The Ethics of Mind Control

Postby Relee » Wed Jun 24, 2009 1:49 am

Lately I've been thinking about writing an essay on the Ethics of Mind Control. I found myself thinking, though, that I'd like to hear what some other people think on the subject instead.

What are your thoughts on the subject?
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Re: The Ethics of Mind Control

Postby Idiot Glee » Wed Jun 24, 2009 2:25 am

Well, I had you write that. You don't remember because you were 'restrained' and 'chemically neutralized' at the time.

How do you feel about that, Relee?
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Re: The Ethics of Mind Control

Postby Jennifer Diane Reitz » Wed Jun 24, 2009 2:36 am

There is only one ethical stance with regard to mind control, and it is Absolutely No Mind Control.

Mind control is just another word for 'slavery'.

It is also another word for 'death'.


You mind is you. If you don't own/control your own mind, you don't have a life of your own, or even thoughts entirely your own, and in a very real sense, you are effectively dead. A mind-controlled person is a zombie to the degree that their mind is controlled.

Just a little controlled, that much dead. Fully controlled means nobody home - you no longer exist.

How many drops of urine in your coffee begin to be too much?


This seems to obvious to me, that I have to ask... what would make you ask such a thing?
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Re: The Ethics of Mind Control

Postby Anna » Wed Jun 24, 2009 3:07 am

The daily mind control ist the most used thing.

It is small, and nobody does it really notice, but: "Steter Tropfen höhlt den Stein."
( a constantly drop does erode the stone)

You can think about the press, the news at radio and TV.
But the smaller one are by the people around you, you say yes if it would be better to say no.
There would be some consequences if you would do the opposite.

You can get the big picture, evil government & co. or watch out for the little mind control at your job, in your neighbourhood, by your friends, in your family.
Sometimes it is the glue to keep it all together, but it can be transformed into the evil.

And mostly, we don't notice it.
We do nasty things, hurt the others and we think it is because these are our own thoughts.
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Re: The Ethics of Mind Control

Postby Coda » Wed Jun 24, 2009 5:04 am

I think we should start by asking for a working definition of "mind control."
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Re: The Ethics of Mind Control

Postby strange_person » Wed Jun 24, 2009 7:58 am

Jennifer Diane Reitz wrote:There is only one ethical stance with regard to mind control, and it is Absolutely No Mind Control.

Mind control is just another word for 'slavery'.

It is also another word for 'death'.


You mind is you. If you don't own/control your own mind, you don't have a life of your own, or even thoughts entirely your own, and in a very real sense, you are effectively dead. A mind-controlled person is a zombie to the degree that their mind is controlled.

Just a little controlled, that much dead. Fully controlled means nobody home - you no longer exist.

How many drops of urine in your coffee begin to be too much?
What if it's consensual? I mean, some people are into that sort of thing.
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Re: The Ethics of Mind Control

Postby draque » Wed Jun 24, 2009 8:30 am

Coda wrote:I think we should start by asking for a working definition of "mind control."


Agreed. Ultimately, affecting people's thought process without their knowing, against their will or both can be looked at as a very loose definition of "mind control," I think. That being said, yelling at a person could be construed as a basic form of mind control. You're going to agitate them, whether they want to be agitated or not. Propaganda is a form of mind control, but defining propaganda can be difficult. Obviously, sci fi conceits (computer chips applied directly to the brain to regulate what you're allowed to think, psychic rewriting of memories and opinions, etc.) are the scary extremes of mind control, but the question is where we draw the line in terms of mind control that goes on in the real world.
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Re: The Ethics of Mind Control

Postby strange_person » Wed Jun 24, 2009 10:17 am

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If you were in the victim's position, which would you prefer?
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Re: The Ethics of Mind Control

Postby Skatche » Wed Jun 24, 2009 12:19 pm

All of us are already being mind controlled, albeit in a diffuse manner and by a number of conflicting sources. (In fact, one could probably argue that our sense of self is at least partly informed by the very fact of having conflicting inputs.) Ideas widely held within your social circle (not necessarily ideologies: these could be, for example, opinions about certain other people in your social group) seem able to partially or completely bypass one's defenses. Careful introspection should turn up a number of thought patterns without any apparent source, but which, on further examination, probably came from your peer group. On a few occasions I've even found myself thinking oppositely to prevailing ideas, but acting according to them nonetheless, without even realizing I was doing it.

