Manipulation in psychology is a behavior designed to exploit, control, or otherwise influence others to one’s advantage. Definitions for the term vary in which behavior is specifically included, influenced by both culture and whether referring to the general population or used in clinical contexts. Manipulation is generally considered a dishonest form of social influence as it is used at the expense of the others.

Manipulative tendencies may derive from personality disorders such as borderline personality disorder, narcissistic personality disorder, or antisocial personality disorder. Manipulation is also correlated with higher levels of emotional intelligence, and is a chief component of the personality construct dubbed Machiavellianism.

Manipulation differs from general influence and persuasion. Influence is generally perceived to be harmless and it is not seen as unduly coercive to the individual's right of acceptance or rejection of influence. Persuasion is the ability to move others to a desired action, usually within the context of a specific goal. Persuasion often attempts to influence ones beliefs, religion, motivations, or behavior. Influence and persuasion are neither positive nor negative, unlike manipulation which is strictly negative. We are led to believe that manipulation is negative and this blinds us from the positives. Positive manipulation is a form of practice where an individual can turn any aspect that may not be going well into a positive experience. Ultimately, one's goal is to not be manipulated but if the situation does arise, the individual is able to manifest for the best. Creating the best version of yourself allows you to grow, and help influence the behaviors of others as well. Individuals who behave in prosocial behavior manners can be manipulated to have positive mood reactions. Alongside showing encouragement during a time where an individual is feeling down can result in improvements in mood.

Source: Manipulation (psychology) (

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