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Unintuitive findings - Miscellaneous

Dr. Simon Moss


Many training and development programs, especially in management, leadership, psychology, and related fields, present information that might seem plausible, but has actually been discredited by scientists (see Moss & Francis, 2007& Moss & Wilson, 2010). Courses in which individuals learn how to collate, weight, and aggregate the benefits and drawbacks of various options have been shown to undermine decisions, for example (Dijksterhuis & van Olden, 2006).

Sometimes, however, information that is presented has been substantiated, but is intuitive and obvious rather than informative and constructive. Individuals are unlikely to change their habits and practices if they receive information that already aligns with their intuition. Indeed, their performance often deteriorates, because behaviors they usually enacted spontaneously and automatically become contrived and unnatural, as participants strive to follow the recommendations (e.g., Hayes, Brownstein, Zettle, Rosenfarb, & Korn, 1986).

Possible solutions

Over the past 10 years, psychologists have uncovered some important, but unintuitive observations, about human behavior. They have unearthed many scientific discoveries that challenge common wisdom and question prevalent practices in organizations and society. This page presents some examples of these observations.

When this information is applied and integrated effectively, practitioners can now cultivate the personal qualities of individuals that improve their capacity to reach decisions and behave adaptively. When individuals apply these practices, they gradually become more intuitive, creative, resilient, engaged, altruistic, and sincere--the hallmarks of exemplary employees, leaders, and friends.

Decision making and thinking

Observation 1. When individuals briefly reflect upon various alternatives, such as which task to pursue, relax and distract themselves for a few minutes, and then rely on their intuition, their decisions tend to be optimal (e.g., Dijksterhuis, 2004& Dijksterhuis & van Olden, 2006), in least when the alternatives differ on many attributes (see Unconscious thinking theory).

Observation 2. Similarly, experts are better at predicting the results of sporting events if they distract themselves for two minutes, perhaps with some mathematical puzzles, and then trust their intuition rather than deliberate carefully for two minutes (Dijksterhuis, Bos, van der Leij, & van Baaren, 2009& see Unconscious thinking theory).

Observation 3. When employees need to decide between several alternatives, such as which answer to select in a multiple choice examination or which queue to select in a supermarket, individuals who always persist with their first instinct are less likely to reach the optimal decision (Kruger, Wirtz, & Miller, 2005).

Observation 4. After individuals are exposed to photographs of attractive people of the same sex, instead of attractive people of the opposite sex, they become more likely to believe in God or espouse other religious tenets (Li, Cohen, Weeden, & Kenrick, 2010).

Observation 5. Some individuals would prefer $100 now than $200 in one year& consequently, they often undertake behaviors that attract mild, but immediate, awards such as substance abuse rather than major, but delayed, rewards. Individuals who do not excel on intelligence tests are especially likely to prefer immediate, but mild, rewards (Shamosh et al., 2010). Furthermore, individuals who feel their traits now will be different to their traits in 10 years are also more likely to prefer these immediate rewards (Ersner-Hershfield et al., 2009).

Observation 6. Compared to teachers who correct work with a blue pen, teachers who correct work with a red pen identify more errors and record harsher grades (Rutchick, Slepian, & Ferris, 2010). That is, the color red is sometimes associated with failure.

Observation 7. Individuals are more likely to modify their beliefs and conform to someone who is wearing black, rather than white, clothing (Vrij, Pannell, & Ost, 2005). If four people with black clothes believe that someone is guilty, the fifth person is likely to form this opinion as well. If four people with light clothes believe that someone is guilty, the fifth person is not as likely to conform. The color black is sometimes associated with darkness and thus aggression, increasing the likelihood that individuals feel a pressure to conform.

Observation 8. Some people value risk and independence over harmony, cohesion, and cooperation. In general, people who value independence instead of cooperation are more likely to reject the 10 most popular names when they name their children. Specifically, regions that value this independence, such as Australia, Canada, and Western states of America, are particularly likely to reject popular baby names (Varnum, & Kitayama, 2011& see also self construal).

Observation 9. In general, people tend to prefer a more masculine leader, and typically males, during periods in which the organization is thriving. However, people become more inclined to prefer a more feminine leader, and often females, during times of crisis (Bruckmuller & Branscombe, 2010). Specifically, during times of crisis, the usual stereotype that masculine traits enhance leadership is challenged.

Observation 10. Sometimes, people need to choose between an expensive item that is high in quality or a cheap item that is low in quality. People will often choose the expensive item. However, if the cheap item is actually free, significantly more people will reject the expensive item?-even if the difference in cost between the expensive and cheap item remains the same. For example, many individuals prefer to pay 26 cents for a Ferrero Rocher chocolate than 1 cent for a Hershey chocolate. Fewer people prefer to pay 25 cents for a Ferrero Rocher chocolate and nothing for a Hershey chocolate. Free items evoke a positive emotional reaction that overrides or tempers the analysis of costs and benefits (Shampanier, Mazar, & Ariely, 2007).

Observation 11. On days in which the temperature is lower than usual for that time of year, individuals are not as likely to believe that climate change is genuine or concerning. They are also not as likely to donate money to charities that are intended to redress climate change (Li, Johnson, & Zaval, 2011).