Ethics? It's hard to attach a purely or even predominantly negative value judgment to this phenomenon. By our very nature we must allow ourselves to be "controlled" by our environment; we call that perception (n.b.: perception is distinct from (and, depending on your definition, includes as a subset) pure sensation). Where the ethical side comes in, perhaps, is in the fact that one can use mind control in order to trick others into working for oneself, to their detriment. But again, it's difficult to attach a negative value judgment: most people do this all the time without even realizing it. At best we can perhaps say that consciously and deliberately manipulating people to their detriment is an ethical wrong.

Fortunately, the wrong in question suggests its own counteraction. One can consciously manipulate one's own mind in precisely the same way that others manipulate it. This isn't a simple matter of knowledge or opinion. Special techniques have to be applied in order to fully embody one's chosen program; otherwise one ends up accidentally hypocritical, as I've mentioned above. Those techniques, however, are readily available, and indeed, informed experimentation is all it takes to develop new ones.
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Re: The Ethics of Mind Control

Postby Wizard CaT » Wed Jun 24, 2009 4:23 pm

Society is mind control.

To wit: why did you originally censor nudity from To Save Her and Pastel?

Also http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Code_Geass
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Re: The Ethics of Mind Control

Postby Shackler » Wed Jun 24, 2009 5:41 pm

Skatche, can you clarify your third paragraph?
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Re: The Ethics of Mind Control

Postby Skatche » Wed Jun 24, 2009 9:57 pm

Shackler wrote:Skatche, can you clarify your third paragraph?


Not sure in what respect you want me to clarify, so I'll just clarify everything.

The goal here is to avoid falling victim to detrimental thought patterns. These thought patterns actually don't even have to be caused by the deliberate or habitual manipulations of individual humans; there are plenty of ways they can arise. But deliberate mind control is an interesting case because the same techniques can be applied inward that others apply outward. That is, you can learn to consciously choose and construct thought patterns that are to your benefit (according to your goals, inclinations, etc.). This should not be confused with some core Essence making changes to the cognitive dross; as far as I can tell it's just patterns modifying other patterns. I don't think that should make too much of a difference practically, though.

Anyway, the difficulty here is that rational/semantic thought can, but often doesn't, inform behaviour. As I mentioned, I have sometimes caught myself acting contrary to strongly-held beliefs; indeed, often this hypocrisy goes for days or weeks without being detected. It seems, in other words, that there are deeply-rooted systems in the mind that respond automatically to some situations, are resistant to influence by the rational mind, and may be difficult to detect. Any successful attempt at reprogramming oneself, therefore, will need some way to deal with these systems directly.

There are a number of techniques one can use, coming from a variety of traditions. To give you a few examples: meditation (of certain sorts) hones your awareness of mental activity, reflexive or otherwise; actively transgressing your own moral code (within limits!) helps break up guilt complexes and control anxieties and that sort of thing, limbering your psyche and freeing up cognitive energy; group therapy and role-playing (not of the D20 sort) allow you to practice and cement beneficial ways of dealing with people (or, depending on what skill set you're going for, wargames will make you a better soldier).

It also helps - to a certain extent - simply to be aware that you're being controlled, and to learn to recognize the mechanisms of control being employed by others. Won't do the whole job, but it's certainly a start.
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Re: The Ethics of Mind Control

Postby Mitsukara » Thu Jun 25, 2009 1:06 pm

The nudity in Pastel was censored?? UJ wasn't.

While mind control can be a nasty thing, there's a lot to be said, even in it's vilest usage, for how temporary the example we're talking about is. Of course, there is the issue of lasting neurological effects/imprints/damage even after the control is discontinued, too.

I personally don't think that any kind of non-willingly induced mind control is just; unless it's some kind of self-defense device that just beams "don't hurt anything" waves at someone's head to incapacitate them in a violent situation or something.

