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Posts Tagged ‘Controlled Processes’

Finding Reason in Rhyme, Nearly Every Time

April 16th, 2017 No comments

Happiness, health, love, and money — what else would anyone need?  These most universal of human interests are often the center of common phrases, called aphorisms, that express some general principle about how our world works . . . or so they claim.  For example, we all know that great spenders are bad lenders, and surely, what sobriety conceals, alcohol reveals.  Many people are very familiar with these aphorisms through previous, repeated exposure to them.  One critical feature contributing to the popularity of these phrases is their rhyming pattern.  But how about the phrase an apple a day keeps you pretty healthy? Well, maybe not. The botched rhyme in this last phrase makes us question the truth behind the statement.  This is due to the Rhyme-as-Reason Effect.  This effect is a cognitive bias by which people judge the validity and accuracy of a statement as being more true if the statement rhymes.  So, although the aphorisms are very vague, the use of rhyme as a rhetorical device asserts their claim in a more persuasive way.   Read more…

The Identifiable Victim Effect: Why you should reconsider donating to the child on GoFundMe

April 15th, 2017 1 comment

What kinds of charities do you give to? What spurs you to give to them? Is it images on GoFundMe of your friend’s neighbor’s child suffering from cancer, or the story of an exploited woman finding refuge and employment through a non-profit? Do you get a feeling of satisfaction when you type in your annual donations as deductibles to send to the IRS?

These are questions that can be answered and understood through the Identifiable Victim Effect, which says that people are more willing to give aid when they can identify a specific victim who will benefit from their donation. That is, when you or I hear a suffering child’s story or see their picture, we are more likely to whip out our wallets.

Why is this? It isn’t a rational or effective strategy for doing the most good for the most people. People donated $700,000 upon hearing the publicized plight of Baby Jessica who fell into a well in 1987, an amount of money that was probably not necessary to save Baby Jessica and perhaps should have been shared with other necessary causes, such as the thousands of nameless babies who are abandoned and dying around the world (Small, Loewenstein, & Slovic, 2007). The Identifiable Victim Effect does not rely on logic, so its explanation certainly isn’t going to be found in the sensible decisions of kind citizens.

What a cute child! His story of suffering from cancer raised more than twice the amount of the original goal. Source: GoFundMe.

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Stroop Interference and Reading Ability

April 8th, 2013 3 comments

If you have ever taken an introductory level class in Psychology, chances are you learned about the Stroop task.  For those of you who haven’t, try this activity out for yourself; look at the list of words written below. Simply name the color ink the word is written in. It sounds easy enough, but is actually much harder than you might think.

REDBLUE, BLACK, ORANGEPINKGREEN

BLUEORANGEGREENREDPINKBLACK

Undoubtedly you were able to read the first line with ease, but the second line, well that was a different story. Chances are you find yourself inclined to read the word initially and then must pause to actually say the color ink instead. This task can be frustrating! Why is it so hard? Why is the bottom row where color words are written in their inconsistent ink so much harder do than the top row where words are in consistent ink color?

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