8 Psychological Tricks That Actually Work
Have you every found yourself agreeing to certain favors you thought you would never agree to? Or perhaps you’ve found yourself in situations you swore you’d never be in? But somehow, someone persuaded you…
Well, these friends of yours may be using psychological tricks to get you to do what they want, or… they’re just really persuasive and nice. 😊
But it might get you thinking:
What psychological tricks actually do work?
Well, there are a lot of sneaky tricks out there that may have been used on you. Some of these tricks are cleverly being used by teachers, psychologists, and even your friends!
But don’t worry, just because they’re tricks doesn’t mean they are all being used for bad, some are used by teachers and doctors for good.
So… you wanna know what some are?
Here are eight psychological tricks that actually work.
1. Call Them by Their Name
No! Not Call Me by Your Name!
For the love of peaches! (Although, by the way, that’s a great film.)
Call them by their name. People love their names, they love it when people talk about them! …Most of the time.
So saying someone’s name mid-sentence is a great way to grab their attention and redirect the conversation back to you – or them.
Ever noticed how, as a child, teachers would often say your name in the middle of teaching or lecturing you on a subject? That’s because when we hear our own name, it grabs our attention and pulls us back to reality. School teachers don’t want their students to be distracted, so they say their students names to bring them back to the discussion at hand.
Same goes for making someone notice you. While in conversation with someone you admire, try saying their name often and at the beginning and/or end of questions. This will grab their attention and also add a bit of charisma to your normal conversations.
We love our names so much, that we can even pinpoint our own names being spoken by someone in a loud crowd or party. This form of selective attention is related to the ‘cocktail party effect’. While in a crowded or loud room, we can hone in on a specific conversation of our choosing. More importantly, if our name is spoken nearby – even when we are focused on another conversation – we immediately perk up and recognize that someone is talking about us.
It’s as if our brain can filter out the loud noises of others at a party so we can focus on the person who is talking to us. But when our name is spoken close by, it’s as if a signal is sent to our brain to notify us: someone’s talking about you!
2. Hand Someone Something Mid-Conversation
Here’s a fun trick.
Let’s say you really need help carrying something up to your room, but your pesky brother doesn’t seem to want to help you. Try, handing them the object mid-conversation.
If you do want to perhaps play a funny trick, try handing someone something totally random during your deep conversation with them.
For some bizarre reason, when people are in the middle of telling a story, or engaged in a conversation, they will generally take anything you reach out and hand them mid-conversation.
Go ahead, try it out!
Eating a banana? Go ahead and have them randomly take that during your deep analytical discussion. Got a heavy bag you need carried? Hand them the bag in the middle of your deep reflection and emotional story about your old cat Freckles, and they’re bound to help you carry the load.
Emotionally, and physically.
3. Practice the Pavlov Theory by Chewing Gum During an Exam
Believe it or not, bubble gum just may help you ace your next big exam.
What?! I know what you’re thinking: how on earth will chewing gum improve my test scores?
Let me explain.
If you really need to ace that next exam, you might want to find a distinct flavor of gum, and start chewing it during your study sessions. Then, when you take the exam, you will have conditioned yourself to associate that flavor of gum with the information you studied. This may just help you retain or remember the information during the test, if you taste that flavor again during the test.
This is a form of conditioning that started from the Pavlovian Theory. According to Husson University Online, the “Pavlovian theory is a learning procedure that involves pairing a stimulus with a conditioned response.
“In the famous experiments that Ivan Pavlov conducted with his dogs, Pavlov found that objects or events could trigger a conditioned response. The experiments began with Pavlov demonstrating how the presence of a bowl of dog food (stimulus) would trigger an unconditioned response (salivation). But Pavlov noticed that the dogs started to associate his lab assistant with food, creating a learned and conditioned response.”
You can read more about the fascinating experiment here.
So next time you study for a test? Bring out the bubble gum, and get chewing! It may just earn you that A+.
Thank the bubble gum, and Pavlov’s dogs.
4. Imagine You Are Where You Want to Be in Life
Okay, this one can really help you if you use it correctly.
Using a form of cognitive dissonance to benefit you, try changing your mindset to the person you want to be.
According to Medical News Today, cognitive dissonance is “a theory in social psychology [that] refers to the mental conflict that occurs when a person’s behaviors and beliefs do not align.”
But instead of experiencing discomfort, try using cognitive dissonance to motivate change. If you can’t get your behavior to reflect your goals. Try convincing your mind that you are already someone who is actively working on those goals. It may just change your thoughts for the better and help motivate you.
Let’s say you have a bad habit of spending too much money. Shopaholics unite!
No but seriously, we need to stop buying.
Try telling yourself that you just aren’t the type of person who likes shopping a lot. It’s not your thing. Changing your mindset could possibly change your actions if you really work at it.
Perhaps your feeling a bit sad and always look to the negative of situations – although it is important not to suppress your emotions – try to imagine yourself as a person who always looks to the bright side in situations and you may be inclined to start seeing the good during your grumpy day.
Have a shy personality, but really want to make friends and become more outgoing? Try telling yourself you have loads of friends and are charismatic at heart. Everyone loves you! So why wouldn’t you soon start believing it, and develop the confidence to speak more with others?
Or if you have a goal? Try using cognitive dissonance to your advantage by imagining you are the successful goal-oriented person who has provenly acted on their goals with great results. When you have free time, you may just have those goals on your mind, and want to act on them.
