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.