What is an example of manipulation

Manipulation? Recognize manipulation techniques of psychology

Am I being manipulated - and by whom? The frightening thing about many Manipulation techniques: We don't even notice how we're being influenced. Every day. It really is that easy Manipulate people? The previous chapters have already shown: Yes. People make very irrational decisions. And that is exactly what opens the door wide to a multitude of influencing possibilities. What exactly is manipulation in the psychology? What criteria can you use Manipulationsdetecthow does one see definition out? And which Examples is there? This chapter answers that. ...

Definition of manipulation

What exactly does manipulation mean? Of course, there is manipulation not only in psychology, but also in other contexts of meaning, such as machines or data. In the most harmless case, this means a neutral influence (for example, when a variable is manipulated in experiments). In colloquial language, however, the term manipulation is not used neutrally. People associate this with a negative and hidden change in their thinking and behavior.

Would you like that psychological definition of manipulation into one sentence, then this is:

Manipulation of people is the conscious and reckless application of obscure techniques to other people in order to achieve one's own goals.

The delimitation from other forms of influencing, for example through information and arguments, is therefore the targeted use of techniques that cannot be seen through. The Delimitation of normal influence manipulation is not always easy. What is still legitimate, where does manipulation begin? Is it already manipulation when a woman puts on make-up in order to have better chances with men? Is it manipulation when a man shows pictures of a vacation spot in order to influence his girlfriend to go there?
Does the applicant manipulate a job because he appears better dressed than usual for the interview and hopes that his appearance will be positive in the evaluation?

The next section is about how to identify manipulation exactly.

Recognize manipulation techniques

How can you Recognize manipulation techniques? Business psychology has dealt with the concept of manipulation and corresponding Criteria for manipulation Are defined. One can speak of manipulation in particular if (cf. v. Rosenstiel and Neumann, 2002):

  • The person influenced does not see through the technology, or only partially
  • The influencer consciously exercises the corresponding behavior.
  • The influencer tries to gain his own advantage.
  • The influencer is not interested in the disadvantages of what is influenced.

The figure shows these criteria for the definition of manipulation again in the overview.

These criteria help Manipulations to detect. The more these aspects apply, the more the negative term manipulation is justified. If you look closely, you will notice many manipulative people in everyday life - but most people do not notice it. The next section on this.

Manipulative people

In everyday life, many people are trained to use manipulation techniques to influence other people without them noticing. They are manipulative people: be it in the form of politicians, salespeople or executives.

Why are manipulative people often successful? For simple activities such as laying the floor or painting, the best typically do one and a half to three times as much as the average. In complex activities, for example when dealing with other people such as customers, the differences in performance in people increase dramatically. In sales, in particular, you can see clearly and directly that in many areas the best salespeople do not simply generate five or ten percent more sales than the average. This is especially true if you have to take care of customer acquisition yourself. The best real estate agents in Munich not only make five or ten percent more sales than the average. Some people can become incredibly effective at communicating, getting 20 or 30 times more results than the average of other people in their field in the same amount of time.

An example of a call from a salesperson to a customer illustrates how a manipulative person proceeds and how he uses manipulation techniques.

The phone rings…

Customer takes off: "Müller"

Salesperson: "Hello, who am I connected to, who is there?"
(The seller knows exactly that he is connected to Mr. Müller and would like to reach him. But nobody would like to be called by the seller, usually people react to this familiar situation with an established behavior and choke off the sales talk. So the seller wants him Bringing customers into a different behavior pattern - therefore, with the question, he behaves as if the customer had called him and brings the customer out of his usual process.)

Customer: "This is Klaus Müller."

Salesperson: "Ah Mr. Müller, my name is Michael Herzberg ... Do I have the boss on the line right now, right?"
(The emphasis on the boss is an unconscious compliment to the customer, thereby gaining sympathy for the salesperson. He also filters again whether he really has the decision maker on the phone. His main goal here, however, is: He wants to avoid the customer asking why he calls and now at the beginning build sympathy with small talk.)

