Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Science of Persuasion: Convince Folks They Need You?
A fascinating, though I guess unsurprising, study via Kevin Drum. Folks on a city bus were asked to participate in a survey and told they would be paid $5, which they could take in either cash or lottery tickets. What they didn't know is that the real study was about which type of payment they would request.
The group made to feel poor was asked to provide its income on a scale that began at "less than $100,000" and went up from there, ensuring that most respondents would be in the lowest income tier. The group made to feel subjectively wealthier was asked to report income on a scale that began with "less than $10,000" and increased in $10,000 increments, leading most respondents to be in a middle tier. The group made to feel poor purchased twice as many lottery tickets (an average of 1.27) than those made to feel relatively wealthier (0.67 tickets, on average).
This is logical for sure. But a little bit scary as to our ability to be so easily and immediately manipulated on an impulse level. What do you notice in lottery advertisements? Are states already selling it by making people feel poor?

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