Monday, August 17, 2015

Putting embedded commands in context

The basic idea of "embedded commands", for those who haven't heard of them, is that you embed commands in ordinary language so that people will subconsciously pick up on the command and do what you tell them to without consciously being aware of it (and therefore "unable to resist"). For example, you might say "that's cool. I wouldn't expect you to make an exception for me" while subtly emphasizing the command "make an exception for me". And if it "works", they'll make an exception for you even though they wouldn't have if you simply told them "make an exception for me".

No, it's not nearly as powerful or mind-controlley as people looking into covert hypnosis hope, but yes, there's something to it. In fact, like always, it's something that fits naturally into how we use language.