So go ahead, try it out! Changing your mindset to the person you want to be, may set you on the path to become them.
If you imagine you are who you want to be in life, you’ll finally be able to be that person, instead of waiting and daydreaming about becoming them. It’s you all along.
5. Ask for a Big Favor, Then Change it to a Small One
You really want that adorable chinchilla you’ve been eyeing in the shop window. You pass by that pet store everyday and he’s just there. Staring you down with his cute little eyes.
Your birthday is coming up, you don’t have the cash to buy him yourself, and you want to name him Giblets.
Well, if you do want to use psychological tricks to your advantage, although a bit sneaky, try asking your parents for a dog first.
Whoa! But a dog is so much more responsibility!
Yes, but if you ask someone for a big favor first, they are bound to say no. But, if you change it a while after to a favor that is smaller, they are less likely to say no.
In psychology, this technique is called the “door-in-the-face” (DITF) technique and can be used in many situations. Someone simply requests a lot from you, and then when you say no, they simply lower the amount drastically, so the new offer doesn’t sound as bad.
So if you desperately need twenty bucks but you know your friend doesn’t like to lend you a lot of money, try asking for fifty instead. Twenty bucks seems a lot less now, huh?
You and Giblets are now living splendidly!
(This trick is more as a warning. It may be used on you! Take it easy and try not to use this one as much, okay friends? 😊)
6. Ask for a Favor When Someone is Exhausted
You sneaky little soul!
This one is more of a warning that someone can be using this trick on you. Don’t do this! It’s mean. ☹
So your friend really needed to crash at your house. You are pretty busy, and spent the whole night binge-watching the second season of The OA on Netflix. So, you can’t really let him stay the night. You’ve made up your mind you’ll say no.
But, your friend suddenly comes knocking at your door asking again during the wee hours of the night.
Somehow, you find yourself saying yes to their favor.
You were likely exhausted and too tired to say no to their pleas.
According to several studies, people are more likely to be influenced to do something they initially didn’t want to do, when tired.
You were mentally exhausted as well as physically, did you really want to be up in the wee hours of the night arguing with your friend? You would have done anything to have the situation over with and simply get some rest. Which is why this method often works the best.
That sneaky friend of yours.
This applies well with salespersons. If you’ve had a long day, and the saleswoman keeps dragging you around the store, throwing a ton of clothes and information down your throat all super-fast, they may be trying to make you overwhelmed and exhausted.
“Best deal in town! Limited time only! Final few hours of our sale! You’ll never get a deal like this again!” All while bringing you dresses, jewelry, shoes, and nylons you didn’t ask for.
And guess what, because we both know you’re a shopaholic, you’ll likely buy them.
7. Mirror Others to Help You Make Friends
So you really are having a hard time making friends. Without changing who you are, try mirroring the other persons movements and gestures and they may just be more open to getting to know you.
This mimicking of others can happen to yourself subconsciously too! This instance is called the ‘chameleon effect’ and was explored in further studies.
If someone thinks you are like them, they may be more willing to be your friend.
So, someone could be mirroring you subconsciously, or to gain your trust…
Likely, they just want to be your friend. 😊
8. Nod Your Head if You Want Someone to Agree with You
Have you ever needed someone to agree with a pitch you were making at work? Or perhaps you really wanted to persuade someone to agree with you on a subject you just know they would understand if they opened their mind up to it.
I mean, they really need to The OA on Netflix! If they just understood this point I’m making and agreed with it, they’d likely want to watch it! (Sorry, I really like that show…)
Well, try nodding while you’re discussing a point you want someone to agree with.
According to a 1980 study published in the Applied Psychology Journal, psychologists found that when others nod while listening to someone, they are more likely to agree with them.
You may even find yourself subconsciously nodding to someone’s intense story because they are too! Then you have to ask yourself: what on earth am I agreeing with?
I mean, *nods* you just have to *nods* watch the show *nods* The OA *nods* on Netflix. *Big nod!* It’s not like I’m asking you to watch the whole season! Just an episode.
It’s the best show ever! *More nodding! *
You agree with me, right?
So, what did you think of these psychological tricks? Remember, only use these for good! And be aware that others may be using them on you. Are you going to try any of them out?
Let me know in the comments down below!
For more psychological tricks, check out my articles: “6 Psychological Tricks Secretly Being Used on You” and “6 Psychological Tricks That Can Make Anyone Fall for You“.
Written by Michal Mitchell
Follow me on Instagram and Twitter at @jackycoocoo for more articles, celebrity interviews, original poetry and more.
- Wpengine. Consumer Behavior Theories: Pavlovian Theory. 26 Aug. 2019, online.husson.edu/consumer-behavior-pavlovian-theory/.
- “Cognitive Dissonance: Definition, Effects, and Examples.” Medical News Today, MediLexicon International, www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/326738.
- “23 People Shared the Psychological Tricks That Have Saved Them a Bunch of Times.” BrightSide, 16 Nov. 2019, brightside.me/inspiration-psychology/23-people-shared-the-psychological-tricks-that-have-saved-them-a-bunch-of-times-794803/.
- Chartrand, T. L., & Bargh, J. A. (1999). The chameleon effect: The perception–behavior link and social interaction. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 76(6), 893–910. https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-35184.108.40.2063