Observation 12. Climate scientists often plot a graph that displays the average air temperatures, over land, across the years. When most people scrutinize this graph, they form the impression that temperatures are increasing over time& the line seems to be directed upwards. However, some people do not perceive this increase. They feel that temperatures seem to have reached a plateau. Unsurprisingly, compared to other individuals, people who feel that climate change is not real are especially likely to feel the line has reached a plateau in recent years. However, if individuals are told the graph represents share prices, instead of average temperatures, across time, they do not feel the line has reached a plateau. That is, even people who deny climate change feel the line on this graph is increasing over the years (Lewandowsky, 2011).

Observation 13. People tend to underrate the extent to which their decisions are shaped by the norms and preferences of their social environment, called the introspection illusion (Nolan, Schultz, Cialdini, Goldstein, & Griskevicius, 2008). In one study, participants read messages intended to encourage energy conservation. The message alluded to the low energy use of neighbors, the benefits to society and the environment, or to a reduction in expenses. In practice, references to the behavior of neighbors curbed energy use more effectively than did other messages. Yet, participants believed this message would be the least influential.

Observation 14. In the late 1980s, researchers discovered that air pollution can impair the reaction time and mood of residents. Higher levels of SO2, for example, coincide with increased levels of stress and deteriorations in mood as well as slower reaction times (Bullinger, 1989). Indeed, some research has shown that air pollution, as gauged by the air quality index, is negatively associated with stock market performance in that area (Levy & Yagil, 2011). Arguably, air pollution evokes either a conscious or unconscious sense of apprehension, threat, or stress, and these states seem to compromise decision making.

Observation 15. If people feel thirsty, they are more likely to assume that severe droughts in the future are very likely (Risen & Critcher, 2011).

Observation 16. Sometimes, to reach decisions, individuals need to integrate their own observations with information they receive from other people. In a court case, for example, jurors may need to integrate information they derived from their own observations of the defendant with information they hear from friends or lawyers of this person. If individuals distract themselves from several minutes, and then trust their intuition, their decisions tend to integrate both personal observations and information they receive from other people. If individuals instead consider the information carefully, they tend to overrate the significance of their personal observations, sometimes disregarding information they receive from other people (Ham & van den Bos, 2010).

Observation 17. Subtle measures can be utilized to gauge whether someone is intuitive. To illustrate, suppose that individuals are asked to rate the extent to which they like various icons or words, such as a smiley face, heart, or star. Individuals who evaluate a smiley face, heart, or positive words like cheer and rainbow positively are especially intuitive. That is, these individuals are sensitive to their intuitions or hunches rather than rely purely on careful deliberation (Shimizu & Pelham, 2011& see also implicit and explicit self esteem).

Observation 18. After people clench their fist or sit with an open posture, they become especially inclined to disregard information that contradicts their opinions. These gestures or postures evoke a sense of power and certainty--and thus elicits a reluctance to consider information that diverges from their existing beliefs (Fischer, Fischer, Englich, Aydin, & Frey, 2011).

Observation 19. After people reflect carefully upon why individuals engaged in some charitable act, such as donate significant money or time to a cause, they become increasingly likely to perceive the person as selfish rather than selfless (Critcher & Dunning, 2011). That is, individuals tend to ascribe altruistic acts to selfish motives, a variant of a confirmation bias.

Observation 20. Immediately after people read or copy a passage from another religion--such as when Christians copy a passage from the Koran--they are more likely to perceive a drink they consume as disgusting (Ritter & Preston, 2011). That is, exposure to contaminations, such as the symbols of other groups, provokes feelings of disgust. Individuals then experience the need to cleanse themselves. After they wash their hands, this disgust diminishes. Drinks will then not seem as disgusting.

Observation 21. When Americans are exposed briefly to the American flag, they become more inclined to prefer the Republican party instead of the Democrats. This effect lasts at least eight months (Carter, Ferguson, & Hassin, 2011) and can partly be ascribed to the tendency of individuals to associate the flag with the more nationalist party.

Observation 22. People who believe in conspiracy theories are the very people who would be more willing to engage in such conspiracies themselves. To illustrate, the people who believe the September 11 attacks were orchestrated by the US government were also more willing to concede that, if they were government officials, they may also have condoned or ordered this attack (Douglas and Sutton (2011& see anchoring and adjustment).

Observation 23. When employees focus their attention on their future goals instead of their more immediate needs, they are more concerned about receiving a fair and reasonable wage than being treated respectfully by managers. In contrast, when employees focus their attention on their more immediate needs, they are more concerned about being treated respectfully by managers than receiving a fair and reasonable wage (Cojuharenco, Patient, & Bashshur, 2011). Consequently, if people contemplate their future career, they may overestimate the importance of income.

Observation 24. When the work environment is unpredictable, unstable, and uncertain, people with a high self esteem tend to prefer democratic leaders whereas people with a low self esteem tend to prefer autocratic leaders. These individuals with a lower self esteem depend on the abilities and influence of other powerful people (Schoel, Bluemke, Mueller, & Stahlberg, 2011).

Observation 25. People tend to rate unattractive job applicants of their sex more favorably than attractive job applicants of their sex. This aversion to unattractive job applicants of their sex is especially pronounced in people whose self esteem is low (Agthe, Sporrle, & Maner, 2011).

