What is it called when you tell someone not to do something but actually want them to do it, and by you telling them what to not do it provides the means for them to actually engage in said activity? Like during Prohibition, when wine companies made grape bricks telling customers not to leave the bricks for too long or they would turn to wine, and by telling them not to they were hoping for customers to do exactly that.

  • Thrown into the briar patch
    – Kris
    Apr 16, 2021 at 1:03

2 Answers 2


This technique is called reverse psychology

a technique involving the assertion of a belief or behavior that is opposite to the one desired, with the expectation that this approach will encourage the subject of the persuasion to do what actually is desired.

And from Merriam-Webster

a method of getting someone to do what one wants by pretending not to want it or by pretending to want something else

I think this term can be used for cases when the process of telling the other person not to do something involves telling them how to do it.


This is "reverse psychology", which means to tell someone to do something (or not to do something) in the expectation that they will want to disobey you and so do the opposite of what you say.

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