Operant conditioning is an old psychology technique that I have applied to this purpose. It is based on reinforcement vs. punishment to encourage a voluntary change in a subject’s behavior.

There are two kinds of reinforcements or punishments, and they are positive and negative.

Although a negative reinforcement or a positive punishment may sound counter intuitive, allow me to explain.

For this example, I will use the classical experiment used in labs, and then a real life situation in which a guy is trying to get a girl to act a certain way. In labs, they had a box with a rat in it, his feeder and a few levers (buttons.) Some levers were to be pushed down; others were not to be touched.

SO we will assume that we wish to reinforce pushing Lever A, but punish pushing Lever B, as we will assume that we wish to reinforce a girl touching the guy on the arm, and want to punish the girl ignoring the guy for a brief moment.

(If she keeps ignoring you, walk away…you did something wrong.)

Reinforcement: encourage something (Lever A/touch on the arm)

Punishment: discourage something (Lever B/momentary ignoring)

Positive: give something

Negative: take something away

Positive Reinforcement: Something good is given to the subject after the action is made,

1. Rat presses Lever A, gets a treat.

2. Girl touches your arm, you teach her how you did that magic trick you did earlier

Negative Reinforcement: Something annoying or bothersome is removed

1. Rat presses Lever A, that annoying noise in the room stops.

2. Girl touches your arm, you get rid of other drunk guy who’s been bothering her all night (can be A LOT of fun.)

Positive Punishment: Something bad is given to the subject after action is performed.

1. Rat presses Lever B; rat gets a small electric shock.

2. Girl ignores you; you push her away (playfully) and say something like, “That’s it, we’re done here.” (Again…playfully.)

Negative Punishment: Something good is taken away after the action is made.

1. Rat presses Lever B, his food is caged off.

2. Girl ignores you momentarily, you turn away and talk to someone else, possibly show them a magic trick (do whatever it is she liked about you.)

Let me talk about positive punishment for a second here before you guys go out there pushing girls around in hopes of getting a phone number. This works assuming you’ve connected with the girl and she’s ignoring you for a bit, or maybe you’re dancing with her and she moves away, or you put your arm around her and she squirms away. Not if you’re being annoying and she wants to ignore you. If that’s the case, you did something wrong…don’t say “that’s it were done here,” because you’d be doing her a favor. Take the hint and scram.

This works in cases where you have her but you caught her off guard for a second. So you’re sitting down, all is well, you put your arm around her she moves away a little. Push her away even more, jokingly, and say, “That’s it, were done.”

Now, two things can happen. Either 1, she will try to win you back because she is conscious that she just created awkwardness in an otherwise very comfortable situation and she wants the comfort back (this is most probably the case.) Or 2, (less likely) she will express that she felt a little uncomfortable with you putting your arm around her (example) in which case you say, “Wow ! Slow down, I think you’re a cool person, but don’t get any ideas here.” Throw it back on her…it always works.

Remember This: For operant conditioning to work, the reinforcements and punishments must be consistent and immediate.

This is very important. When she does something you like, reinforce it immediately, and every time. If she does something you don’t like, punish it, immediately and every time.

Don’t ever say, “Ok, I’ll let this one pass.” You will mess up your entire progress.


Spidey is an international hypnotist/mentalist/magician whose career began 10 years ago and has flourished to unprecedented heights. Beyond the scope of performance, he is an international creator of magic and mentalism as well as a persuasion, influence and covert hypnosis specialist. He continues to perform across Canada and the US and wows audiences internationally from all over the Caribbean to Europe.

Leave a Reply