Observation 26. If the last name of individuals begins with one of the last letters of the alphabet, such as Z, Y, X, W, or V, these individuals are more likely to respond to opportunities swiftly rather than slowly. They respond more promptly after they receive an email that promises free tickets to the basketball, for example. The last name of individuals during childhood, rather than last names they changed during adulthood, predict these rapid responses. Presumably, these individuals often needed to wait, because many contexts, such as a roll call, were alphabetical. Because of this delay, opportunities were not available to them. They learnt, therefore, to respond as promptly as possible whenever opportunities arose (Carlson & Conard, 2011).

Observation 27. After individuals are informed their discretionary income is lower than other people of their age, they become more impulsive (Callan, Shead, & Olson, 2011). That is, they do not like to delay gratification. They are more likely, for example, to prefer $50 now than $100 in one year. This impulsivity increases the likelihood of gambling behavior as well. Thus, injustice, inequality, and deprivation may promote gambling.

Observation 28. After men observe attractive women, they become more impulsive. For example, they choose small rewards now rather than greater rewards in the future (Wilson & Daly, 2004).

Observation 29. When individuals feel more positively about themselves, hazards do not seem quite as threatening. For example, after individuals remember a time in which they helped, rather than offended, a friend or relative, they are less likely to perceive dangerous spiders as close to them (Harber, Yeung, & Iacovelli, 2011).

Observation 30. References to the word red can subsequently undermine performance on complex, difficult, and intellectual tasks. To illustrate, even if the word red rather than green appears on the bottom of a screen, perhaps embedded within the name of a website for example, the capacity of individuals to apply logical rules to solve problems deteriorates (Lichtenfeld, Maier, Elliot, & Pekrun, 2009). They perform less effectively on analogies, such as "Animal is to hound as curry is to what?" Specifically, in response to red shapes, people are more likely to orient their attention to specific details instead of broader patterns, a tendency that compromises performance on many intellectual tasks (Maier, Elliot, & Lichtenfeld, 2008).

Observation 31. If a community that is often regarded as low in status, such as African Americans in the United States, consider which attributes differ between the own racial group and another racial group, they become more inclined to pay more money to purchase property. That is, to assert their sense of status, they become motivated to pay excessively. Limited status, therefore, may provoke unnecessary spending (Ivanic, Overbeck, & Nunes, 2011).

Observation 32. If people are subtly encouraged to lean towards the left instead of the right, their estimates of various quantities--such as the number of actors who have played James Bond, the height of the Eiffel Tower, or the population of Antwerp--decreases. For example, when leaning to the left, people assume the population of Antwerp is about half a million. When leaning to the right, they assume the population of Antwerp is about a million. That is, while people lean to the left, lower numbers seem more prominent (Eerland, Guadalupe, & Zwaan, 2011).

Observation 33. When their soccer team is losing, goal keepers are twice as likely to dive to the right than to the left, compromising their performance. Specifically, if their team is losing, individuals are more inclined to approach gains than avoid losses. When time is limited, this approach motivation activates the left hemisphere. Activation of the left hemisphere biases attention to the right side (Roskes, Sligte, Shalvi, & De Dreu, 2011& see approach versus avoidance motivation).

Observation 34. Often, people need to decide which of two or more alternatives to choose. For example, astronauts might need to decide which of two methods to utilize to extract oxygen. Often, the best choice depends on the progress of individuals. For example, if astronauts had been able to extract considerable oxygen before, one of the two options might be better. If astronauts had not been able to extract considerable oxygen before, the other option might be better. In these instances--in which the optimal choice depends on previous progress--older individuals tend to outperform younger individuals. These decisions are underpinned by the intraparietal sulcus and lateral prefrontal cortex, which may develop with age. When optimal choices do not depend on previous selections, and the ventral striatum is activated, younger individuals tend to outperform older individuals (Worthy, Gorlick, Pacheco, Schnyer, & Maddox, 2011).

Observation 35. The photograph of an author, unsurprisingly, affects the perceived quality of a philosophical essay. If this photograph implies the author was a young woman instead of a middle aged man, readers tend to perceive a philosophical essay as less compelling, enjoyable, or intelligent, called the halo effect. These photographs, however, are not as likely to affect the perceived quality of essays if the reader experiences negative emotions rather than positive emotions (Forgas, 2011). When people experience negative emotions, their preconceptions, assumptions, or knowledge is not as likely to affect their perceptions. Instead, their perceptions are more dependent on the actual stimuli.

Observation 36. After individuals remember and describe a spiritual moment in their lives--such as a feeling of connection with nature, humanity, god, or the universe--they are not as likely to squander money on expensive cars, watches, cellphones, dinners, or vacations (Stillman, Fincham, Vohs, Lambert, & Phillips, 2012). Spirituality curbs materialism. People who value connections with other beings do not feel the need to establish their status with material goods.

Observation 37. In general, individuals prefer the last item in a sequence. For example, in one study, participants rated the taste of five chocolates. Some participants heard the experimenter refer to the fifth item as "the last chocolate", whereas other participants heard the experimenter refer to the fifth item as "the next chocolate". If described as the last chocolate, participants were more likely to enjoy this item. They were also more likely to enjoy the overall experience of tasting the chocolates (O?Brien & Ellsworth, 2012). Perhaps, people are more likely to savor the last item. This bias could undermine the fairness of job interviews and other evaluations.

