Are you still doing what this Researcher wants you to do?

 

Almost a year ago, when I ran this fun little influence experiment, I was able to use my jedi mind powers (priming) to influence my coworkers to prefer Kit Kat Candy Bars over Reeses Peanut Butter Cups.

If you didn’t read that blog post I’d like to know who hurt you so badly to make you deprive yourself of a good time?

In either case, here’s a short recap of that study’s results –

By using a “gimme a break” sign next to a bowl of Reeses & Kit Kats, I was able to prime and influence my coworkers to prefer Kit Kats over Reeses more than 5 to 1. The final count was 7 Kit Kats vs. 39 Reeses Peanut Butter Cups!

(Read the full blog post here).

But some anti-peanut butter readers were skeptical of this finding – these readers were later identified to be Negative Nancy and Pessimist Patty.

So this time around, I wanted to address the skeptics and see if I could reverse the influence.

  • Could I again apply the same mental yoga, sweet mind science on my sugar-hungry coworkers?
  • Could I reverse their previous preferences and make them choose Reeses Peanut Butter Cups over Kit Kats?

How I Primed for Reeses Peanut Butter Cups

Like the first experiment, I activated priming by using a sign placed next to the candy. This was the sign:
primingpost2
The sign says, “Businessing & Carbs go together like Peanut Butter & Jelly. Treat yo self!

My hopes were for the sign to subtly nudge my coworkers into thinking about peanut butter before making a choice. By planting the thought of peanut butter in their heads, the Reeses option should appear more attractive just because it has a peanut butter flavor profile. Peanut Butter flavor should now be easier to access and thus preferred because it is mentioned/illustrated on the sign.

Results
Good news and bad news for this ol Mind Controller Researcher.
First the bad news – Overall, I was not able to completely change my coworkers preferences, Kit Kat remained more popular than Reeses. So it turns out I can’t completely mind drone my coworkers – gimme a break!
BUT! Here’s the good news – the preference of Kit Kat over Reeses was not as strong as what was shown in the first experiment. If you recall, the final chocolate count for the first experiment was – 7 Kit Kats vs. 39 Reeses.
In this study, the final count was – 13 Kit Kats vs. 35 Reeses.
Based on these numbers, my coworkers’ preference for Kit Kat over Reeses dropped! When previously 5 Kit Kats would have been taken before even 1 Reeses was picked, this time, only 3 Kit Kats were taken before 1 Reeses Peanut Butter Cup.

finalfinalcount
With that said, though Kit Kats were still preferred, they were not flying off my desk as much as last time – it’s arguable that the priming worked (again)!

 

Conclusion
Most of us like to think that our decisions are completely autonomous. After all, the western world is built upon terms like “Liberty” & “Freedom”. However, there are many influences out there that (like this experiment showed) may not necessarily reverse your decisions and choices, but rather, may subtly nudge and have you hovering towards options you may not have initially preferred. Are these nudges a bad thing? Not necessarily. But it’s always good to have an understanding of how our thoughts & decisions can propel up through outside influences.

Really quick, think of something that can be remote controlled.
Did you think of a flying drone?
Did this researcher make you think what he wanted you to think?

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