Friday, 22 May 2009

So you want to know about Brain-Washing?

Ah, that word, Brainwashing.
In today's society, saying it seems to bring up images of 'Men In Black', holding some-what conspicuous corporate sex toys that flash in your eyes, blanking your memory for as long as you've had it.

Well, as it happens, that's not the case. Perhaps in some black ops situations there might be chrome-gadgetry like that, but in day-to-day life, it really isn't that advanced. Nope, sorry to disappoint you, but what I am about to show you is nothing as advanced as an MIB storyboard.

Instead, the Brainwashing principles I am about to illustrate are very simple, so simple in fact that it is quite scary to think that it is this easy to brainwash/ manipulate/dupe us etc into doing things or not doing things.

Without further a do;

(Taken from Rob Walker's book - 'I'm with the Brand')

'...organized by Dan Ariely, a management science professor at MIT, along with collaborators Baba Shiv and Ziv Carmon. They were interested in how the effectiveness of something like an energy drink might be affected by its price and by third-party claims.

The 204 participants in Ariely's experiment were split into four groups. In each group, everyone drank a can of SoBe Adrenaline Rush, waited ten minutes, and then were asked to solve a series of puzzles; a set of written instructions explained that the subject had thirty minutes to solve 15 puzzles. An earlier pilot study - that is, one not involving energy drinks- had established the average number of puzzles solved was 9.1.

For half the subjects, the written instructions also included this statement: 'The website of SoBe includes references to over 50 scientific studies suggesting that consuming drinks like SoBe can significantly improve mental functioning.'
The other half got the same note, except that in their version the claim was downgraded: Energy drinks were said to 'slightly' improve mental function.

There was a second variable. Each of the two groups were divided again: Half were told the drink cost $1.89, the normal retail price, and the rest that it would cost half the regular price, thanks to an institutional discount (that is, nothing to do with the quality of the drink).

Members of the group that drank full-price SoBe and had been told the drink 'can significantly improve mental functioning' were by far the puzzle-solving stars of the experiment; they completed an average of 10.1 each - better than the energy drink-free norm of 9.1.

The other groups, curiously, all performed well BELOW normal. The worst was the group told that SoBe might 'slightly' boost mental functioning and that they were drinking 89-cent cans; those subjects managed only 4.2 puzzles on average.

This seems bizarre. It's one thing for the power of suggestion to lead a person to believe that a certain beverage tastes better than another - or even that it is better than the same thing in a different package. But here the change occurred not in the subjective realm of taste, but in the measurable realm of a kind of mental performance.'

And there you have it. Brainwashing doesn't come in chrome folks, but in 'price' and 'third-party claims'.

Wake up.
Don't sleep.

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