Observation 38. In some circumstances, people are more inclined to like a product after they receive some negative information about this item, called the blemishing effect. That is, people usually receive plenty of positive information about an item. Salespeople, for example, will tend to present only desirable features about a product. Provided they do not consider their decision carefully, if some negative information is appended after the positive information, individuals are more likely to perceive this product favorably. In particular, if people do not consider their decision carefully, they will decide they will probably purchase the product as soon as they receive the positive information. The negative information, if insignificant, actually prompts the individuals to bolster their attention to the positive information to reinforce this decision. Nevertheless, two caveats have been observed. First, if participants consider their purchase carefully, the negative information does not bolster their attention to the positive information (Ein-Gar, Shiv, & Tormala, 2011). Second, the negative information fosters positive evaluations only if presented after the positive information and, therefore, cannot be ascribed merely to increases in the perceived credibility of balanced messages.

Observation 39. After people transcribe thoughts about an argument with which they agree, such as reading enriches the mind, they subsequently become more likely to perceive a subsequent advertisement as persuasive and appealing--especially if the commercial advertises a product that is not especially desirable. In contrast, after people transcribe thoughts about an argument with which they disagree, such as reading damages the mind, they subsequently become less likely to perceive a subsequent advertisement as persuasive and appealing, unless the commercial is irrefutable. That is, tasks can activate one of two possible mindsets, in which people attempts either to bolster or to refute claims. Interestingly, after people merely listen to a politician they do not like, they become more inclined to refute subsequent advertisements (Xu & Wyer Jr., 2012).

Observation 40. When people experience a negative mood, they are more sensitive to touch. For example, while describing a hand cream, they tend to allude to the tactile properties of this product. They like a silky feel and are more likely to purchase products that feel nice. In contrast, when people experience a positive mood, they are more sensitive to visual properties. While describing a hand cream, they tend to allude to the appearance of this product. They will purchase products that look nice. This observation can partly be ascribed to attachment theory, in which children are motivated to seek the touch of a parent while stressed. When they experience positive emotions, however, people are motivated to seek rewards, such as food or mates--a pursuit that is facilitated by visually scanning the environment to uncover opportunities (King & Janiszewski, 2011).

Observation 41. In general, while holding something in their dominant hand, people tend to evaluate other objects less favorably. This observation applies only to objects that people can hold, such as a small bottle, but not to objects that people cannot hold, such as a logo. Nevertheless, while holding a fork in their dominant hand, people tend to evaluate food more positively. Essentially, when people observe an object, they inadvertently imagine their response to this object. They may, for example, unconsciously envisage picking up the object. This response or movement, if impeded, seems unnatural rather than effortless. Unnatural movements are perceived unfavorably. The object, therefore, is also evaluated unfavorably (Shen & Sengepta, 2012).

Observation 42. After people consume a bitter drink, rather than a sour drink or plain water, they attempt to fulfill their immediate needs, often to the detriment of their future goals. They become more inclined, for example, to prefer $100 now instead of $150 in one year (Chen & Chang, 2012& see embodied mode of cognition).

Observation 43. In general, individuals prefer to live in the north half, instead of the south half, of a city or suburb (Meier, Moller, Chen, & Riemer-Peltz, 2011).

Observation 44. In general, people tend to spend more money during a week than perhaps they had predicted, called the budget fallacy. When individuals feel especially motivated to save money, this bias is particularly pronounced (Peetz & Buehler, 2009). The desire of people to save money seems to bias their predictions on whether they can fulfill this goal.

Observation 45. During the winter, about 10% of the population experience seasonal affective disorder--symptoms of depression that are confined to winter. Many other individuals also feel more dejected during this time. Interestingly, if individuals experience seasonal affective disorder, they become more averse to risk at this time (Kramer & Weber, 2012). That is, they are not as likely as other people to invest in risky ventures, but only during winter.

Observation 46. A hole in a golf course will be perceived as larger if surrounded by six smaller circles than if surrounded by six larger circles, called the Ebbinghaus illusion. When a hole seems larger, putting performance improves (Witt, Linkenauger, & Proffitt, 2012), presumably because confidence increases.

Observation 47. After men touch a bra, they become more likely to prefer $100 now than $200 in a year. That is, they become especially inclined to prioritize small immediate rewards over larger future rewards. Sexual cues activate a reward system in the brain that increase the likelihood of impulsive decisions and behavior (Van den Bergh, Dewitte, & Warlop, 2008).

Observation 48. When people are unable to think carefully--perhaps because they feel rushed or intoxicated--they become more likely to embrace conservative values (Eidelman, Crandall, Goodman, & Blanchar, 2012). They will, for example, believe that wealth should not be shared, taxes should be minimized, but property rights should be protected.

Observation 49. When individuals pay with credit cards, their attention shifts to the benefits, instead of the costs, of products. Indeed, even if people are merely exposed to many words that are synonymous with credits cards, such as Visa, they will later remember the benefits of an advertised product but will be unable to remember the fees or drawbacks of these goods (Chatterjee & Rose, 2012).

