Rule Your World: Harnessing Diabolical Psychology For the Greater Good

Behavior expert Daniel Pink is showing us how to use diabolical psychology for the greater good in this weekly video series.

Last night on Crowd Control, we conducted an experiment to stop people from peeing in the swimming pool–or rather, encourage people to use the restroom. Using the powers of behavioral science, we were able to increase poolside restroom-use by 200%! But how can we apply those same principles beyond the pool deck and into everyday-life? For starters, harness these four key learnings from the experiment:

  • People Love Prizes. A good reward can work wonders for good behavior.
  • Peer Pressure Goes a Long Way. In this case, it only works if “everyone is doing it.”
  • Create a Common Cause. A unifying social element will not only rally the troops to participate, but also to spread the word.
  • Encouragement Over Punishment. Rather than punishing an individual behavior, focus on encouraging the desired outcome.

By implementing these four findings, we can manipulate behavior for the greater good. Daniel discusses how in this installment of Rule Your World: Lazy Nation:

According to Daniel, “What this proves is that we can change people’s bad behavior if we offer a little bit of reward, a little bit of fun, and also the chance to be part of something bigger than themselves. And it was really that team aspect, that community aspect, that worked spectacularly well here.”

But peer pressure and prizes aren’t the only things that get us motivated to do the right thing. It turns out, human beings have a native capacity for empathy. We inherently know how to see things from someone else’s point of view and how to feel things with their heart. The problem is, we don’t use empathy enough in changing people’s behavior. In this next experiment, we’re harnessing the power of empathy. See how:

With great power comes great responsibility, so use these tricks wisely! And don’t miss new episodes of Crowd Control, Mondays at 9/8c!