Ever gone to buy airplane tickets and seen a tagline that says âOnly 3 seats left at this price!â Yup, thatâs scarcity. This psychology principle goes back to the simple formula of supply and demand: The more rare the opportunity, content, or product is, the more valuable it is.
In 1975, Worchel, Lee, and Adewole conducted a study to see how scarcity affected people's perception. At the start of the study, they asked people to rate chocolate chip cookies. According to an article Lanya Olmstead that describes the experiment, "[The researchers] put 10 cookies in one jar, and two of the same cookies in another jar. The cookies from the two-cookie jar received ratings twice as high as the 10 cookie jar even though the cookies were exactly the same." But if you want to properly use this principle, you need to be careful how you word it. If you approach the scarcity concept as if there used to be a ton of a product or service, but due to popular demand thereâs a few left, people will be very receptive. On the other hand, if you approach it from the angle that there are only a few products total, so get it now, the principle wonât be as effective.