Observation 50. After people watch something, like the hands of a clock or a Lazy Susan, shift in a clockwise direction, they are inclined to prefer novel and unfamiliar objects or activities rather than familiar or conventional alternatives (Topolinski & Sparenberg, 2011).

Observation 51. In cities in which the number of men greatly exceeds the number of women, people tend to own more credit cards and accrue more debt (Griskevicius, Tybur, Ackerman, Delton, Robertson, & White, 2012). Furthermore, after observing a photograph of more men than women, men tend to be more impetuous with money: They prefer a small amount of money now over a larger amount one month later. Even after they read an article that highlights the prevalence of men in a city, males are not as inclined to save money. Presumably, when the number of men greatly exceeds the number of women, some males feel, perhaps unconsciously, they need to complete with each other to attract a mate. To achieve this goal, they prefer to flaunt their assets than to save money.

Observation 52. After people reach the rope that demarcates a queue, such as in a bank or at the box office at a movie complex, they are not as inclined to leave the queue prematurely (Zhao, Lee, & Soman, 2012). Longer ropes, therefore, increase the likelihood that people will stay in a queue (see also mindset theory).

Observation 53. After individuals are encouraged to trust their feelings, their predictions about who will win elections, TV programs, or sporting events tend to be more accurate. They also predict the stock market and weather more accurately as well. These benefits are observed only in people who have already acquired considerable knowledge about these topics. Furthermore, to encourage people to trust their feelings, and thus to enhance their predictions, individuals are told to remember two times in which they trusted their feelings and their decisions were accurate (Pham, Lee, & Stephen, 2012).

Observation 54. When people feel they are not as wealthy as their peers, they are more inclined to purchase or consume goods that are uncommon. They are more likely, for example, to consume M&Ms that are unusual in color (Sharma & Alter, 2012).

Observation 55. People are more willing to spend money that is worn, tattered, faded, or crumpled than money that is crisp and unspoiled (Di Muro & Noseworthy, 2012).

Observation 56. Wealthy people are more inclined to save money during times of economic hardship. People who are deprived financially feel more inclined to spend their money during times of economic hardship. They become more inclined to value their immediate needs over their future goals (Griskevicius et al., 2013).

Observation 57. When people experience a simultaneous blend of positive and negative emotions, their judgments tend to be more accurate. For example, they estimate the average daily temperature of cities more accurately (Rees, Rothman, Lehavy, & Sanchez-Burks, 2013).

Observation 58. In general, individuals need to decide which of five or so items, presented simultaneously, such as five photos, they like. In general, people are more likely to choose the middle item over other items, called the center-stage effect. This pattern is observed regardless of whether or not the items are arranged horizontally or vertically (Rodway, Schepman, & Lambert, 2012). This bias could be ascribed to the possibility that winners or leaders often appear in the center. Besides this center-stage effect, people also tend to prefer the top two items over the bottom two items.

Observation 59. If people are exposed to a webpage or article in which the background comprises black and white checkered squares, rather than just a plain grey or a colored checkered pattern, their judgments are more extreme. That is, black and white patterns tend to evoke black and white thinking (Zarkadi & Schnall, 2013). Presumably, the metaphor of black and white shapes the cognitive processes of individuals.

Observation 60. If people feel they have developed trusting relationships, can express their values openly, and feel they are very competent, they are more likely to evaluate their surroundings as attractive, appealing, or beautiful (Weinstein, Legate, & Przybylski, 2013). The psychological state of people, therefore, instead of only the properties or features of objects, can shape perceptions of beauty.

Observation 61. When women wear clothes with only horizontal stripes, their body seems wider than when the same people wear clothes with only vertical stripes or no stripes (Swami & Harris, 2012). That is, in one study, the same woman was perceived as wider if wearing horizontal stripes rather than vertical stripes or no stripes. Vertical stripes did not affect the perceived width of this person relative to no stripes. Horizontal stripes do not seem to increased perceptions of body size if superimposed on top of vertical stripes, however.

Observation 62. After people are prompted to touch their chest, instead of their head, they are more likely to depend on their emotions, instead of logical analysis, to reach decisions (Fetterman & Robinson, 2013).

Observation 63. Some people express a phobia towards objects that comprise many holes, distributed unevenly, such as chocolates with air bubbles, soap bubbles, or lotus flowers--flowers with a flat petal, punctuated by about 30 holes. This fear is called trypophobia. These objects with holes all share the same physical features, called high contrast at moderate spatial frequency. To illustrate this feature, in most objects, parts that are close together are more similar in color or brightness than parts that are farther apart. For objects with holes, parts that are moderately close together, such as the center of a hole and the surroundings, differ appreciably in color or brightness. Interestingly, most people report feelings of discomfort when exposed to objects with high contrast at moderate spatial frequency (Cole & Wilkins, 2013). Furthermore, most dangerous animals, such as snakes, also comprise patterns with high contrast at moderate spatial frequency.

