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.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

"Don't be Stupid, This is the Shoot Out"

This is a clip from In Bruges, a film with so much swearing it might make your ears bleed. This is the story of psychopathic crime lord Harry (Ralph Fiennes) who sends two of his hit men, Ray (Colin Farrell) and Ken (Brendan Gleeson) to Bruges to lay low after a hit gone wrong. After a series of events, Harry decides that the only way to rectify the situation is to eliminate Ray and finds him at the hotel he is staying in, hence we find ourselves in the situation in this clip.
Harry and Ray are negotiating the circumstances of their shoot out. Marie, the landlady of the hotel, suggests they both put their guns down and walk away; this is laughed away as that scenario is way out of the Zone of Possible Agreement (ZOPA), the zone which contains the deals in which both parties will be happy to make, and in this case neither Harry or Ray are willing to put their guns down. 
So Ray proposes an idea. He suggests that he jump out of his bedroom window, into the neighbouring canal, giving Harry ample time and space to shoot at him from there. What Ray isn’t negotiating for is his life, as he knows walking away from the situation without the shootout is impossible, as this is below Harry’s Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement (BATNA). He’s done his research, he knows Harry is crazy and is not leaving without killing at least one person today. 
Instead, Ray is negotiating for what he values: the life of the landlady. Ray makes a concession for Harry in the form of allowing the shootout to take place, and in return he asks for Harry to leave the landlady alone. The Door in the Face technique is a prime example of using concessions as a way to get people to say yes; you start off with a big request which is likely to be rejected, and then follow this with a smaller request which seems a lot better in comparison to the previous request, hence people are more likely to say yes (Cialdini et al., 1975).
Harry accepts this request, under the conditions that Ray actually fulfils his side of the bargain and allows a fair fight (I’ll leave it up to you to find out if he does!) 
So, in a rather strange manor, each person is happy with the end result of the negotiation, and the shoot out takes place in true action film style!


Cialdini, R. B., Vincent, J. E., Lewis, S. K., Catalan, J., Wheeler, D., & Darby, B. L. (1975). Reciprocal concessions procedure for inducing compliance: The door in the face technique. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 31, 206 - 215

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