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People tend to value what they cannot have psychological research has demonstrated this many times in various contexts from toys to job advertisements Hong Giannakopulous Lang Williams 1994 Highhouse Beadle Gallo Miller 1998 In real life people are bombarded by these once in a lifetime opportunities multiple times every day It is indeed a powerful and widely used tool to persuade consumers to buy a product or convince people to do things they would otherwise not do only because it is a limited time offer Although the Scarcity principle has been studied with consumer goods and other persuasive appeals the research concerning these effects on attractiveness of potential romantic partners are limitedThe scarcity principle relies on the heuristic that if something is rare it must be good Griskevicius Goldstein Mortenson Sundie Cialdini Kenrick 2009 In other words objects that are appear to be difficult to obtain or are relatively unavailable are perceived as more valuable Appeals of this nature emphasize the distinctiveness or unavailability of the product or opportunity that is being offered Perceived expensiveness tends to be the key mediator is perceived expensiveness however it seems counterintuitive that the value of a potential romantic partner would be subject to monetary appraisal Other mediators are Downward social comparison theory Need for uniqueness theory and Reactance theory Lynn 1992 Intuitively Reactance theory seems to be the more plausible explanation than the remaining theories as the target of appraisal is not an inanimate object but rather a personReactance theory suggests that when an individuals freedom of choice is threatened the individual will attempt to restore his freedom even if the option being taken away would not have been used in the first place Brehm 1981 In other words if one has a number of alternatives and one of the relatively less favourable alternatives is under threat of removal one will pursue that alternative and it will be perceived as more valuable than originally perceived
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