But when on the receiving end, it's always better for it to be temporary, yes? Even if it gives you "what have I done?!" type issues and recurring bad dreams and you relapse every time you smell lemons, at least you'd have the capacity to think for yourself somewhat restored afterwards.

Pretty nasty business for the most part, though.

Skatche wrote:actively transgressing your own moral code (within limits!) helps break up guilt complexes and control anxieties and that sort of thing, limbering your psyche and freeing up cognitive energy;

I have a little good experience with that one, I think.

Now, if I were to go spewing random ideas, which I at the moment am inclined to... I think that individually thinking something for which you have absolutely no basis in experience or previously recognized concept may be impossible, or at least extremely hard, for the same reasons that nothing physically springs in and out of existence; conservation of mass and energy and the like. However, your mind can weigh everything it has to work with, amalgamate some combinations and mutations of the stuff it has (and do the reverse as well), and generally uses experience as material (one could point out that it physically is neurological material).

The operating system for how it uses this material comes about in a few different ways, but basically, your brain comes with a simplistic source code and then you start adding to it yourself using that experience, building your own version of it. It can be dismantled and reconfigured if one is determined enough for some reason and knows what they're doing, and software can be swapped out a little easier *cough cough*.

But, as long as your operating system is in set up in a way that allows it, and you have the material to be inclined to do so, you can make choices from what you have (or can amalgamate) from there. This, I think, is thinking for onesself, freedom of choice, etc.

Now, the agnostic and weak, semi-crushed optimist in me would also like to suggest that maybe it is possible to think something out of nowhere, and that it seems interesting that while conservation of mass and energy seem to apply to most things, the proportionate loss and gain of specific information is a sketchier process... but the agnostic in me also admits that there might be downer physical proof that that's silly talk, as well as the omnipresent possibility that I'm just squishing together ideas to think about that don't really make sense, e.g. that I'm quite mistaken in thinking such a thing is possible.

Then again, the agnostic in me also thinks that all of the above and any number of other things I haven't thought of could be true, and that it's very unlikely that any of them can be proved, and that it all comes down to (A) the best guess I can make and (B) what I enjoy thinking about for it's own sake.

I'm pretty sure the agnostic in me is a basic natural use of the OS source code, but I had to get rid of some pretty nasty viruses before it worked right...
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Re: The Ethics of Mind Control

Postby RaharuAharu » Thu Jun 25, 2009 1:51 pm

http://consumerist.com/5302506/50-scien ... -consumers

http://www.moskalyuk.com/blog/yes-50-sc ... persuasive

Noah Goldstein’s, Steve Martin’s (no, not that Steve Martin’s) and Robert Cialdini’s Yes! 50 Scientifically Proven Ways to Be Persuasive is a pop psych book, where a bunch of research in psychology is distilled into one readable volume.

50 scientifically proven ways constitute 50 chapters of the book, longest of which take 7 pages. The authors take the position that persuasion is a science, not art, hence with the right approach anybody can become the master in the skill of persuasion. So, what are the 50 ways?

1. Inconvenience the audience by creating an impression of product scarcity. It’s the famous change from “Call now, the operators are standing by” to “If the line is busy, call again”, that greatly improved the call volume by creating the impression that everybody else is trying to buy the same product.

2. Introduce herd effect in highly personalized form. The hotel sign in the bathroom informed the guests that many prior guests chose to be environmentally friendly by recycling their towels. However, when the message mentioned that majority of the guests who stayed in this specific room chose to be more environmentally conscious and reused their towels, towel recycling jumped 33%, even though the message was largely the same.

3. Ads quoting negative behavior en masse reinforces negative behavior. Petrified Forest National Park A/B tested two versions of a sign imploring people not to steal pieces of petrified forest from the park. One mentioned large amounts of petrified forest taken away on an annual basis, the other one simply asked the visitors not to remove petrified wood. The first one actually tripled the theft ratio as it showed stealing petrified wood as something commonplace. Same effect was observed after airing an ad that implored women to vote, but mentioned that 22 million single women did not vote last year. That kind of information actually portrays not voting as more socially acceptable.

