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Variations On “The Benjamin Franklin Effect”

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I’ve previously written about The Benjamin Franklin Effect” and how I use it in the classroom (see “The Benjamin Franklin Effect” In The Classroom).

The “Effect” goes:

You grow to like people for whom you do nice things and hate people you harm.

And, as I said in that previous post, a classroom version is:

Many teachers know that an effective classroom management move to turn a disruptive student into an ally is by giving him/her responsibilities in the classroom — tutoring another student, offering them a key classroom job, etc.

Yesterday, the Wall Street Journal wrote about this concept (without mentioning Franklin) and traced it further back further:

“The transformation of enemies into allies, Machiavelli claims, can be effected by granting enemies some power or benefit; doing so can cause ‘those men who were distrusted [to] become faithful,” write Gersen and Vermeule.

Coincidentally, on the same day the BBC ran a column from Adam Gopnik suggesting that authors do a variation of this practice to their critics: four months after the the critical review runs, the author writes the critic a complimentary note about something the critic has recently written. Then:

And finally, my friend tells me, the warm four-month later letter invariably produces… an apology for the bad review. “Hey, I hope you didn’t take what I wrote in the wrong way…”

….I believe that from now on every artist and every author should embrace my friend’s tactic and make it strategic. Bombard your bad reviewers with advice, admiration and counsel, encumber them with your affection, afflict them with your over-bounding warmth. Guilt and remorse will pour from them as surely as if they were ripe grapes that had been stomped on by a willing peasant.

Of course, then there’s the most famous variation (the spelling error is not mine):

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Author: Larry Ferlazzo

I'm a high school teacher in Sacramento, CA.

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