Behaviour Change

PROPAGANDA FOR CHANGE is a project created by the students of Behaviour Change (ps359) and Professor Thomas Hills @thomhills at the Psychology Department of the University of Warwick. This work was supported by funding from Warwick's Institute for Advanced Teaching and Learning.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Thomas Hills My Hero

45 weeks ago today I met him. From the moment I saw him he won me over. He had all the charm symbols; charisma, humour, intellect good clothes, he was the coolest kid (man, 37 actually) on the block. Anyway, for around 5 weeks we were inseparable and as we all know, the more we are exposed to something we like, the more we like that thing (Zajonc, 1968).

I was wrapped around his little finger. He could get me to do anything!!

One-day whist I was putting his laundry into the machine, after I had made dinner and done the washing up. I felt a funny feeling in my stomach; it was an odd feeling like something wasn’t right. I couldn’t put my finger on it but at that exact moment he walked into the kitchen smacked my a** and told me what an AMAZING girl I was. He knew Skinner’s theories off by heart and was a mastermind of The Game!! My funny tummy disappeared and I carried on with my chores.

After the 5-week Honeymoon period the funny tummy kept appearing and the relationship started to disintegrate. I think it was week 2 of persuasion and influence; Nic Hooper was discussing Reverend Jim Jones’ ultimate act of compliance…. That’s when it hit me. I wasn’t in love?? I had been brain washed by Sutton Coldfield’s very own Machiavellian, social profiteer. He had hit me wit every line in Cialdini’s book!! But this was my life, my feelings and emotions. I left the lecture rather abruptly feeling quite sweaty and perplexed.  

After this the relationship deteriorated quite quickly and then one rainy Sunday afternoon without so much as a good bye, I watched his Audi drive away anticipating if I’d see him again.

Being the keen behavioural analysis that I am, and having split up on a few occasions before, I had measured his behaviour. I knew that his baseline RT (how long it would take for him to contact me again) was 5-7 days SD 2. I waited. By the 10th day I was feeling good, actually free. I knew everything was for the best and that funny tummy feeling had completely disappeared.

Don’t get me wrong; we went through all Kübler-Ross stages of grief (Kübler-Ross & Kessler, 2005). Anger, which resulted in a heated argument on the A45, Denial that lead to a drunken phone call stating “Can we just be friends” (yes we have all been there!!) Bargaining, a bit of depression and then finally acceptance.

Then 7 weeks later I get the txt…The dreaded txt.

“Call me its urgent”

Oh God what do I do?? Urgent means time pressure (Benton, et al, 1972). And I do still think he’s really handsome  (Mack & Rainey, 1990). Do I call??

“Call me its urgent”

Oh God he’s only repeated the message it must be important (Pratanis, 2007).

“ I have found your pink Nike trainers in my car I want to return them to you”

Oh, he’s making me an offer; he has my trainers I really should call (Cialdini, 1993). Plus I haven’t seen him in ages and all those photos of him on FB with other girls just make me miss him more (Cialdini, 2007).  Plus Sarah Jones always gets back in touch with her x boyfriends and she’s ok (Cialdini, 2007). 

Actually she’s completely bonkers, but????

“Sam call me, I miss you and you know how much I like you in those pink Nike trainers”

Oh God its like kryptonite!! I like him (Morgan & Bergeron, 2007).  I have already refused his initial request so I feel a little guilty (O’keef & Figge, 1999).  Further to this he has flattered me, how can I refuse (Gordon, 1996).  I sit still with anxiety running through my veins.

“ Look Sam, I know you’re a little angry with me. But we both knew it would never work. You want children and I don’t. But we do get on well, I really do miss you. I would like to see you. Why don’t you come get your trainers and we can watch a film together tonight?

What do I do?? I’m feeling a little sad, so I start to consider my short-term goals (Lerner, Li & Weber, 2013). Yeah in the long run I do want children and yeah it will never work, but I could really do with a nice cuddle, some good humour and he always picks out the best movies for me. All of a sudden my mood is all over the place, what I had planned to say in this situation is just not coming out (Forgas, 1998). I’m in two minds, what I internally want and what I should do just disagree (Malhotra & Bazerman, 2007).  My emotional involvement has clearly hindered my negotiation skills (Hsee & Rottenstreich, 2004).  And I’m stuck… Frozen with no proper answer to give.

At that precise moment a rather scruffy, eccentric man with stripy grey/black, hair flew through my open window. He was wearing kaki trousers a t-shirt with a massive green N printed on it and a funny yellow cape embellished with elephant and bears.  I looked at him in complete shock (as I promise you this had never happened to me before).