4. Avoiding magnetic middle. A California survey measured energy usage of a neighborhood on a week-by-week basis. When the average electricity consumption for the neighborhood was calculated, researchers sent thank-you cards to those using the energy conservatively, and a nice reminder to perhaps conserve to those who used electricity liberally. Net effect? While the liberals tried to cut down on unnecessary energy usage, the conservatives, finding out they’re way below average, suddenly became way more liberal with their energy usage, which actually increased the amount of energy used by the neighborhood. Proposed solution that worked? Sending a smiley face card to conservatives with a request to keep doing what they were doing, instead of pointing out they were at the right end of the bell curve.

5. Too many options necessitate selection, and hence frustration, when brain decides it’s unnecessary work. The example here is given by a company that manages retirement funds for other companies, and hence has access to retirement information of 800,000 employees. When employees were offered a choice of 2 funds, roughly 75% signed up for a retirement program. When the number of funds was increased to 59%, even though qualitatively this was a better deal for employees, only 60% decided to sign up. When Head & Shoulders brand killed off 11 flavors of the shampoo, leaving only 15 on the market, the sales rose 10%.

6. Giving away the product makes it less desirable. Researchers gave one group of people a picture of a pearl bracelet and asked to evaluate its desirability. Another group of people was given the same task, but prior to that was shown an ad, where the same bracelet was given away for free, if you bought a bottle of expensive liqueur. The second group considered the bracelet much less desirable, since mentally a lot of potential buyers (35% of them to be exact) shuffled the bracelet onto “trinkets they give away for free” shelf in their brain.

7. A more expensive product makes the old version look like a value buy. An example here is a Williams-Sonoma bread maker. After an introduction of a newer, better, and pricier version, the sales of the old unit actually increased, as couples viewed the new item as “top of the line”, but old product was all of a sudden reasonably-priced, even though a bunch of features were missing.

8. If a call to action is motivated by fear, people will block it, unless call to action has specific steps. A group of people received a pamphlet describing the dangers of tetanus infection. It didn’t describe much else. The second group of people got a description of tetanus infection, plus a set of instructions on how to get vaccinated. The second group exhibited much higher sign-up rate for tetanus vaccination than the first one, where many participants tried to block out the high-fear message urging that something as rare as tetanus would never happen to them.

9. A small gift makes people want to reciprocate. People who received a small no-strings-attached gift from a stranger were twice as likely to buy raffle tickets from him than those who were just pitched on raffle tickets.

10. Hand-written Post-It note improves response rate on inter-office letters. Researchers distributed three sets of questionnaires around the office. The first set included a hand-written Post-It note requesting completion of the survey. The second set got the same survey, with the request to return it hand-written on Page 1. Third group got the same survey with their name mentioned (in type) on page 1 of the survey. Response rates? 75%, 48%, 36%. People appreciated personalized approach, and somehow a Post-It note even highlighted the extra work that someone did before sending out the survey.

11. How restaurant mints are a personalized affair. Let’s a say a restaurant provides mints for its customers on the way out. If the amount of tips per week is the baseline for that restaurant, let’s make the waiters include a mint as they give the check to the customer. The tips go up by 3.3%. However, when the waiters offer the mints themselves, prior to signing the check, the tipping amount went up by 14.1%. In yet another experiment, the waiter would present the patrons with 1 mint per guest, then give them the check, then turning around to leave, then, as if remembering something sudden, turning around and giving them yet another mint per guest. Result? 23% increase in tips, as this signaled high amount of personalization.

12. Attaching no strings increases response to the message. Using the same hotel as the one mentioned in Chapter 2, researchers tried out two different versions of the sign. The first one: if you reuse the towels, a donation will be made to a nonprofit environmental organization. The second version: the donation has already been made, since the hotel trusted you’d reuse the towels anyways. Recipients of the second message reused their towels 45% more than the recipients of the first one.

