Welcome to #KingsUncommonWisdom! The law of reciprocity states that when someone does something nice for you, you will have a deep-rooted psychological urge to do something nice in return. As a business owner, professional or a leader, you can get anything you want from anybody by applying this law professionally. I encourage you to book a session with us to fully understand how to apply this law in virtually every area of your life.
This dramatic story will throw a little light on how this law works. Robert B. Cialdini calls it Good Cop/Bad Cop Strategy. “In recent years, the courts have imposed a variety of restrictions on the way police must behave in handling suspected criminals, especially in seeking confessions. Many procedures that in the past led to admissions of guilt can no longer be employed for fear that they will result in a judge’s dismissal of the case.
As yet, however, the courts have found nothing illegal in the use by the police of subtle psychology. For this reason, criminal interrogations have taken increasingly to the use of such ploys as the one they call Good Cop/Bad Cop.
Good Cop/Bad Cop works as follows: A young robbery suspect, let’s say, who had been advised of his rights and is maintaining his innocence, is brought to a room to be questioned by a pair of officers. One of the officers, either because the part suits him or because it is merely his turn, plays the role of Bad Cop.
Before the suspect even sits down, Bad Cop curses “the son of a…” for the robbery. For the rest of the session his words come only with snarls and growls. He kicks the prisoner’s chair to emphasize his points. When he looks at the man, he seems to see a mound of garbage.
If the suspect challenges Bad Cop’s accusations against or just refuses to answer them, Bad Cop becomes livid. His rage soars. He swears he I’ll do everything possible to assure a maximum sentence. He says he has friends in the district attorney’s office who will hear from him of the suspect’s noncooperative attitude and who will prosecute the case hard.
At the outset of Bad Cop’s performance, his partner, Good Cop, sits in the background. Then, slowly, he starts to chip in. First he speaks only to Bad Cop, trying to temper the burgeoning anger. “Calm down, Frank, calm down.” But Bad Cop shouts back, “Don’t tell me to calm down when he’s lying right to my face! I hate these lying bastards!”
A bit later, Good Cop actually says something in the suspect’s behalf. “Take it easy, Frank, he’s only a kid.” Not much in the way of support, but compared to the ranting of Bad Cop, the words fall like music on the prisoner’s ears. Still Bad Cop is unconvinced, “Kid? He’s no kid. He’s a punk. That’s what he is, a punk. And I’ll tell you something else. He’s over eighteen, and that’s all I need to get him sent so far behind bars they’ll need a flashlight to find him.”
Now Good Cop begins to speak directly to the young man, calling him by his first name and pointing out any positive details of the case. “I’ll tell you, Kenny, you’re lucky that nobody was hurt and you weren’t armed. When you come up for sentencing, that I’ll look good.”
If the suspect persists in claiming innocence, Bad Cop launches into another tirade of curses and threats. But this time Good Cop stops him, “Okay, Frank,” handing Bad Cop some money, “I think we could all use some coffee. How about getting three cups?”
When Bad Cop is gone, it’s time for Good Cop’s big scene” “Look, man, I don’t know why, but my partner doesn’t like you, and he’s gonna try to get you. And he’s gonna be able to do it because we’ve got enough evidence right now. And he’s right about the D.A’s office going hard on guys who don’t cooperate.
You’re looking at five years, man, five years! Now, I don’t want to see that happen to you. So if you admit you robbed that place right now, before he gets back, I’ll take charge of your case and put in a good word for you to the D.A. If we work together on this, we can cut that five years down to two, maybe one. Do us both a favor, Kenny. Just tell me how you did it, and then let’s start working on getting you through this.” A full confession frequently follows.
Good Cop/Bad Cop works as well as it does for several reasons: The fear of long incarceration is quickly instilled by Bad Cop’s threats; the perceptual contrast principle ensures that compares to the raving, venomous Bad Cop, the interrogator playing Good Cop will seem like an especially reasonable and kind man; and because Good Cop has intervened repeatedly on the suspect’s behalf, the reciprocity rule pressures for a return favor.
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