4+ Psychological Theories That Contradict Each Other

Psychology and Behavioral Economics has been going around for years. Psychologist and behavioral economist keep finding new and exciting theories/hypothesis, and it keeps going strong. But sometimes, one person’s psychological theory could actually contradict other’s theory. In this post, I will share with you, in my opinion, the best psychological theories that contradict each other.

Bandwagon effect vs Snob effect

The bandwagon effect is the tendency for people for doing or even conform to do a particular activity just because other people doing it, regardless their initial preference or belief. For example, I bought this iPhone (even though I hate Apple), just because everyone includes my family and my friends do buy iPhone.

While snob effect state that the fewer people own the product, our tendency for demanding that product will be increased. The products that usually carries snob effect are products that rare, limited, and luxurious/prestigious.

Decay theory vs Sleeper effect

Decay theory is the fading effect of memories as time goes. At some point, the information/memory will be less available for recall.

Sleeper effect is the psychological phenomenon when the effect of the persuasion (that accompanied with discounting cue) is delayed at first and will increase over time. Discounting cue could be the side effects, a disclaimer related to the product, or other cues that decrease the overall value of the product/the material.

As you can see, in the illustration on the right. In a normal decay situation, the level of persuasion will decrease over time. But in the sleeper effect condition, the level of persuasion is increasing over time.

Backfire effect

As you know, to win an argument, we need to come up and backed our argument with credible or authoritative fact or evidence.

But in fact, in some cases, giving a person with firm evidence or facts that contradict his/her belief, could actually strengthen their belief and they could come up with a more and better argument. This phenomenon is called backfire effect.

So those are the theories that sort of contradicts each other, thank you for reading this relatively short post. If you have any question, tell us in the comment box below!


Backfire effect. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Backfire_effect

Bloom, L. (2017, August 11). The Bandwagon Effect. Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/stronger-the-broken-places/201708/the-bandwagon-effect

Dean, J. (2010, December 08). How the Sleeper Effect Persuades You Months After the Message. Retrieved from https://lifehacker.com/5707484/persuasion-the-sleeper-effect

Decay theory. (2017, October 25). Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Decay_theory

Fill, C., & Turnbull, S. (2016). Marketing communications: Discovery, creation and conversations. Pearson Education Limited.

Kumkale, G. T., & Albarracín, D. (2004). The Sleeper Effect in Persuasion: A Meta-Analytic Review. Psychological Bulletin, 130(1), 143-172. doi:10.1037/0033-2909.130.1.143

McLeod, S. (1970, January 01). Saul McLeod. Retrieved from https://www.simplypsychology.org/forgetting.html

Network Externalities: Bandwagon Effect and Snob Effect (with diagram). (2015, August 18). Retrieved from http://www.economicsdiscussion.net/essays/economics/network-externalities-bandwagon-effect-and-snob-effect-with-diagram/934

Scarcity value. (2017, October 17). Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scarcity_value

Sleeper effect. (2017, October 08). Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sleeper_effect

Snob effect. (2017, September 20). Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snob_effect

Staff, I. (2010, May 09). Bandwagon Effect. Retrieved from https://www.investopedia.com/terms/b/bandwagon-effect.asp

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