13. As time goes by, the value of a favor increases in the eyes of the favor-giver, and decreases in the eyes of the favor-receiver. Researchers asked a group of people in the random office environment to exchange favors and then rate the value of the given/received favor in their eyes. A few weeks later the same employees were reminded of the favor, and asked to evaluate the favor again. Favor-givers consistently assigned higher value to a given favor, while as the time passed by, favor-receivers tended to assign lower value to the received favor.

14. Asking for small favors changes self-perception, introducing ways for big favors. Researchers asked a group of homeowners to place a large “Drive Carefully” sign on their front lawn. Only 17% agreed. With the second group of homeowners, 76% of people were ok with road traffic people maintaining the sign on their beautiful lawns. What was the difference between two groups? A few weeks earlier group B was asked to display a small non-intrusive window sign asking drivers to slow down. This mental foot-in-the-door technique made homeowners from the group B view themselves as socially responsible and safety-aware, hence a request for a larger favor few weeks later didn’t startle them.

15. Labeling people into a social group tends to increase their participation ratio. A group of people was interviewed regarding their voting patterns. Half of them were told that based on their response criteria, they were very likely to vote, since they were deemed to be more politically active. Later on the election day that specific half did indeed turn up a participation rate that was 15% higher than participation of the control group.

16. Asking people to substantiate their decision will lead to higher commitment rate on that decision. Researchers called a group of people asking them how likely they were to vote in an upcoming election. Those who responded positively were either asked nothing, or asked why they felt they would vote. Any reason would suffice, but when the election day came, the turnout for the control group (who all responded “Yes” to the question of whether they were going to vote) was 61.5%. Turnout for the group that actually gave a reason (any reason)? 86.7%. A restaurant stopped telling customers “Please call to cancel your reservation” and started asking “Will you call and let us know if you need to cancel?” Net result? Number of reservation no-shows dropped from 30% to 10%.

17. Writing things down improves commitment. Group A was asked to volunteer on AIDS awareness program at local schools, and was asked to commit verbally. Group B was asked for the same kind of volunteer project, but was given a simple form to fill in. 17% of volunteers from Group A actually showed up to their assigned local school. From Group B 49% of volunteers showed up.

18. The fact that circumstances changed allows people to change their viewpoints without being viewed as inconsistent. People are generally not thrilled to change their viewpoints on something, as they fear they will display lack of consistency and be called a flip-flopper. Convincing people that their old decision (to stick with the old product) was completely 100% correct under old circumstances allows them to be more responsive to the messages that imply a new product/idea is better because the circumstances radically changed since then.

19. Sometimes asking people for help makes them more open. Group A was given some bogus research that included a sum of prize money. After the experiment, the researcher approached them and asked whether it wouldn’t be inconvenient if they had to give the money back, since the researcher was using his own money. Group B was not approached with such request after their portion of bogus experiment was done, and was allowed to keep the money. After this both groups were asked to rate their impression of the researcher. Even though it was the first group who didn’t get to keep any money, all of them consistently rated the researcher higher on likability scale.

20. Asking for little goes a long way. Researchers went door-to-door asking for American Cancer Society donations. Group A just asked for a donation, group B ended their spiel with “even a penny would help”. Results? 28.6% response rate for Group A vs. 50% response for Group B.

21. Lower starting prices attract higher bids. This is a reference to a study of eBay items where people consistently bid items with a lower starting price higher. The explanation seems to focus on the fact that p
people invest more time into updating bids for a lower-priced item to let it go.

22. How to impress a potential customer with credentials without being labeled as a show-off? Public speakers have someone else introduce them, a real estate company made a slight improvements to their phone service by directing people to “Jane, who has 10 years of experience with houses in upper price range”, and physicians display their diplomas on the walls.

23. The danger of being the smartest person in the room. The expert card frequently trumps any other card in the room. The example here is that the scientists who discovered the double-helix of the DNA were never prime DNA experts, which made them “hungrier” for new discoveries, and made them question established rules.

24. Devil’s advocate example works with large organizations. Leaders who consistently seek out dissenting opinions earn more respect, and generally have better agreement with people in the room than those who rule by laying down the law and persecuting dissenters.

