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.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

If you don't ask, you don't get

Recently our next door neighbours were having their drives block paved by a company called Drives4u. After seeing the work they were having done my parents decided our house may benefit from having a block paved drive to park all our cars on. After deciding it would be a good idea we asked for a quote and were told they would be round when they had finished said job. Upon taking a look at our drive, the man quoted us £6000. We couldn't believe it could be that expensive? Especially as we had never heard of the company before, we were only going through recommendation and what we had seen. We immediately rejected the quote and told them it was far too pricey and we'd get someone else. Straight away the guy told us he could give us another quote. He then halved the price to £3000. Whilst this is still expensive, it just goes to show how quickly a deal can change out of fear of losing work all together. As a result of them saying they'll give us a cheaper quote, this shows how people aim high so there is room to haggle. They do not necessarily expect the recipient to agree however if a cheaper, more reasonable price is then offered this looks seemingly attractive in comparison (power of alternatives). This is an example of the Just Ask principle. 

The Just Ask principle has been studied by Aaker and Akutsu (2009) who explored the reasons as to why people give to others and to those in need, for example to charities. They explained that we as human beings relish in the idea of having a strong, consistent identity, and we want to be seen as both helpful and as a giver. There main focus is on the simple question of 'Will you help?' of which they believe will evoke a broader personal identity. So in the above example, the guys at Drives4U want to come across as helpful and like they are doing us a favour by lowering their rices for us. In some way we should be flattered that they'd do this for us right? The study found that  the top three components for the decision making process of whether they were going to help were as follows: 

The above table shows the most prominent reasons for the participants to help those when prompted. The most common explanation is for personal identity. It's part of human nature to want to please others, so by manipulating this characteristic and making others feel they should do something to help, more often than not they will if they are asked as they want to seem to be a good, helpful individual. 
In conclusion, the results of this study link to my real life example as its further evidence that we change or enhance our initial behaviour in order to be helpful to an individual. The main reason for this is to socially appealing through our personal identity.

Aaker, J. L., Akutsu, S. (2009) Why do people give? The role of identity in giving. Journal of Consumer Psychology , vol. 19, no. 3, pp. 267-270.

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