The IKEA Effect

ikea

 

Before I launch in here, yes, yes, I already know that CH scooped me on this topic last week, but he took a different bent than I had in mind. Heartiste took the perspective that I expected in relating this psychological phenomenon to principles long established in Game by PUA’s – women who invest in a man are more likely to stay invested:

Pick-up artists have a term called compliance, which is a game tactic designed to raise a man’s value relative to the woman’s value, and to gauge a woman’s interest level. The concept is simple: You make a request of a girl, and if she complies you know that she is attracted to you. Furthermore, the very act of complying with your request will cause her to feel more attracted to you.

Investment as a means to attachment isn’t a new idea in psychology, but the PUA application of it is a new twist on it. However the problem with the Ikea Effect is that it can cut both ways.

“Imagine that, you know, you built a table,” said Daniel Mochon, a Tulane University marketing professor, who has studied the phenomenon. “Maybe it came out a little bit crooked. Probably your wife or your neighbor would see it for what it is, you know? A shoddy piece of workmanship. But to you that table might seem really great, because you’re the one who created it. It’s the fruit of your labor. And that is really the idea behind the Ikea Effect.”

From a male perspective it’s easy to see the compliance utility of such a phenomenon when employed with women, however, when you combine this dynamic with a beta (or God forbid an omega) AFC mindset you can begin to understand how it molds the ego of a person ego-invested in reciprocity or Relational Equity.

Most of us intuitively believe that the things we labor at are the things we love. Mochon and his colleagues, Michael Norton at the Harvard Business School and Dan Ariely at Duke University, have turned that concept on its head. What if, they asked, it isn’t love that leads to labor, but labor that leads to love?

I’ve counseled countless guys who are miserably “in love” with BPD women, women who’ve cheated on them, women who by their actions have no capacity for appreciating any effort the guy has made towards relational equity, yet they’ll say “I dunno man, I just love her.”

In a series of experiments, they have demonstrated that people attach greater value to things they built than if the very same product was built by someone else. And in new experiments published recently, they’ve discovered why it happens: Building your own stuff boosts your feelings of pride and competence, and also signals to others that you are competent.

There is an insidious element here: People made to feel incompetent may be more vulnerable to the Ikea Effect. On the other hand, Mochon has found, when people are given a self-esteem boost, they appear to be less interested in demonstrating to themselves and to others that they are competent.

Consider the degree of competence most beta men feel about their lack of (or limited) success with women. They tend to look for convenient excuses for their limited experience with women. They’ll appeal to fate – “I’m just not lucky with the ladies” – or they’ll make comparisons of inadequacy – “Chicks only dig jerks and I’m not like that” – or they’ll disqualify women – “I’m not looking for a skank.” So with all of this at work, imagine the degree of competence a beta guy must feel when he meets with some limited success with a woman. He’ll feel vindicated to be sure, but more so he’ll invest himself in those feelings of adequacy. He’ll be ‘in love’ because of the labor that led to it, and the labor that he feels is necessary to maintain it.

To take this a step further, imagine our now competent beta considering the prospect of losing his ‘loved’ investment, and returning to his former state of incompetence. Combine this with the false expectations of an appreciated relational equity, together with a socialized feminine-primacy conditioning, and likely a marginal social intelligence, and you just begin to see the formula for a potentially violent frustrated chump.

 

Published by Rollo Tomassi

Author of The Rational Male and The Rational Male, Preventive Medicine

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Marky Mark
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Marky Mark
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Success with women leads to indifference with them it seems… at least with me.

Spoos in August
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People have a tendency to chase after sunk costs, just like they have a tendency to false-positive pattern recognition.

“Compliance” is a sunk cost generator, just like attempting to generate relational equity, or provide support for a troubled partner.

Not sure if any of the above are sexually dimorphic phenomena.

Leap of a Beta
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Yup.

Far easier to either believe there is nothing wrong with you, the problem everyone else. Or some people really just feel too much shame and self loathing to make the necessary changes – it blinds them to the solutions to their problems lie within changing their actions and interactions with the world without necessarily needing to change the core of themselves.

The more they invest in their problem behaviors, the view of themselves, or the view of the world the more they’ll be paralyzed by either shame or the false sense of perfection.

Jeremy
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Jeremy
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I’ve long suspected that most of the truly bad criminals in our society are likely men whose perception of their own sexual power has simply been abused in this manner for years, even decades.