25. Negative examples are memorized better than positive examples. When one group of firefighters went through the list of real-life mistakes other firefighters have made, and another group just went through the list of positive things to do, the first group demonstrated better judgment when faced with real-life tests. Our brain seems to discount the best practices, but single out bad examples of someone else making a mistake.

26. Admitting negatives up-front might lead to better communication. When Progressive says that they will compare your rate against their competitors’, and when original VW Bug was introduced in the US, both companies pursued a strategy of highlighting the negative stuff only to open conversation about the true values their product has to offer.

27. Spinning negative facts as positive allows customers to make a mental link towards the positive. Among the viewers who viewed an ad advertising restaurant’s cozy atmosphere, an ad advertising the restaurant and lack of parking spaces, and an ad mentioning both, the third group made a connection between cozy atmosphere and bad parking situation. The restaurant was so cozy, the customers reasoned, that they didn’t even have enough parking spots, which made them even cozier in the eyes of a customer.

28. Admitting you’re wrong makes people trust you more. Company A published an investors relations report, contributing slump in sales to overall economic climate. Company B said slump of sales was relevant to a few bad decisions by top management. Net result? Investors viewed company B more positively. You’d think that they’d be viewed as a bunch of screw-ups, but admission of a mistake made investors more confident the situation was under control, while company A investors got the uneasy feeling of the ship floating in the waters with captain losing control.

29. Similarities raise the response rate. A person named Cindy Johnson received a survey request by mail from someone named Cynthia Johannson. Someone named John Smith received a survey from Gregory Jordan. The name similarity in the first case (note that it’s just phonetic similarity, none of the names are the same) brought up the response rate to 56% vs. regular 30%.

30. People like the sound of their name, and that defines their vocation. There are three times as many dentists named Dennis as any other names. Number of Florences living in Florida is disproportionately high, same goes for Louises living in Louisiana.

31. Verbalization helps interaction. Waiters who repeat customers’ order to them make 70% more in tips than waiters who just say “Okay”. Our mind subconsciously appreciates the effort taken to ensure the things are perfectly right.

32. Just smiling makes for a poorer customer service. Group A was exposed to a hotel clerk smiling, while peppering the customer with questions regarding their preferences and ways to improve their hotel stay. Group B had just a smiling clerk performing her duties. Group B was more likely to rate the smile as fake.

33. People pay more for the stuff that’s about to disappear. Oldsmobile sales rose after GM announced the end of life for the line. Australian beef purchases rose after customers learned this year’s supply would be severely diminished because of the weather conditions. Concorde sales took off right after British Airways announced the hyper-speed flights would be shut down.

34. When people feel something is about to go away, they will stick to perception of the product being better than the new one. In majority of blind tests customers chose New Coke over Classic Coke. Yet when New Coke was introduced, massive protests were staged. When the same drink was packaged into Classic Coke and New Coke bottles, customers still claimed they preferred the Classic Coke and could taste the difference, even though labeling was the only thing that differed two drinks.

35. “Because” makes any explanation rational. In a line to Kinko’s copy machine a researcher asked to jump the line by presenting a reason “Can I jump the line, because I am in a rush?” 94% of people complied. Good reason, right? Okay, let’s change the reason. “Can I jump the line because I need to make copies?” Excuse me? That’s why everybody is in the line to begin with. Yet 93% of people complied. A request without “because” in it (”Can I jump the line, please?”) generated 24% compliance.

36. Asking people to choose reasons themselves might backfire. Two groups were given an ad by BMW. Group A saw an ad saying “So many reasons to buy a BMW. Can you name 10?” Group B saw an ad saying “So many reasons to buy a BMW. Can you name 1?” After the ad both groups were asked to evaluate their likelihood of buying a BMW. Similar to what’s described in Chapter 5, people who had to name 10 reasons actually named Mercedes-Benz, a competitive brand, as their probable choice, while Group B named BMW as their likely next vehicle, compared to Mercedes-Benz.

