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.

Friday, March 16, 2018

Would you pay £5000 to be a model?

Would you pay £5000 to have pictures taken for a modelling portfolio? Probably not. But what if someone approached you at a shopping centre and told you that you had what it took to be a model, and for only £50 you could secure a place on a photo shoot? The following persuasion techniques are used to get aspiring models to pay large amounts to get their career started.

The “talent scout” approaches the target and tells them that they have modelling potential. Complementing people makes them more likely to comply with your next request (Goodall et al., 1996).

Sunk Costs
The targets are invited to a photo shoot to build their portfolio and they are asked to pay a deposit (which they are assured will be refunded after attending the shoot). Once they have travelled to the shoot, they are made to wait for hours before the shoot starts. When people have invested time and money into something, they are more likely to continue spending time and money on it, as they don’t want to waste the resources that they have already put in (Arkes & Blumer, 1985).

Low balling
The target may already be aware that they will have to pay for the photos, but it is only after the shoot that they are told how expensive they are: prices start in the hundreds and go into the thousands. This technique is called low-balling and it works because the person has already committed to buying the product when the terms are changed (Burger & Cornelius, 2003).

Time pressure
To add extra pressure, they are told that their photos will be deleted immediately (with an excuse like data protection laws) so if they don’t agree to pay immediately, they will lose the chance forever. Under time pressure, people panic and do not have a chance to think through properly (Cialdini, 2009).

For more information see:

Arkes, H. R., & Blumer, C. (1985). The psychology of sunk cost. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 35, 124-140.
Burger, J. M., & Cornelius, T. (2003). Raising the price of agreement: Public commitment and the lowball compliance procedure. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 33, 923-934.
Cialdini, R. B. (2009). Influence: Science and practice. Boston: Pearson Education.
Goodall, J., Ilustre, I., Marquis, C., Nicolella, N., & Sikaitis, J. (1996). Effects of Flattery in Obtaining Compliance. The Sloping Halls Review, 3.

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