What is Reverse psychology?

Have you heard of the expressions reverse psychology”, “reverse auction”, “reverse brainstorming” or reverse mentoring”? What do they mean? Come on, let’s find out.

Reverse psychology

Reverse psychology is a technique by which one can get the other person to do what one wants by asking him to do just the opposite. For instance, a mother can ask her child to remain indoors when she actually wants the child to play outdoors. The naturally resistant child will surely go out to play. This manipulative method generally works with many people, but excessively sharp children or adults can sense the truth, especially if there are repeated instances.

This technique is used in treatment of patients. Agreeing with the patient rather than advising him against a particular unacceptable behaviour can actually dissuade the person from doing what he wants. This ‘anti-suggestion’, pretending to agree puts the situation or the person’s thinking in a new perspective.

For example a school girl who is extremely troublesome in school is brought to a doctor. After listening to what she does in school the doctor says. “If I were you I would do more. Try more tantrums. It will be fun. “Then the girl will start trying to heed the doctor’s advice but in the process lose interest in her odd behaviour.

Reverse auction

In a regular auction, the buyers compete with one another, quoting higher and higher prices for a product. In a reverse auction, the buyer puts up a request for a product or service. Sellers then place bids for the amount they want. The sellers underbid each other and at the end of the auction, the seller bidding for the lowest amount wins. Reverse auctions work when there are multiple sellers connecting with a buyer. They are more common online.

Reverse brainstorming

The method of reverse brainstorming is used in commercial fields. A company that wants a product assessment and is looking to find ways to improve it can throw negative questions at the customer. For example, what is the worst thing about this product? Or what would you suggest to make this product fail? A light-hearted session may lead to amazing insights into the product and ways of improving it at the same time winning customer’s faith.

Reverse mentoring

Reverse mentoring is a method adopted in companies where old executives are paired with young employees so that they (older executives) can be guided on new technology, current trends and social media. This kind of mentoring has also been found to close the generation gap and create a cordial atmosphere, ruling out conflicts.

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