The Judo Principle

The principle of judo is to use your opponent’s strength against him, by guiding it rather than resisting it.  A recent Australian campaign against reckless driving, aimed specifically at young men, has adopted the same approach with respect to cognitive biases.

The traditional campaign, emphasizing the risks involved with speeding by showing graphic road crashes, was ineffective.  This is as would be predicted by evolutionary psychology.  Young males of many species engage in risky behaviour in order to signal their extraordinary prowess to women.  A man who succeeds, mates, and one who fails might as well be dead anyway, in evolutionary terms.  The traditional campaign assumes that young male speeders don’t realize their behaviour is risky, when in fact they speed because it’s risky.  I wouldn’t be surprised if the campaign actually increased the incidence of dangerous speeding by young men.

The new campaign encourages women to signal a small penis by wiggling their pinky at speeders, a sign which apparently signals a small penis.  This hits the mark, in evolutionary terms.  But will it work?  If women in fact find men who are successful risk takers to be more attractive, I doubt that an advertising campaign will make men believe otherwise.  If the campaign succeeds it will be a fascinating example of the triumph of culture over nature.  It’s worth a try.

Anyone have any other applications of the judo principle?

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