Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Con artists Know More About Psychology than Psychologists?

Is it possible that marketers, con artists and salesmen know more about human nature than psychologists? Could it be that the drive for money and direct results indirectly got them a better understanding, driven by practicality?

Vanity, greed, fear and other human traits are used all the time by marketers, salesmen and con artists. It is the way they get results. Perhaps they're not conscious that they're doing it. That doesn't change the fact they're using their knowledge of human nature to get people to do what they want them to.

Even if you're using so called "white hat" techniques, like reciprocation (giving away free stuff to build trust), and doing so knowingly, or perhaps unknowingly, it's still too vague. The con artist can (and does) use reciprocation to build trust and finally, when the time comes, pull the con.

There's a thin line between the con artist and the marketer. And that's because they both know and do pretty much the same things.

The marketer, however, uses it to build trust and then actually delivers a solution to some problem, or a set of valuable knowledge.

Yet it's so easy for a marketer to turn into a con artist, or for a con artist to turn into a marketer.

And that's because the means are identical. Only the end differs.

I am fascinated by human nature, the good and the bad. Our vanity, greed and ego; The way we build an illusionary "self" based upon our thoughts, feelings, and memories and call it "I"; Or "me" - The structures of our ego. This is the illusion that plagues us all. Perhaps the cause for our sufferings. That's what buddha and other really profound people think, anyway.

What makes a person into a con artist? What constructs does he build into his ego to feel alright about it? Is it greed? Or are there other motivations? I don't think he'd do what he was doing if he didn't feel alright about it.

Marketers and con artists know more about human nature than most psychologists do. Sure, psychologists need their knowledge for practical purposes as well. They need to cure depression, or anxiety, or other mental illnesses. But there's no accurate way to measure their results. And from my experience with psychologists, most of them don't even bother. They don't measure if they're successful or not. Hell, they don't bother defining "success". With marketers and con artists it's easy to tell how successful they are - Are they making any money? It's not theory and speculation for them. They don't "think" this might help, or might provide "results", whatever that might be for the psychologist.

They need results, and they have a way to measure them. And, the good ones anyway, are getting them.

How do psychologists measure results? "Well, if my patient commits suicide, then I failed. Doh!"

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