There are many mind control techniques that are based on specific actions or language patterns. These are popular, because they are easy to try out. Examples of active coercion techniques are putting somebody in a hypnotic trance, using «yes bridges», pattern interrupts, and so on. It is kind of «talking someone into something».
However, there is another kind of mind control technique that can be just as effective when it comes to manipulating other people: passive coercion.
Passive coercion doesn’t require you actually doing something — rather, it is about setting up an environment through which your target will have to pass through — and the simple act of passing through this environment will influence his or her behavior.
This might sound rather strange, but it is actually a quite common experience. In fact — whenever you walk into a large shopping mall, you experience it first hand.
The art and science of passive coercion is a multi-billion dollar business. There isn’t a single modern shopping mall in the world that has not been designed with the help of passive coercion specialists. If you want to experience passive coercion in an even more sophisticated environment, visit a Las Vegas casino.
The reason why passive coercion is so effective is partly because it is invisible — we are not aware that this particular environment is very specifically designed to make us perform certain actions, think certain thoughts.
Shopping malls — as well as casinos — have surveillance cameras everywhere. Our usual understanding is that this is simply for security purposes — but these materials are carefully and meticulously analyzed by highly specialized psychologists whose aim is to better understand, and alter consumer behavior. They do this with the help of scent, sounds and light. They create an architecture that influences you to spend more time — and money — in the shopping mall. Even the flooring is designed to create the wished for effect — not just the colors, but also the softness or hardness of the floor has a subtle, but nonetheless very measurable effect on our behavior.
Of course, when you want to influence somebody to do something, you can not spend hundreds of thousands of dollar creating an coercive environment — but being aware of the fact that the environment can either increase or decrease the effectiveness of your persuasive attempts is worthwhile knowledge in and of itself. Because you can thus choose to meet in an environment that will boost your persuasive position.
James T. Parker