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10 things manipulating you into spending too much money and what you can do to resist:

Stashed in: #lifehacks, #happiness, Influence!, Negotiation, @bakadesuyo, Awesome, Music, Gambling!, Selling!, Cognitive Bias

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  • The word sale makes us less likely to comparison shop and yellow tags fool us into thinking we're getting a discount even when we're not.

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Basically, everything is a trap designed to make you lose your inhibitions. :)

I shudder to think what will happen when many of these principles start being systematically and consistently applied by marketers everywhere... This is why personal manipulation of context (to a degree which is possible and practical) is so vital.

So you think these techniques aren't currently being systematically applied by marketers everywhere?

Systematically and consistently? No. Perhaps by some and many old rules of thumb contain the seeds of these ideas but much of marketing today is still more art than science -- though that is changing quickly. Right now I don't think too many people are running down a list of influence principles making sure all we're engaged optimally...

Well then we're pioneers. We study gamefication and psychology and social science and the brain, in the name of understanding humans well enough to know how to concoct that perfect cocktail of persuasion and influence.

If we can figure out methodically the perfect set of principles, then can we also figure out the antidote?

Or is the only antidote awareness?

It's interesting: for many influence principles awareness does seem to neutralize effects. But I believe there are other methods where we're still affected even if we know we're being manipulated.

Right, that's why Casinos as a whole won't go out of business.

We know the house always wins, yet we willingly go to the house to be entertained.

And casinos are actually a great example. I'd wager (ha!) they're probably the most on top of the science of influence and use it very consistently and strategically. Granted, the most effective techniques are probably the least subtle (getting you drunk, etc.)

Actually, you're right that the most effective techniques are the least subtle:

1. Slot machines have the worst odds but make the most money for their owners. So why do people play slots? Flashing lights, simple rules, and random payouts.

2. No clocks + No windows + Free drinks = Your entire environment is crafted to keep you playing. The more you play, the more you lose.

3. BUT you lose your money slowly on average. Even calling it "play" connotes a form of entertainment.

#3 is the boiling frog scenario. People lose their money too fast and they leave. Slowly, over the time, while given the illusion they can win it all back -- that's how you bleed'em dry.

Which is even more profound when you consider that everyone who plays KNOWS THIS but willingly plays anyway.

And in fact, they keep coming back to the casino again and again.

I'm still not sure why gambling is a legal activity. It seems to hurt people a lot, but I'm not seeing the benefits.

This is the cognitive/emotional split again. People just aren't that rational:

Or, maybe people ARE rational, and they see "gambling" as "paying for entertainment", not "trying to win something"?

I think "paying for entertainment" is how many people rationalize losing lots of money while "trying to win something." :)

I think you're right. 

I think marketers are more advanced than we realize.

I had a walk through a few grocery stores with a beer distributor a couple years ago. 

He was very clear and data driven where/why to put items to push sales up a between 2 and 10%. 

Kids cereal on low shelves, "healthy" cereal on the top shelves, lots of subtlety being used.

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