Social Identity Contradictions

Social identity contradictions, also known as reverse social proof or negative social proof are a way to decrease the value of an option/cut off that option by using social proof against it. Or in short, telling the person that “most people don’t do this”.

The Persuasion Psychology Behind the Technique

This technique works in the opposite way that social proof does. While social proof validates an offering because most people do it, this technique restricts the value of an option because most people don’t do it.

Simply state (or show how) most people don’t take this action. You can use supporting numbers, pressure the person into stating why they’re different, or other accelerators, but at its core, you are just giving negative social proof.


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"Everybody does it"

The most common form of using this technique is saying, “Hey, most people do this, why don’t you do it as well?

"You're against us?"

Especially present in tight-knit groups, such as the military; Anytime that someone disagrees even a little bit, and threatens the consistency of the organization, people will actively ask, “So, you’re against us?”, putting them on the spot. Inquiring on deviation

"Why are you different?"

Another example of inquiring on deviation. When someone is going against a group, and you turn to look them in the eyes and actively ask, “Why are you different?”, you’re putting them on the hot seat. It’s this at work

Use Cases For the Four Quadrants

Key Takeaways
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