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 21, 2018

Me: Can you cook me breakfast in the morning?

Him: Like what?

Me: Bacon, eggs, tomatoes….

Him: No, I won’t have time.

Me: Could you do something now and stick it in the fridge instead?

Him: Umm, yeah, sure.

Me: *smirks* Thanks honey.


I often prepare breakfast the night before, but one night it had slipped my mind. As my husband was getting ready for bed, I had a cunning plan. If I asked him for a big favour first – cooking me breakfast in the morning, which is very effortful and time consuming – and then a smaller favour – which required much less time and energy -then chances were, he would do the second one. Needless to say, he went and made my breakfast without hesitation. This is called the least-of-evils technique (Pratkanis, 2007), whereby I gave my husband a limited number of options, so that he felt he was free to choose the “lesser of evils”, even though I wanted the second option all along.


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