I haven’t spoken much on investment theories related to the concept of gendernomics. Investment theories are various patterns that have been observed and sometimes quantified when it comes to how humans psychologically act when doing investments, mostly in stocks. The stock market is one of those areas that tend to reward consistent behavior, reason and attention to facts something demonstrated by the value investors such as Warren Buffet who stick with a series of rules in order to reduce the emotional impact of making large investments. There are multiple ways an investment can impact humans emotionally, the first one is losing or gaining money. When your stocks are in the black, you feel elated, you feel more confident, intelligent, and competent. When your stocks are in the red, you feel deflated, stupid and incompetent. When you are getting ready to “get in” you can be hit with fear, apprehension, anxiety, and when you get out even after taking a huge loss, you may feel more relaxed, and calm.
Many of the same mechanisms are in effect when you are pursuing a woman. Some PUA techniques, such as rapid cold-approaching are built not only to reduce your social anxiety, but also to reduce your approach anxiety, through behavioral conditioning. If you have done something a thousand times, then it will naturally have less of an emotional impact on you have trained yourself to have a tolerance for it.
The beauty of human neuroplasticity and physical reaction is that once you are aware of something, you can train yourself to be less affected by it. This is what is done with cognitive-behavioral therapy. As long as you are aware of the principles at work, you can improve your resistance to them.
The Contrast principle and Halo Effect
The contrast principle/Contrast effect, can be easily demonstrated as follows: Get 3 bowls of water, 1 cold, 1 hot, and 1 lukewarm. Put one of your hands in the cold water, and one in the hot water for 1 minute, then put both of your hands in the lukewarm water. The hand that was in the cold water will feel the lukewarm water as hot, whereas the hand that was in the hot water will feel it as warm. The halo effect is the tendency a person’s overall good or bad feelings about a person to spill over to thoughts about that persons entity or character. For instance, people tend to view attractive people as more intelligent or competent.
The contrast effect causes a miss-calculation of desirability based on a recent perception of availability. If you’re looking at women walking by your house while looking at models, you naturally view the women outside as less attractive. Where this creates the major problem for many men, is when they see a woman who appears more desirable because of contrast, context or the cheerleader effect, follow up by a solid dose of attributing all kinds of good qualities to her via the Halo effect, and then become stuck on her.
Scarcity and the selective perception
The scarcity effect is well documented, and I’ve written about it previously. In brief, this is the tendency of perceived availability to influence our valuations of something and thus our desire for it. The best example I can think of for this is what happens in an auction situation where there are multiple bidders for a unique item, when compared to the actions of the same people if they are quietly online shopping and see plenty of an item in stock. The scarcity effect creates a state of perceived urgency, in that “This object is rare, therefore if I do not get it now, I may never have another chance“. Selective perception is a situation wherein new information is filtered in a manner which confirms the perception of the person while ignoring contradictory information.
He has already convinced himself, through the contrast principle and Halo effect that she is something special. Now, he moves into a space where any action another man takes towards her reinforces her rarity in his mind, and where every action is interpreted through his desired perception.
Consistency and similarity (the like me effect)
The tendency to want to be seen as consistent seems to be common to most humans. It is a trait that make us predictable, that make us appear reliable and congruent to the people we interact with often. It is also a great trait to exploit for manipulation, in situation such as “You just told me how much you care about other people. Would you be willing to donate money for relief aid in Africa?” In this case, the person is being put in a double-bind where they either have to show themselves as inconsistent (a socially undesirable trait) or give money they may be unwilling to part with. The similarity (like me) effect, is the tendency of human beings to like people who we perceive as being similar to us in some fashion. It is part of the explanation why nerdy men tend to be in awe of “gamer girls”
Your ability to influence someone is higher if they like you. In this case, the man is already affected by 4 bias, and now he is about to be hit with a double-dose of consistency and similarity. As he is working off the halo effect and subjective perception, he will interpret data in a way that shows how similar and perfect for each other they are. Leading him further down the rabbit-hole, where he is no acting consistent with his actions in the context of being affected by a range of bias, rather than with himself.
The sunk cost and loss aversion
I’ve talked about sunk cost fallacies on this blog before, the core element of a sunk cost fallacy is the tendency to continue investing in what is ultimately an unprofitable project, based on “we have so much invested in this already.” A classic example of this fallacy from the business world, is Eastman-Kodak, who despite having a leg up when it came to bringing digital photography to the marketplace, neglected to do so because they had so much invested in their “rolls of film” business. Loss aversion is when the dis-utility of giving up an object is perceived as greater than the utility of acquiring it.
The result of these two in conjunction is that not only has the man who is over-invested in a female with no guarantee, feeling twice as much anguish over potentially losing her, as the joy he would feel by actually getting her. So, to recap, the man does not have this female, yet he is feeling fear of losing her. If you need an example of the lack of logic at work here, imagine feeling like you lost a car you cannot afford to purchase.
Summary and conclusions
The list of fallacies, biases, shortcuts and other things our minds do as the biological computers they are is painfully long. The principles I outlined above are the ones that show up the most frequently and ones you should become intimately familiar with both using and identifying when they are being used on you. Normally, I would identify the reasons to suspect that they are being used, but there are too many variants on the same trick to accurately create a “How to” guide. However, as far as first principles go, most of the above play on the 3 major emotions of manipulation namely fear, obligation and guilt. I would think that most are familiar with all three of those feelings. The perception fallacies are much more difficult to adequately get a handle on, and they require significant effort to reduce.