The Ben Franklin Effect

by John Deus

“He that has once done you a kindness will be more ready to do you another than he whom you yourself have obliged.”

Benjamin Franklin

You have probably heard of the Benjamin Franklin Effect, a very popular psychological concept made popular through the autobiography of Benjamin Franklin, albeit being mentioned numerous times before him.

In short, the Benjamin Franklin Effect is a well documented psychological phenomenon which hypothesizes that people are more prone to like you if you ask them for a favor.

But to what extent does the Ben Franklin Effect work? is it still relevant in today’s age? and how can you use it for your own advantage?

The origin of the Ben Franklin Effect

Benjamin Franklin Effect got its popularity from a story in bens autobiography, the story is about an incident that happened with Benjamin Franklin when he wanted to gain the favor of a man he feared he’ll be a threat to him in the future, the man disliked Franklin from the get-go and the way franklin gained the guys likeness was by asking to borrow a rare book from his library, the man agreed and Franklin noted that their relationship improved after that, and thus by asking for a favor, Benjamin Franklin won the kindness of that man.

How Does the Ben Franklin Effect work?!

The Benjamin Franklin Effect goes against the common wisdom in a way that it will be very hard for your brain to accept that you win other people by making them do stuff for you, and if you had to reflect that upon yourself you will not feel that it will work, especially if you are lazy like me, the idea of doing something to anyone is just a huge nono, but here is the thing, how you think you will react to something is almost always incorrect, as the way your brain functions when you are sitting in the comfort of your own home is fastly different than the way it will react if and when you are under pressure, stress or even a minor discomfort.

Here is why – I personally believe – the Benjamin Franklin Effect work. I believe it works because there is this weird thing we do that completely defies all logic and almost everything we think we know about ourselves, and that is, we actually do stuff and then come up with reasons and justifications to why we did, but our brain does it so smoothly and elaborately that without a lot of self-consciousness, it appears that your action was the result of your thought.
I am a strong believer in the action before thought theory for ages, and thankfully there is some scientific evidence to back it up. I believe that most of our activities are not done consciously, meaning that there was no conscious thought in your head that lead to that action, and due to the fact that it is very scary and clearly states that you are not as in control as you’d like yourself to be, your conscious part of your brain justifies those actions and “Pretends” that it was your idea and there is nothing to see here!

There is a lot to be said about this theory and I am planning a full series of articles that will illustrate and help guide you to see how much that is sabotaging your life, but for now, let us focus on The Benjamin Franklin Effect.

In Conclusion:

Whether I convinced you with my reasoning as to why The Benjamin Franklin Effect happen or I failed to do so, that doesn’t change the fact that it does work and you can try it yourself.
The thing with The Benjamin Franklin Effect, as is the case for most psychological tricks, is that it needs to be done at the right time, smoothly, naturally and without raising any red flags. Anything you attempt to do that make people suspicious will not work, once people are alerted to that fact that something is going on here that feels a bit odd, they become immune to these kinds of tricks. The correct way – and I’d argue, the only way- to use the Benjamin Franklin Effect is to fully incorporate it into who you are and how you naturally communicate with people, get more into the habit of asking people for tiny favor, do not turn into an entitled dbag, but rather a genuine, speak your mind kind of person while being very mindful and present to the fact that a lot of people will try this on you, more likely in a business environment, and thus I would say it is quite useful to keep that in mind.

There is no trick that you can do to make people like you in a snap of a finger, there will never be a trick that will make people do what you want 100% of the time, humans, as dumb as they may seem at first, are quite sophisticated, precisely in areas where it is related to their well being, all you and me can do is take such little things from here and there and add them to our ever-evolving communication skill set and hope that we are gaining an edge and are becoming better able to convince and persuade our desires out of other people.

Thank you!

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1 comment

Marja Delmore Ballou August 9, 2020 - 10:50 pm

hello I love the header of your blog, it is a personal creation? Marja Delmore Ballou


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