 Member

    Re: The psychology of "free" and why it works

    They still use both methods, the stress test and the personality test. The results are always the same ones: the person is terrible (just as you said) and the future will be terrible unless the person starts working on their personality which only works through Scientology courses and books. They try to sell immediately and they are very persistent.
  10. afternon Member

    Re: The psychology of "free" and why it works

    The cult (and thefore Hubbard) certainly use pressure sales techniques- they're good at it- hence so many otherwise intelligent people fell for it and became scilons.

    However- they've nto moved with the times- and they can't because they have to keep to the outdated (and now heavily exposed) "tech".

    Just pass on this info to members of the public about to get their "free" stress test, or, do as some London anons have done and call out each line just before the scilon says it to a memeber of the public!

    See link
    ODIT/UNews: Scientology "HARD SELL" Cue-Cards Retrieved [pics]

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