Customer: "That's how it is."

Seller: “And that on Friday afternoon. Mr Müller. It is customary for us entrepreneurs that we work so hard for that little bit of what we have after taxes ... "
(The seller would like to continue to build sympathy and trust. To do this, he uses the similarity strategy, creates a common world of experience - he emphasizes that he is also an entrepreneur and complains about taxes. He can be sure that he will receive a high level of approval when expressing his attitude and the customer gets the feeling: there is someone on the phone who has a situation similar to mine and thinks similarly. With this preparatory work, he has significantly reduced the risk that the customer will cut off the phone call if he learns that it is a sales pitch .)

Customer laughs ...

Salesperson: "Mr. Müller, I don't want to spend long ... I want to win you as a new customer."
(Of course, the seller has long been around and created sympathy, made sure that the customer laughs and is in a good mood. Objectively speaking, it is a lie that he is now saying the opposite - but it works, the customers believe it and experience it subjectively as sincere. The salesperson repeats the customer's name several times in the conversation, which attracts attention and also further builds sympathy. He avoids the word salesperson and sale and uses the positive phrase "... would like to win you as a new customer ..." as an introduction. )

Customer: "What do you have to sell?"

Salesperson: "Can you be won over as a new customer if an offer is really good?"
(He is already ignoring the request to say something about the offer. He would like to achieve something else psychologically first - with a question for which a "yes" is almost certain.)

Customer: “If the offer is really good, yes. But I have little time, an appointment straight away. "

Salesperson: "So it is important to you that I get straight to the point?"
(The seller already has a commitment that the customer will generally buy if the offer is good - that was his goal with the question that was inserted earlier. The customer will then try to be consistent with this publicly made statement. The objection or the pretext that the customer has little time he uses as a template to get the ok for a presentation of the offer - again with a question to which he almost always gets a yes.)

Customer: "Well then, go ahead and shoot ..."

Seller: Present the product concisely with the decisive advantages. "... How does that sound to you?"

Customer: "A little untrustworthy ... too good to be true ..."
(This is exactly the answer the seller wanted to provoke, because he already has the commitment that the customer will buy when something is really good.)

Seller: "So it is important to you that we not only make promises over the phone, but that our company really keeps what it promises and that you see the evidence in black and white?"
(Again a question that can almost always only be answered with a "yes". In addition, a second statement is integrated into the question, which the customer did not make at all. The seller now implicitly gets the ok for a personal meeting, to present the offer “in black and white.” The word “group” creates additional trust - it is associated with a large, reliable organization.)

Customer: "Exactly."

Salesman: "What is Monday the 15th for a day with you?"
(The seller continues to rely on manipulative questions: There can be no "no" to this question either.)

Customer looks at the calendar for a while: "Oh ... it's very full."

Salesperson: "Tuesday after or Thursday, which is better?"
(The customer can now hardly avoid an appointment, although he was never explicitly asked whether he would like to meet. There can be no "no" to this question either.)

Customer: "Tuesday"

Salesperson: "More in the morning or more in the afternoon?"
(There can be no "no" to this question either ...)

Customer: "Afternoon 5 pm."

Seller: "O.k. Tuesday the 16th at 5 p.m. in your office. "

The deadline is set and the customer will ultimately buy. He will also be satisfied and recommend the company to others. At no point did he become aware of the influence or the well thought-out system that he had come across. This fictitious customer never had a chance, psychologically he is not up to the seller. Whenever a well-trained salesperson meets a common man without much experience, the balance of power is very asymmetrical. If a really professionally trained salesperson has determined that he is connected to the decision maker, then there is almost no situation, no objection, no pretext that he cannot use in his favor. He will often achieve his goals in a very short time. The limits are ultimately set by the ethical principles of the individual seller.

Is the example manipulation? Absolutely. The seller consciously uses strategies for his own benefit that the customer does not see through. The interests of the customer are at least secondary to the seller.