Mark Minter
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I am thinking about the LA cop Dorner and how they just killed him. They bashed down the outer walls with an armored vehicle, then threw in 7 “flamers” and burned him alive. Never underestimate the force that the police will use. If you are in a situation that has gone to the point where the police are at your house, if your relationship is to that point, then you need to truly evaluate this situation completely. If you have experienced the cops being at your house, then you need to go to the search bar of Rationale Male and… Read more »

Revo Luzione
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“To take this a step further, imagine our now competent beta considering the prospect of losing his ‘loved’ investment, and returning to his former state of incompetence.”

Another demonstration of how humans are easily caught in the sunken cost fallacy. I’m convinced this is an artifact of modernity, for it is not seen in dogs and other mammals. They have no concept of investment, and happily abandon previous efforts when a better opportunity comes along.

walawala
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walawala
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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PskoqCtRFD4 Wasn’t this the whole premise of “Bridge on the River Kwai”? The prisoners become so invested in building the bridge for their enemy they can’t bare the thought of their “Allies” blowing it up for the greater good. This leads to a bigger question…is this the psychology behind the “Shit-test”?—keep the beta invested and controlled? I’m now gaming a woman who goes between docile compliance to extreme shit-testing—canceling dates, attempts to guilt or shame me into some type of compliance. When I reframe, when I ignore or when I parry those shit-tests by turning arguments around—it keeps her intrigued… Read more »

feral1404
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feral1404
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This is tangentially connected to the ‘skittles’ philosophy, no? Minimal investment, both materially and emotionally means little loss of either if the object or goal (in this case banging the mark) doesn’t come off.

In many ways a ‘care-less’ attitude really does serve man well.

Michael of Charlotte
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Michael of Charlotte
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Timely for me Rollo. The last year, I have had success with some of the most attractive women I’ve ever had. One plate, in particular, was exactly what I was looking for. When she finally rejected me (and cut me out of her life), I just couldn’t believe all my investment hadn’t payed off. I learned some pretty important lessons from that experience, not the least of which is to not invest a lot until I’m inside her. More importantly, the advice about not arguing / asserting solid boundaries with a girl until I’m sleeping with her was dead wrong.… Read more »

Westcoaster
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Westcoaster
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I’m glad Rollo linked Pistorius, the Blade Runner who (allegedly) offed his girlfriend this past week. All I could think was, “AFCism claims another.” Dude didn’t have lower legs, but guessing on his enormous fame, he could still get plenty of women in South Africa, which has plenty of beauties. AFCism, oneitis, whatever … that’s what did Pistorius in.

Thanks for the wise words, Rollo. As always, great reading.

Corey Graham
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Corey Graham
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“…or they’ll disqualify women – “I’m not looking for a skank.”” I witnessed this yesterday on Jerry Springer’s, “Baggage” show. The main contestant revealed that he was a 40-year-old virgin, and his excuse was that he was ‘looking for someone special and not some skank.’ It was evident to me though that this was backwards rationalization for his lack of success, which was most likely due to his insecure and awkward behavior. I mean, if he’s looking for a special girl, what the hell is he doing on Baggage? Sure enough, the woman he chose ended up rejecting him because… Read more »

Senior Beta
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Senior Beta
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Between Minter’s Get Out of Jail card and WW’s reference to the greatest movie ever made this comment section is pure gold. And the Bridge movie is a great analogy. Idiot Brit colonel was so invested in his “monument” he could not fathom that it also helped the Japanese war effort. Probably only a good lesson for the old guys getting over a break up.

Dillon
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Dillon
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My philosophy is not to have any sunk costs to begin with.

I only give something to a woman when I get back what I want right away or within a few hours. Smaller this gap, the better.

If she doesn’t reciprocate, I don’t invest any more, let her know why and walk away. What little bit I do lose, its the cost of doing business (research and testing) therefore not a sunk cost. On to next.

‘Reality’ Doug
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Good call, @Senior Beta. I thought those two comments were exceptional as well. The double-edged nature of the IKEA Effect is an important point, so nice post Rollo. Mark Minter: “If a woman calls the police on you, you leave her.” walawala: “This leads to a bigger question…is this the psychology behind the “Shit-test”?—keep the beta invested and controlled?” That’s effing brilliant, walawala. I think it dawns on all of us who learn Game that women are social climbers who only care about The One of their La La Land. They are happy to trip up and keep down N-1… Read more »

LeanBack
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LeanBack
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I’ve also found that women end up feeling pity for men who ‘work too much’. It’s terrible, I’ve been there, fell for the girl -who wasn’t even pretty, just so darned interesting-, blurted my feelings for her, obviously denied (I already knew I was so deep in the friendzone I would find lava), and thought ‘whew, that was it, now I won’t talk to her that much so it doesn’t haunt me forever’. Next thing I know, she’s talking as friends to my best friend -who I didn’t even say anything about the situation- about how I was ‘so insensitive’,… Read more »

Donttreadonmatt
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I hate IKEA. Buying shitty furniture there made out of shitty materials gives you only the illusion of building something. They are selling a false pride, I would say. Instant gratification, nothing more. “I built that!” “No, you put it together. Someone else built all the pieces and wrote the instructions. And they made it out of laminated pressboard crap. That piece of shit will fall apart eventually.”

