Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Cracking the Code, Chapter Six

Continuing from this post.

Research has shown that negative framing, as in using the word not before an adjective or adverb, is not processed by the unconscious. Hence asserting that one is not guilty reinforces the word guilt instead of negating it, at least at the unconscious level. This also goes for linking negative descriptions to something you want to communicate positively, like progressive compassion fights regressive oppression. The negative word at the end then gets subconsciously associated with compassion. Lakoff also discusses this in his manual Thinking Points. However negation can be used as a technique to manipulate a desired outcome. For example, one could say about an opponent: “I don't think he's a traitor and I'd never call him a traitor.” Which reinforces the notion that his opponent is indeed a traitor!

Another powerful linguistic tip is using the word you. Even if intended in a general or third person sense our unconscious interprets as me personally. E.g, when you tell someone a story about how you were mad at someone, and speak to the present person in the same way you spoke to the person you were mad at, they will take it personally. Like if you say to the present person, “So I said to him: You are a totally abusive asshole,” the present person will feel like you're saying that to him even though he understands that you're not. Even just writing that recalls to memory how I felt exactly that way when such past situations were so described.

Hartmann recommends that you can use you language but by framing it differently, as in an indirect reference of a third party who said something to another third party using that language. E.g., “My friend said to management that 'you are overworking us.'” Even if you are talking to a manager they won't feel as if you said it directly to them. This is a favorite technique used by sales and advertising, by noting how someone else said: “You know, that is the best car I've ever owned.” Of course, the ecology check is crucial, since the salesperson is probably lying. It would be a different story if it were true, so using the technique of the indirect you to make a sale is ethically acceptable if true.

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