Discussion Essay

If the government bans a report that says drinking tap water causes cancer regardless of its genuine reasons, people are likely to shift their attention to the story. When the government prohibits the information, it raises the desire for people to access the report. The public will likely receive the news warmly and turn out to be favorable even though it could be ignored if not censored by the government. The government action of banning the information accelerates the people’s curiosity and quest for the report. In ordinary situations, people would pay minimum attention to the article, but it makes the public want it more by denying the content. Therefore, people will quickly approve the source and question the government’s motive in censoring the data. The government act of prohibition creates a sense of removal of choice from the people’s grasp. Human nature expresses higher emotions for loss of things than gaining new ones. People rather have something they do not fully use than having them taken away.

Alcohol and drug prohibitions may not yield the anticipated results due to psychological reactance. It is difficult to control the desires of youth by merely forbidding or punishing. The author suggests other parental alternatives such as persuasions or creating preferences for kids (Cialdini, 2009). When society interferes with youth access to drugs and alcohol, they limit their freedom of choices. People will value the substances more and attach awesomeness to it if they are restricted. The youth tend to compare themselves with people in the media that seem perfect when they use drugs. Consequently, drugs and alcohol consumers tend to experience an elevated love for them when accessing them is prohibited. They are also likely to rubbish assertions that may convince them that drugs are unfit for human consumption and justify their decisions.

Similarly, the social distancing rule may not effectively work due to a sense of loss caused by the restrictions. Although people may not have attached importance to distancing initially, setting rules that prevent them from getting close may increase the urge to get closer. The regulations remove a priority that people have and make them desire their earlier privileges. According to Cialdini (2009), limiting human choices stimulates an increased need for particular things and can be a powerful tool of influence. The above scenarios demonstrate the scarcity principle. Rules, restrictions, and prohibitions create a scarce impression, and people fear losing things more than anything.

The deadline technique also makes the scarcity principle an effective way to influence people. Deadlines threaten people to lose things (valuable or invaluable) if they do not seize the moment. The deadline technique encourages people to make swift decisions out of fear of losing something (Cialdini, 2009). I have experienced the method in businesses that provide offers for a short while, or those that threaten that stock will diminish or prices will rise. I also relate the effects of the deadline with school work. I usually experience an accelerated desire to study and finish up my assignments when the due dates approach. I link my behavior to the scarcity principle because I would not like to loss marks if I fail to submit my school work. In an ideal world, I would not bother losing points because it would have no emotional impact. However, the fear of reducing points meant to contribute to my graduation honors influence me to study.


Cialdini, R. B. (2009). Influence: Science and practice (5th ed.). Prentice Hall.

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