37. People like stocks with more pronounceable names. Research of stock tickers between 1999 and 2004 looked at the relationship between the phonetic fluency of the stock and its rise through IPO, then 12 months later, then throughout its lifetime. The result? Stocks with more pronounceable names produced higher returns, even though nobody yells out the tickers on the exchange floor anymore.

38. Rhyming makes the phrases more convincing. People were asked to evaluate the practical value of parables “Caution and measure will win you treasure” and “Caution and measure will win you riches”. In general proverb A was considered to be more practical and insightful than proverb B.

39. Amount of information is context-dependent. A group of people was given an ad for department store A, extolling in great detail the 6 departments that A had. Another group was given a short blurb on store A, presenting mainly abstract information. After that store B was presented to both groups with information on 3 departments given to both groups. The first group thought they preferred A, since A volunteered more information and B seemed shadier in comparison. The second group did exactly the opposite and preferred store B, which volunteered detailed info on 3 departments, while A’s message was an abstract blurb.

40. Incentive programs need a good start. A car-wash place gave one group of customers a free car wash after 8 washes, and everybody got their first stamp after their visit. Group B got a free car wash after 10 car washes, with 3 stamps on the card. Both groups needed to make 7 more trips to get a free wash. 19% of the Group A returned, while 34% of the Group B did.

41. Abstract names allow the customers to come up with reasoning. Crayola found out that naming colors Cornflower Yellow and Kermit Green worked better than no adjectives attached to colors. The more abstract the connection, the better it seemed to work, as people spent mental time working out the connection between the abstraction and the product in their mind.

42. Ad campaigns that do not incorporate brands tend to not be remembered. A good portion of people when asked which company was represented by a bunny and the phrase “going, going, and going” named Duracell as the advertiser. Duracell sales increased with the launch of Energizer Bunny campaign.

43. Mirrors make people more self-conscious. A group of trick-or-treating kids was told to pick up one candy from the jar in the living room, while the adult was in a different room on some pretense. Group A had a large mirror placed by the candy jar, group B did not have the mirror. 8.9% of kids with the mirror in the room and 33.7% of the kids with no mirror treated themselves to extra candy. Another group of people was brought in for what was advertised as gel research, and was given a hand paper towel to wipe the gel off while heading for the exit. With the mirror in the hallway, 24% of participants littered, dropping the towel on their way out, with no mirror, 46% threw the paper towel on the floor without bothering to find a trash can.

44. Negative emotions make people pay more. Group A was exposed to an emotional movie about the death of someone close to the main character. Group B saw no such movie. Both groups were asked then to name a fair price at which they’d buy the object presented to them. Group A tended to give prices 30% above Group B’s.

45. Tired people tend to be more receptive to arguments. No wonder those magic bullet infomercials run so late at night. Both groups were presented to product demo, and then asked to evaluate the possibility of buying it. Group A was tired and a bit sleep-deprived, group B was in good physical condition. Group A was much more prone to buy.

46. Caffeine increases the argumentativeness of a strong argument. Group A drank regular orange juice, group B drank orange juice infused with caffeine. Both groups were then presented with a statement on controversial issue. Except one statement then made weak and hasty arguments, while the second statement made a strong case. Both groups equally dismissed the weak argument case. As far as strongly argumentative case, group B was 30% more receptive. A faster-working brain under the influence of caffeine seems to appreciate good arguments.

47. Face time still beats e-mail time. Group A was given time to get to know one another in person, then resolve a conflict via e-mail. Group B got a similar task, except no face-to-face communications. 6% of the Group As failed to come up at a good resolution, while 29% of Group Bs arrived at impasse.
48. Individualism is perceived differently in many countries. In US and Western Europe a chewing gum campaign that accentuated “you, only better” seemed to get more success, than a similar campaign in Eastern Europe and Asia, with much more collectivism built into the culture. In those countries, emphasizing that chewing gum was much more tolerable for other people who can smell your breath, was perceived better.

49. Notion of commitment among various cultures differ. A group of American students was asked to complete a short marketing survey. A few weeks later they got invited for the second survey, which was going to take twice as long. No pay for either survey. The same experiment was conducted among Asian students. The response rates among American students was 22%, response rate among Asian students was 10%. Research suggests that while American students relied only on their own experience, Asian students found out that few of their peers responded to the first request to complete the survey, which triggered their negative response.

