the Scarcity Principle
of Robert Cialdini
Robert Cialdini, one of the foremost experts on influence, found that people value and desire something more when it is rare or difficult to obtain. He called this the Scarcity Principle). Across numerous experiments, Cialdini and others have found that making something rare ("only 5 left"), time limited ("one day sale"), or unique ("just for you"), increases its perceived attractiveness and value. Scarcity surely works in economical situation, and also in real life relationship. In fact Scarcity Principle is one of the major “weapons” in persuasion. 1.Explanation of the Scarcity Principle:
Scarcity is a heuristic, which is the mind's automatic, hard-wired set of habits. They are ancient and powerful and, for the most part, unrecognized. The scarcity heuristic is the brain saying, if something is rare, it much be good. The value heuristic says, if I really desire something, it must be scarce. These closely entwined heuristics reinforce each other in a kind of cycle, shaping all sorts of judgments and life decisions. Sometimes those heuristics are irrational traps, and other times they are indispensable short-cuts. The trick is to recognize them and use them in the right way Robert explains that this Scarcity Principle works on the idea of Reactance. Essentially, it happens because none of us like to be told no, limited in any way, or have our freedom constrained. So, when we think we might miss out, not be chosen, or be denied what we want, we "react". That reactance makes us try all the harder and want what is denied us all the more.Think of it like "reverse psychology" used on little children. When you tell Tommy he "can’t play with dirt", he will do it. Apparently, according to the research, grown-ups are no different. Scarcity, in the area of social psychology, works much like scarcity in the area of economics. Simply put, humans place a higher value on an object that is scarce, and a lower value on those that are abundant. The thought that we, as humans, want something we cannot have drives us to desire the object even more. This idea is deeply embedded in the intensely popular, “Black Friday” shopping extravaganza that U.S. consumers participate in every year on the day after Thanksgiving. More than getting a bargain on a hot gift idea, shoppers thrive on the competition itself, in obtaining the scarce product.
There are two social psychology principles that work with scarcity that increase its powerful force. One is social proof. This is a contributing factor to the effectiveness of scarcity, because if a product is sold out, or inventory is extremely low, humans interpret that to mean the product must be good since everyone else appears to be buying it. The second contributing principle to scarcity is commitment and consistency. If someone has already committed themselves to something, then find out they cannot have it, it makes the person want the item more. 2.Scarcity and Indecision in Dating and Relationships
One study that supports this assertion came from Whitchurch, Wilson, and Gilbert (2011). The authors had college women view Facebook profiles of four male students. They were told that the men had previously viewed their Facebook profiles as well. The authors then randomly told the women that the men had one of the following reactions to their profiles: 1) the man liked them a lot, 2) the man liked them an average amount, 3) the man was uncertain of his feelings. Initially, women reported liking the men who "liked them a lot" a bit more than the ones who only "liked them an average amount". However, the women liked the "uncertain" men the most of all. They rated the uncertain men as the most attractive and even thought the most about them over time. Scarcity at work... Another study supporting this scarcity effect on desire comes from Johnco, Wheeler, and Taylor (2010). These authors were interested in the bar phenomenon of...