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Reverse psychology is a persuasion technique used mostly on children. It also works on many adults with limited intellect. Basically, there are two ways to apply reverse psychology:
- Tell somebody that you forbid them to perform a task that you want them to perform;
- Order somebody to perform a task that is the polar opposite of the task you want them to perform.
For example, not only does Rush Limbaugh never (well, almost never) tell his audience to call politicians to protest their actions, he makes a point of telling his audience over the air that he never tells them to call politicians to protest their actions. Within a few minutes, said politicians' phones, fax machines and e-mail boxes are flooded with messages from irate dittoheads.
Reverse psychology usually relies on exploiting an individual's assumed distaste for authoritarianism. In the case of Rush Limbaugh, his claims that they should "never" do something that serves to remind the audience that they could do that thing.
- Just asking questions
- Streisand Effect—which is something of a "reverse reverse psychology" without being psychology
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