50. Response to voice mail differs among Americans and Japanese. When faced with a voicemail message, 50% of Americans, and 85% of Japanese hang up. Respondents from Japanese test group pointed out the personal touch of the conversation (intonation, pauses, volume) was important to them and impossible to reproduce over voicemail.
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Re: The Ethics of Mind Control

Postby Wizard CaT » Thu Jun 25, 2009 4:11 pm

Mitsukara wrote:The nudity in Pastel was censored?? UJ wasn't.


Well, more like it was some of that "L shaped bedsheet" stuff going on, and someone asked why she did that, and she had a mini-revelation that she realized she did from years the public convincing everyone it was bad etc.
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Re: The Ethics of Mind Control

Postby Plasman » Sat Jun 27, 2009 7:37 am

RE: the stuff that Raharuaharu quoted -
That is some pretty interesting (and slightly scary) info. It reminds me of an incident at work a few years back with one of my co-workers.

We had a bunch of Mud Cakes that were about $6 each; perfectly nice cakes, but for some reason they weren't selling. Don't remember the specific reason - I guess that people just didn't feel like buying delicious gooey cakes that day. At least not for $6.

So, to save all of the cakes going out of date and spoiling before we sold them, she made up a little display for the front counter, with a sign saying "Assorted Cakes at Marked Prices". She then labeled each cake with it's actual $6 price - not a reduced price, mind you - and left it at that.

By the end of the day, all of the dozen-odd cakes were GONE. The very same cakes that would have happily sat there and mouldered all left the building with a happy owner, all due to a little sign.
I almost bought one, and I saw her set this little dealie up! How weird is that?! :roll:

To this day, I have never forgotten that demonstration of subtle persuasion. Use it for good, not evil, people.
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Re: The Ethics of Mind Control

Postby strange_person » Sat Jun 27, 2009 10:12 am

Well, it forced people to evaluate the cakes individually, rather than as a group.
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Re: The Ethics of Mind Control

Postby Mitsukara » Sat Jun 27, 2009 10:20 pm

I thought those were lies.

And that's terrible.
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Re: The Ethics of Mind Control

Postby Plasman » Sun Jun 28, 2009 9:45 am

Mitsukara wrote:I thought those were lies. And that's terrible.

No, they were cakes. That's edible. ;]

...You were talking about the cake story, weren't you? Or was it Raharu's quoted stuff? :?

I think half of what sold the cakes was that they were all placed in the front of the store, right next to one of the registers. The area surrounding the cash register is commonly known as the "Impulse Zone". (Yes, that's the proper term.) We are usually encouraged by food (ie. confectionery) manufacturers to place products around the front counter so that customers will see them when they come in to pay for stuff. It's very effective, but only if there's just a few things on the counter. When I first started working there, they had SO MUCH STUFF up the front that it was way too busy and cluttered, and nothing would sell. Customers would even make comments on how ugly and cramped it looked. So now, there's just a couple of chewing gum racks and maybe a box of chocolate bars, and they seem to move better that way.

Another form of persuasion we are "encouraged" to use is Upselling; also known as "Do you want fries with that?" :wink: Yes, it really works.
It's a big issue during one of the big promotional contests we run each year. We are meant to ask each and every one of our customers if we would like to buy some promotional items (usually junk food like candy and soft drink) in order to enter a contest.
I'm really bad at doing this. It disturbs me to think that someone who would have just paid for their groceries has now been pushed to pay for some candy, which they didn't need nor want until I mentioned them.
Oh, never mind, it's not as if obesity is a problem in society yet, is it? :(

There's probably a whole other thread's worth of stories about retail sales that relate to this topic. And that's before you even get into the area of ADVERTISING. :twisted:

Sorry if all that was tl;dr but I figured it was relevant.
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Re: The Ethics of Mind Control

Postby Mitsukara » Sun Jun 28, 2009 3:20 pm

Actually, I was literally talking about cakes.
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