Observation 64. In competitive settings, people with high levels of testosterone--people who tend to be more aggressive and dominating--prefer to choose red symbols or uniforms than blue symbols or uniforms (Farrelly, Slater, Elliott, Walden, & Wetherell, 2013). For example, in one study, participants engaged in a set of computer tasks. Their performance would determine their position on a leader board. Before completing these tasks, however, they were asked whether they would like to be represented by a red icon or a blue icon on the leader board. Participants who chose the red icon, instead of the blue icon, were more likely to exhibit high levels of testosterone both before and after the competition, as gauged by saliva tests. They were also more likely to perceive this color red as reflecting aggression and dominance.

Observation 65. Some individuals need to decide whether to purchase some product, such as a camera, of decide whether to defer this choice and compare other alternatives later. People are more inclined to purchase this product if other brands are also available at that moment. This tendency is observed because people experience feelings of discomfort whenever only one alternative is presented (Mochon, 2013).

Observation 66. If people reflect upon difficult choices over a prolonged duration, or simple choices rapidly, they are perceived favorably. In contrast, if people reflect upon simple choices over a prolonged duration, or difficult choices rapidly, they are perceived unfavorably. This pattern of results is called thought calibration (Kupor, Tormala, Norton, & Rucker, 2014). For example, if microwaves vary on many attributes, rather than few attributes, decisions on which model to purchase are perceived as wiser whenever the person considers the issue over an extended duration.

Observation 67. Juries and judges are not as likely to perceive someone as blameworthy, and thus deserving of punishment, if this person is perceived as a victim rather than as a hero. For example, in one study, participants read about a man who was either the victim of a vindictive supervisor or had donated significantly to charity. Next, they read about an unethical act this person had undertaken: failing to return money he found. If the person has been depicted as a victim instead of a hero, he was less likely to be denigrated for this unethical act (Gray & Wegner, 2011). In particular, individuals depicted as heroes are assumed to experience more control or power over their behavior and, therefore, more likely to be blamed whenever they behave inappropriately.

Observation 68. Scientists can now utilize electrical brain potentials to ascertain whether or not someone observed some object or not, and this technique could thus be applied to determine whether or not a suspect had visited a particular location. In particular, after people are exposed to words or other events, a specific sequence of electrical changes can be detected at various locations on the skull. For example, at about 100 ms, 200 ms, and 300 ms after the event, a positive electric potential can be detected. In addition, at about 150 ms, a strong negative electric potential can be detected, and so forth. Interestingly, the amplitude or magnitude of the positive electric potential at about 300 ms, called the P300, usually recorded around the parietal lobe, can indicate whether someone has observed some event. In one study, conducted by Meixner and Rosenfeld (2014), participants were exposed to some scene. Later, they read words that either relate or do not relate to items in this scene. If the words relate to items in this scene, the P300 was more pronounced, regardless of whether the individuals had contemplated these items later. In general, whenever an item seems important, and thus attracts attention, the P300 is elevated in amplitude.

Observation 69. Recruiters are inclined to reject applicants who have been the victims of injustice in their previous job. For example, in one study, conducted by Skarlicki and Turner (2014), participants received information about several job applicants, purportedly from referees, about whether these individuals had exceeded their performance targets and how they were treated during a previous retrenchment. For example, some applicants had not been forewarned or told why the retrenchments were implemented, and thus treated unjustly, whereas other applicants had been forewarned and told why the retrenchments were implemented. Applicants who, apparently, had been treated unjustly were perceived as undesirable or unsuitable to the position--especially by participants who assume that people tend to receive the rewards and recognition they deserve. After participants wrote about why they consider themselves a moral person, this aversion to applicants who had been treated unjustly subsided.

Observation 70. People tend to pour more liquid into short, wide glasses than tall, elongated glasses (Wansink & van Ittersum, 2005). The tall, elongated glasses seem as if they contain a larger volume. Therefore, people tend to pour less liquid into these glasses. Even bartenders tend to exhibit this bias.

Observation 71. Often, before an event, such as a date or a job interview, individuals attempt to predict the extent to which they will enjoy the experience. To derive these predictions, they are sometimes granted the opportunity to ask other people who have undertaken similar activities. They could, for example, speak to someone who has dated the same person or completed the same job interview. In general, people tend to underestimate the benefits of asking someone else. They tend to assume the perspective of someone else will diverge considerably from their own experience. Yet, as research also shows, people who do ask someone else to describe the experience tend to generate more accurate predictions. That is, in contrast to people who do not ask someone else, these people are more likely to dislike experiences they predict they will dislike and like experiences they predict they will like, such as dates (Gilbert, Killingsworth, & Eyre, 2009).

Observation 72. People tend to overestimate the benefits of optimism (Tenney, Logg, & Moore, 2015). For example, in one study, participants received information about a variety of individuals who were soon to complete a task. This information included past success on this task as well as the level of optimism that each person experienced. Participants tended to assume that optimism individuals will be appreciably more successful than other individuals. But, compared to the predicted benefits, the actual benefits of optimism were actually modest.

Observation 73. When people clothes their eyes, their decisions are often more honest and ethical. In one study, conducted by Caruso and Gino (2011), participants listened to various scenarios over headphones, with their eyes either open or closed. For example, in one scenario, a person overestimated the number of hours they worked and thus overcharged a client. If their eyes were closed, participants imagined the scenario more vividly and judged the act as more unethical.

