day 1996: The Licensing Effect

“The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience.”

In 2006 two professors, Uzma Khan and Ravi Dhar, described a marketing psychology, which they dubbed, “The Licensing Effect”.  Boiling it down, they proved that when we make decisions, we do so against contingencies.  That is to say, that we will balance a whole bunch of factors before we choose, and two of those choices are what’s good for me, and what is bad for me.  And then that means those two choices are not one or another, but instead blended.  Practically, this shows up when someone looks at dinner and because they have a salad to start dinner, then they justify the “good” will allow for the cheeseburger and fries for the entrée, even though that is “bad”.  Thus we allow for a “license” for us to add the bad because the good is in the mix.  I wonder if that isn’t the same reason that we buy hybrid cars even though we know that the SUV is still a gas guzzler, but just because it uses some electric…

As we strive to work and live lives that bring glory and honor to God, we are always under attack with the “Licensing Effect”.  We can deceive ourselves that the time we spent in church yesterday was enough to balance out our words and actions for the week.  It’s so obvious that we can fall for this over and over.  And even if we are deeper in our faith and are daily in the Word, prayer and fellowship, this does not make us immune as we think we can take “license”.  Let’s not fall for it!

Reference: 1 Corinthians 10:13 (New Living Translation)

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