Most women truly have no idea how much time and effort and care it takes to truly build something that is built to last. Thus, the allure of the instant gratification of IKEA.

Leo G
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Leo G
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Rollo, You can not know how much this post has helped me! I was in the throes of “relational equity”. My wife is definately in an emotional relationship right now, not sure if it has been consumated yet. I know the guy a bit, they are both taking a course together regarding her favourite past time, horses. In this aspect the guy has me dead to rights as he grew up with the beasts. But there I was for the last week, not sleeping, couldn’t focus on work, just going over and over all the bullshit that the mind loves… Read more »

Westcoaster
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Westcoaster
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Rollo has saved a lot of guys with his writing, including me. I’m not super pro Alpha and great with the ladies now, but I no longer apologize for myself and who I am, thanks much to his writing. I’m a work in progress, but it’s much better “work” than my previous “work.” You deserve better, Leo, but women don’t understand this. You have to focus on yourself (which you’re doing) and forge ahead in life with courage. Good luck!

YaReally
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YaReally
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Investment in your ego/identity will fuck you over in pickup down the road too, which is a funny/ironic plateau advanced guys hit that I choose to believe is the universe’s way of keeping you humble lol When your identity is “I’m good with women” and you’ve invested all this time and effort and energy into it and had a bunch of success and crazy adventures and your friends all tell legends about how pimp you are…next thing you know you realize you haven’t legit approached or taken a girl home in months. Once you’ve invested enough, your ego no longer… Read more »

‘Reality’ Doug
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Thanks, @YaReally. You saved me learning the hard way. I’ve felt my confidence at nite game nudging toward coasting, toward looking the role without living it. I’m becoming a better reader, and so more selective, which I don’t know is a problem itself, but I avoided some field exercise and growth. On the other hand, I feel like the other alphas are less inclined to fight me and more inclined just to ignore me. Maybe when I hit on their girls (standing alone for a while) I am sufficiently detached from outcome that I am not threatening. I think I… Read more »

‘Reality’ Doug
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Here’s a thought. You can only have one master. Game teaches us to choose our core selves as master investment. Other women, other people, other self-identities of alien origin and not native to our individual ids SHALL NOT BE MASTER. I am referring to Freud’s functional division of the mind. The superego is an alien that can become the imposter self. It is sick to behold, and the one time ‘be yourself’ is good advice.

Leo G
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Leo G
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@ yareally – yeah, really!

Westcoaster, thanx. Am putting my ducks in a row right now. Just got my bank card updated so that I can personnally follow the money online now, and not have to depend upon her accounting (yeah I was lazy and left all of that shit to her, BIG mistake!). Will be working on an escape plan next. Want to be ready for the nuke should it arrive.

Leo G
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Leo G
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Almost talked myself out of updating the card. Spent the afternoon with the 2 of them, watching as they forged some horseshoes. This guy is very likeable, but my instincts are just screaming “Snake-in-the Grass!”

FuriousFerret
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FuriousFerret
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“These are usually the James Bond guys who go “look alpha” at the bar in their custom tailored suits etc but spend the night 1) not approaching, 2) chatting with their buddies, and 3) talking ABOUT approaching (lol), and 4) making up hamster rationalizations for why they aren’t approaching (these girls aren’t my type, I’m tired from work, blah blah)” I really hate these people when they are part of your group for the simple fact that they want you fail. If a girl even shows interest and is giving signals and they pick up on it they get miffed.… Read more »

AW
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AW
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Oh man oh man oh man, I’ve take a break from RM and the mansosphere for a while to just focus on living more, but what a great post/comments to come back to. Mark Minter – spot on. I made that a hard and fast rule for myself long ago after seeing and hearing about too many decent guys getting the straight shaft in those situations…if a girl even starts *talking* about calling the police, she is terminated from my life permanently. No exceptions. YaReally – Man I have missed the delight of reading your stuff. This was one of… Read more »

Eric
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Eric
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Rollo,

TEDTalks posted a series, Great talks about love, for Valentine’s Day:
http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLOGi5-fAu8bFTShPncnjmrCtuSCR5ShTW

I’m curious about your take on the talks. Just based on the 1st 2 speakers, there’s feminine imperative, but also a strong dose of red pill.

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