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 6, 2014

Millionaire Matchmaker

Following a 9 to 5 receptionist job this summer, I was deeply inspired and found my dream future career thanks to tuning-in to the Millionaire Matchmaker (a.k.a Miss Patti) at 5.30pm every day after work. Setting up millionaires on dates, earning a killing and keeping the richest for myself – what could go wrong…?
Let’s assume the typical client is Richie, age 70, net worth £38.3million. Following the failure of his fourth marriage to a retired Miss Universe, (29 years old and counting), Richie decided he needed to seek professional help to find the right woman to spend the rest of his days and money in the happiest way possible.

During the first meeting Richie stated his perfect partner as “21 – 25 years old, Swedish, former catwalk model (or similar body type) with an open minded attitude - especially in respect to plastic surgery.” So following the hard work of Miss Patti herself, I would first look at challenging Richie’s current beliefs and changing his ageist, shallow attitude towards women and love.

Utilising the Law of Effect (Thorndike, 1927), positive reinforcement and negative reinforcement (Skinner, 1938) could be used by setting him up on a number of dates with his previously stated dream girl, with one small difference, the girls would be actresses paid to act appallingly (farting etc.) and the dates would be set up to be a complete disaster – cold food, rude waiters and so on. I would then be sure that all dates with more age appropriate women run smoothly, in the best locations, doing something he enjoys and send him lots of chocolates following each date. The use of negative reinforcement in the first case would make Richie avoid chasing after young inappropriate women and the use of positive reinforcement will make Richie date more age appropriate women, who he is more likely to fall in love with and live happily ever after. I would monitor the progress by the number of repeat dates he chooses to have with more age appropriate women.

Skinner, B. F. (1938). The Behavior of Organisms: An Experimental Analysis. New York: Appleton-Century.

Thorndike, E.L. (1927). The Law of Effect. The American Journal of Psychology, 39, 212-222.

Fiona Angell

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