Is there something like this only in sales? No. The limits of manipulative influence can be set wide. From simple salespeople to politicians, sect leaders, intelligence workers, manipulative executives, tricksters or men who are systematically trained to win over women ... If someone is psychologically trained and accordingly ruthless, their target group has little chance. It gets into and out of a system of influence. Many cannot escape from this system, let alone see through it at all, and apparently voluntarily make the decisions that others want. Incidentally, a rather harmless but fascinating group that uses such methods are the mentalists - magicians who work with psychological influence.

Was all of the possibilities of influence uncovered in this short, fictitious contribution? Of course not. It's a sneak peek at the tip of the iceberg. To further illustrate, other brief examples of everyday manipulation in the field of business psychology follow.

Examples of manipulation techniques

In the above example with the sales pitch, the salesperson has, among other things, many other measures similarity used. What matters is the impression of similarity in other people (Ensher and Murphy, 1997) - this leads to more sympathy, more contact, and more support. Studies show: Managers, for example, systematically and unconsciously prefer and encourage people who are similar to them (Castilla, 2011; McGinn and Milkman, 2013). The artificial creation of similarity is of course also part of the fixed program in top politics. It starts with the fact that hardly any politician mentions his doctorate (the voter does not have a doctorate either, only creates distance when one mentions the title), one repeatedly emphasizes his origin from “simple circumstances”, avoiding wearing his glasses (seems academic , but the voter is mostly not academic) or one consumes publicly effective drinks (beer) or food (pretzel or curry sausage) of the common man, as well as his choice of words (for example with the statement "But from tomorrow they'll get in the face!" Strategically adapting dialects to the electorate to create similarity.

A typical example of manipulation techniques in the context of politics and leadership is training and changing the pitch. The scientific background: people with deep voice are, of course unconsciously, more likely to be selected and accepted as managers. They appear competent, physically and mentally strong, dominant and trustworthy (Tigue et al., 2012; Klofstad, 2016). As a result of these unconscious processes, low-voiced individuals run larger corporations and make more money than high-voiced individuals (Mayew, Parsons, and Venkatachalam, 2013). It is therefore worthwhile for politicians to have a deep voice, and training is correspondingly diligent “downwards”. A striking example from practice is the longtime English Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. Her biographer Charles Moore states that she took language training courses to get her voice deeper, for more strength and impact. Apparently with impressive success, as shown by comparisons of the voice over the years and the long term of office (Atkinson, 1984).

A common example of manipulation in the context of organizational psychology is transformational leadership (Becker, 2015). This strives for employees to commit themselves to the organization and its goals out of inner solidarity instead of just external incentives (such as payment). As a result, transformational leadership does not focus directly on classic goals such as the work performance of the employees - transformational leadership focuses on the employees themselves, on theirs Change to enthusiastic followers. In doing so, techniques are used that affected employees cannot see through: Transformational leadership conveys meaning and meaning behind an activity, far beyond the employees' simple self-interest (May, Gilson and Harter, 2004). This includes, for example ideology from religious or political movements. Similarly, executives in business try to develop a collective meaningful description of the job that appeals to employees emotionally and leads to a high level of identification and motivation (Babcock-Roberson and Strickland, 2010).
With transformational techniques - compared to traditionally managed employees - they achieve higher work motivation of employees (Aryee et al., 2012), commitment of employees beyond their own area of ​​activity (Sosik, 2005), greater trust in and greater satisfaction with the manager ( Podsakoff et al., 1990) and more power (e.g. MacKenzie, Podsakoff and Rich, 2001; Gong, Huang and Farh, 2009; Avolio, 2010).

These typical examples from everyday life illustrate what is meant by manipulation. If you look carefully at your surroundings as voters, consumers and employees, you will find a flood of further examples of manipulation.

The last section gives hints for books for further study.

Manipulation: literature and books

Looking for one Book on manipulation? Here are some current literature tips:

Psychology can be divided into three currents, which are described in the next chapter. Various sub-areas of psychology are also cited, each of which can be assigned to the three basic currents.