The Contrast Principle

Photo by Philippe Leone

Photo by Philippe Leone on Unsplash

Have you heard about the Contrast Principle? By the name of the principle itself, You can guess somewhat what it is.

I have recently started reading Influence: The psychology of persuasion by Robert Cialdini and I have to say, the first chapter itself is amazing.

The Contrast Principle is one of those laws that master salesmen have been using on us from a long time without us even acknowledging it.

What is the Contrast Principle?

According to the Contrast Principle,

One will perceive two things in a drastically different way if they are presented one before another depending on the order in which these things are presented.

Consider the case when you want to buy a Suit and some accessories and the salesman starts to show you the Suit first and then the accessories instead of showing the accessories first and then the suit.


They are making use of the Contrast Principle. Once you buy a $499 suit and he shows you some $99 accessories after that, there are more chances of you buying the accessories since the perception of the price is drastically different. Compared to $499 what is $99? It is a pretty good deal.

But if he showed you the $99 accessories first you might be reluctant to buy it, and if you are not buying the $99 accessories then there are very huge chances that you will conceive the $499 as too expensive.

So this is my understanding of the Contrast Principle. I might be wrong with my understanding. If you have any feedback, please comment below. I would love to hear from you. Thanks.