Observation 74. Recruiters tend to chose people whose strengths do not compete with their own strengths (Garcia, Song, H., & Tesser, 2010). For example, people who were informed they excelled in a mathematics task were later more inclined to choose individuals, when recruiting for a sporting task, who excelled in verbal tasks instead of mathematics task. Conversely, people who were informed they excelled in a verbal task were later more inclined to choose individuals, when recruiting for the same sporting task, who excelled in mathematics. This finding was observed even though mathematics and verbal skills were irrelevant to the sport.

Observation 75. While soccer referees watch the players run from the right of their body to the left, rather than vice versa, they are more likely to award a foul (Kranjec Lehet Bromberger & Chatterjee 2010). In many nations, people read from left to right. So, objects that travel in the opposite direction seem unnatural. And this unnatural feelings could bias judgments.

Safety, health, compliance, and integrity

Observation 1. The scent that pervades an office can appreciably affect the performance and behaviour of employees. For example, if a citrus scent that smells like a cleaning product pervades the office, individuals become more likely to behave compliantly (Holland, Hendricks, & Aarts, 2005), especially if this odor is subtle.

Observation 2. Employees are more likely to conform to the opinions and behaviours of other individuals after they observe a photograph of a professional accountant (Pendry & Carrick, 2001).

Observation 3. Individuals are more likely to consider and attend to a message in which they are encouraged to engage in some altruistic act, such as recycle paper or aluminium cans, if the inconvenience of this act is highlighted rather than concealed (Werner, Stoll, Birch, & White, 2002).

Observation 4. Individuals are more likely to assume an object or event is risky rather than safe if its name is difficult to pronounce. A food additive called prozjacl is assumed to be more harmful that a food additive called prammer (e.g., Song & Schwartz, 2009).

Observation 5. Individuals are more willing to interact with someone who is described as a cancer survivor than someone is described as a cancer patient (Mosher & Danoff-Burg, 2009).

Observation 6. Compared to individuals whose relationships are not a secret to anyone, individuals whose relationship is a secret from someone, such as a relative or colleague, are more likely to experience symptoms of illness such as headaches, nausea, digestion problems, fatigue, irritation, loneliness, or shakiness (Lehmiller, 2009).

Observation 7. Sometimes, individuals are incidentally exposed to words that relate to their key values. They might, for example, value the arts and read an article that often refers to color or patterns. After they are exposed to these words, individuals become less defensive (Sherman, Nelson, Bunyan, Cohen, Nussbaum, & Garcia, 2009). They will not, for example, underestimate their susceptibility to various hazards, such as skin cancer (see Self affirmation theory).

Observation 8. Obviously, when some individuals smoke, their self esteem improves: They feel more valued by friends as well as more confident. Interestingly, after these individuals read warnings that highlight the health risks of cigarettes, they actually become less inclined to quit (Hansen, Winzeler, & Topolinski, 2010& see Terror management theory).

Observation 9. When individuals wear sunglasses--or when the surroundings are dim rather than light--they are more likely to lie or cheat on a test (Zhong, Bohns, & Gino, 2010& see also Social cognitive conceptions of moral identity).

Observation 10. After individuals reflect upon a time in which a partner, relative or friend was supportive and loving, they become less inclined to cheat on a test (Gillath, Sesko, Shaver, & Chun, 2010).

Observation 11. When individuals knowingly wear counterfeit products--like sunglasses with a prestigious brand that were actually manufactured from a different organization--they become more likely to cheat on subsequent tasks as well as act unethically in general& they also become more suspicious of other people (Gino, Norton, & Ariel, 2010).

Observation 12. Compared to smokers who attempt to avoid or suppress thoughts about smoking, smokers who deliberately strive to entertain thoughts about smoking are less inclined to smoke heavily over the next week or two (Erskine, Georgiou, & Kvavilashvili, 2010& see Acceptance and commitment therapy).

Observation 13. If the strength of their hand-grip is weak, males are not as inclined to participate in dangerous or thrilling sports and activities (Fink, Hamdaoui, Wenig, & Neave, 2010& see also Evolutionary neuroandrogenic theory). They might drive more safely, for example.

Observation 14. Compared to companies that generate returns on investment that only marginally exceed the performance of competitors, companies that generate returns on investment that greatly exceed the performance of competitors are more likely to engage in illegal activity (Mishina, Dykes, Block, & Pollock, 2010& see gain and loss framing).

Observation 15. After people are informed their behavior is better than average-?for example, if people are informed their energy consumption is less than a typical household--they become more inclined to behave less desirably in the future. They might consume more energy, for example. If they had received a smiley face together with this information, however, this problem subsides (Schultz, Nolan, Cialdini, Goldstein, & Griskevicius, 2007& see also theory of planned behavior).

Observation 16. Often, companies report that previous statements about their financial performance were incorrect. These financial restatements often indicate the initial reports were misleading or deceptive. Interestingly, if a company had recently initiated a merger or acquisition, is a subsidiary of a larger network of organizations, is a parent of a network of subsidiaries, or contributes heavily to political parties and associatons, these financial restatements, and hence misleading reports, are particularly common (Prechel & Morris, 2010).

