This psychological trick will damage everyone’s confidence

, Science

Do you want to change someone’s opinion while they believe you’re on their side? All you need to do is set high standards for them and give them some time.

It’s a proven fact that people form opinions based on the information they can remember fastest when they are not sure about something. For instance, ask someone if there are more words starting with “c” or words with “x” as the second letter and they will tell you that there are more words with “c” just because they will remember more words starting with this letter because they remember more words by the first letter.

Psychologists found a way to test this characteristic of the human brain. A team of scientists decided to have an experiment. For the test, they had to lower the participants’ confidence by asking to give them several examples when they were intrusive and afterwards, scientists asked them whether they deem themselves intrusive.

The difference between people who thought they were intrusive or passive was caused by the number of examples they had to disclose. Those who were asked to list 6 examples considered themselves intrusive. The others, who needed to list 12 examples had to think longer and harder. Although they had more reasons to think of themselves intrusive, they considered themselves relatively passive.

The confidence was triggered by the difficulty of remembering the examples, not the number of examples. The team says that this “trick” could function with people who make a lot of estimations.

To test it, ask someone to think of several reasons to change their job or buy a new house. They will come up with reasons eventually, but they will be less convinced that it is a good idea. On the other hand, someone who doesn’t have to think of a reason to do something will do it with more ease.

The rationale for this might be that people automatically think that an idea is bad if they can’t think of a lot of good reasons for it.