“Hello Samantha my name is Thomas Hills, I am your negotiation hero, and I am here to help you through this turbulent time”

“Hello Thomas” I said in complete disbelief!! He had an extraordinary accent, I kinder recognised him but I was feeling emotional so my source monitoring levels must have been down (Johnson, Hashroudi & Lindsey, 1993). Thomas was an expert in negotiation because this one time he had bought a motorbike from a man for 250 Swiss Francs less than anticipated.

He explained to me the importance of knowing exactly what you want before you enter a negotiation.

“Do you know your BATNA’s???” He said.

He explained my best alternatives to the negotiation agreement. He introduced me to Tinder, Plenty of Fish and more excitingly Sugar Daddy (Warwick university does not indorse these dating websites and others are available)!! My positive feeling automatically increased (Pinkley et al, 1994) and all of a sudden I understood the other/ better outcomes that I faced (White & Neale, 2001). 

Then he described the zone of possible agreement (ZOPA). See I wanted children but my x just wanted to watch movies together so our ZOPA was completely out of sync. I argued with Thomas that since I hadn’t responded my x his offers were coming thick and fast and if I just held out a little longer he might even agree to have babies (Adler & Gundersen, 2007). To this Thomas explained that a skilled negotiator held their ego in check and had a balanced thinking about what was best for both parties (Gates, 2011). I realised Thomas actually knew what he was talking about and using a persuasive technic to ensure the birth of my first-born was a little unrealistic and immoral. So after taking a moment to gather my thoughts and structure my argument (Lange, Banends & Jaro, 1998). I was ready to reply.  

“Hello, I would like to see you too. However I want children and you don’t. So on this occasion we will have to agree to disagree. I thinks its best we don’t see each other tonight J

“Ok Sam no worries maybe another time”

“Yeah Maybe”

My anxiety had gone and everyone seemed happy!! Just by knowing my BATNAs understanding my ZOPA and stating clearly what I wanted, we had reached a safe outcome.

I turned to Thomas in amazement ecstatic with the negotiated outcome. But Thomas was gone he had vanished up, up and away to the brightest day and blackest night, So that no poor negotiating skill could escape his site!!!

“My Hero” I whispered to my self…..………….” I wonder if he wants babies?????”


Adler, N. J., & Gundersen, A. (2007). International Dimensions of Organizational Behaviour. Stamford: Cengage Learning.

Benton, A. A., Kelley, H. H., & Liebling, B. (1972). Effects of extremity of offers and concession rate on the outcomes of bargaining. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 24, 73-83.

Cialdini, R. B. (1993). Influence: The psychology of persuasion. New York: Morrow.

Cialdini, R. B. (2007). Influence. HarperBusiness: NY

Forgas, J. P. (1998). On feeling good and getting your way: Mood effects on negotiator cognition and behavior. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 74, 565–577.

Gates, S. (2011). The Negotiation Book: Your definite guide to successful negotiating. John Wiley & Sons.

Gordon, R.A. (1996). Impact of ingratiation on judgments and evaluations: A meta-analytic investigation. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 71, 54-70.

Hsee, C. K., & Rottenstreich, Y. (2004). Music, pandas, and muggers: on the affective psychology of value. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 133(1), 23.

Johnson, M. K., Hashtroudi, S., & Lindsay, D. S. (1993). Source monitoring. Psychological Bulletin, 114, 3-28

Kübler-Ross, E., & Kessler, D. A. (2005). On grief and grieving: Finding the meaning of grief through the five stages of loss. Simon and Schuster.

Lange, A., Barends, E. and Van Der Ende, J. (1998), Self-control in distressed couples: a pilot study. Journal of Family Therapy, 20: 367–382.

Lerner, J. S., Li, Y., & Weber, E. U. (2013). The financial costs of sadness. Psychological Science, 24, 72–79.

Mack, D., & Rainey, D. (1990). Female applicants' grooming and personnel selection. Journal of Social Behavior & Personality.

Malhotra, D., & Bazerman, M.H. (2007). Negotiation genius: How to overcome obstacles and achieve brilliant results at the bargaining table and beyond. New York: Bantam Books.

Morgan, T., & Bergeron, A. (2007). The effect of teach likability on student compliance. Journal of Undergraduate Psychological Research, 2, 54-56.

O’Keefe, D. J., & Figge, M. (1999). Guilt and expected guilt in the door-in-the-face technique. Communication Monographs, 66, 312-324.

Pinkley, R. L., Neale, M. A., & Bennett, R. J. (1994). The impact of alternatives tosettlement in dyadic negotiation. Organizational Behaviour and Human Decision Processes, 57, 97-116.

Pratkanis, A. R. (2007). Social influence analysis: An index of tactics. The science of social influence: Advances and future progress, 17-82.

Zajonc, R. B. (1968). Attitudinal effects of mere exposures. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 9, 1–27.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.