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ChangingMinds Blog! > Blog Archive > 04-Dec-16


Sunday 04-December-16

Identity security and your number plate

I was driving into a rather expensive enclave of houses in Woking, England, the other day, and a sign lit up in front of me: 'Number plate identified: YR51 DCD'. Yikes! I thought. That's the number of my car. Then I was rather impressed. They'd not only clocked me, they had also pointed out that they had done this. Rather than secretly taking the number (and maybe a movie of me driving too), they told me that they had done this. What was I to think? Not to do anything wrong, of course. What a neat ploy. Having reminded me that I was being watched, I was now far less likely to commit a crime, even if I was not being monitored at that point (after all, I didn't see the camera that caught the car).

A key part of this little method was in capturing something unique, which effectively is a part of my identity. I saw the number plate and thought 'That's my car!' It was as if they had photographed me and knew just who I was. This is one of the tricks of any security system - to connect to the person's sense of identity. This has been done in experiments in the past where a person is put into a situation where they may cheat and think they can get away with it. People who have been primed by reminding them of their values, of being honest, etc. not long before will be more likely not to cheat.

So, think about where you want to create security. Then remind people of their identity. For example greet people by name when you meet them. If you don't know their name, ask. Then they know that you know them. Just like that.

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