Observation 17. CEOs are frequently offered sizeable bonuses, like stock options, if the company is very profitable. However, in particular circumstances, if CEOs are offered these sizeable bonuses, they are sometimes more likely to commit fraud. That is, they publish and communicate misleading or inaccurate financial statements to boost their bonuses. Nevertheless, this problem dissipates in some contexts. Specifically, if directors do not receive these bonuses or stock options themselves?-or if the CEO is a board member-?operations in the company are often monitored more closely. Fraud is not as likely to proceed (O'Connor Jr., Priem, Coombs, & Gilley, 2006).

Observation 18. After individuals consume a bitter rather than sweet drink, they are more likely to perceive various acts as unethical. They are, for example, more likely to perceive bribes, shoplifting, or lawyers prowling hospitals for victims as immoral (Eskine, Kacinik, & Prinz , 2011). This observation can be ascribed to the association that people form between feelings disgust, sometimes evoked by bitter tastes, and judgments of immorality.

Observation 19. When individuals use credit or debit cards to pay for food, they are more likely to purchase more unhealthy items (Thomas, Desai, & Seenivasan, 2011).

Observation 20. In general, after people watch a series of emotional video clips, they assume the clip they are watching at a particular time is more emotional than are the clips they had watched before, called the immediacy bias (Van Boven, White, & Huber, 2009). For example, when the clips revolve around humanitarian suffering, people perceive the clip they watched most recently as more upsetting than were the other clips& they donate more money to the last disaster that was shown (Huber, Van Boven, McGraw, & Johnson-Graham, 2011). Similarly, if participants learn about two possible terrorist attacks, and then are asked to rate the likelihood of each attack, they perceive the second possibility as more intense and thus highly probable (Van Boven, White, & Huber, 2009).

Observation 21. People are more likely to cheat on some task if someone else will also benefit from their deceit. For example, if people are informed they will earn $2 for every puzzle they solve, they will seldom exaggerate the number of these items they completed. However, if informed they will earn only $1 for every puzzle they solved--and someone else will receive the other $1--they will be more inclined to cheat (Wiltermuth, 2011& see moral disengagement).

Observation 22. After individuals consume a placebo pill they assume is a dietary supplement, their propensity to exercise or eat healthily diminishes and their propensity to engage in unhealthy acts, such as wild parties, increases. Specifically, after consuming these dietary supplements, people are less likely to feel a sense of vulnerability (Chiou, Yang, & Wan, 2011).

Observation 23. In general, relative to other individuals, people who have divorced or separated from a marriage are more likely to die young. If divorced or separated, the likelihood of dying at a particular age, such as 60, increases by about 25%. In particular, divorce may evoke chronic distress, inhibit behaviors that promote health, disrupt the money and resources needed to foster health, and coincide with personal characteristics, like anxiety, that provoke disease (Sbarra, Law, & Portley, 2012).

Observation 24. During the five days after a NASCAR event, the accident rate in the state increases, even after controlling alcohol use, weather, and road conditions (Vitaglione, 2011). These events reinforce the association between arousing events, such as obstructions from other cars, and aggressive responses, partly because aggressive driving in NASCAR tends to be rewarded.

Observation 25. Some products diminish the adverse impact of some risky behavior. For example, companies have developed products that overcome smoking addictions or absorb fat. These products could highlight the dangers of these risks and therefore, for example, reduce smoking or fat intake. Alternatively, these products could highlight these risks can be managed and, consequently, increase smoking or fat intake. As research shows, if people already feel inclined to engage in this risky behavior, these products do actually increase the frequency of these acts. For example, if a product that absorbs fat is promoted, people who already eat unhealthily actually become more likely to eat unhealthily in the future (Bolton, Cohen, & Bloom, 2006).

Observation 26. Exposure to nature, at least in some circumstances, facilitates recovery from surgery. In one study, conducted by Ulrich (1984), after gall bladder surgery, patients with a view of nature rather than a brick wall recovered faster, spent less time in hospital, needed less pain medication, and reported fewer complaints, such as nausea. Although sex and age were controlled, the behavior of hospital staff towards patients was not controlled.

Observation 27. When police officers patrol the vicinity, men tend to feel less safe. For example, in one study of residents in Amsterdam, participants were asked to report the extent to which they feel safe. If police were visible at the time, men reported feeling less safe (van de Veer, de Lange, van der Haar, & Karremans, 2012). The presence of police did not affect whether or not women felt safe. In a subsequent study, participants observed photographs of an alleyway, smeared with graffiti, or a leafy residential street. If a police officer was present rather than not present, the alleyway seemed safer but the residential street seemed less safe. This pattern of observations was especially pronounced in men. Arguably, police officers may prime memories or schemas that are associated with danger or crime.

Observation 28. Children whose levels of cortisol increase more rapidly during stressful events are more likely to eat excessive food (Francis, Granger, & Susman, 2003)& stress, therefore, may underpin childhood obesity. For example, in a study of children, aged between 5 to 9 years, levels of cortisol were measured before and after completing stressful tasks, such as delivering a speech or completing a mathematics task. After eating lunch, children were then granted access to snack foods, toys, or other activities. In general, if the cortisol levels of children increased dramatically during and after the stressful period, they were more inclined to eat more snack foods and record a higher BMI.

Observation 29. When participants are exposed to reminders of hardship and deprivation--or even words that are synonymous with struggle and adversity--they are more likely to eat foods that are described as high in calories than identical foods that are described as low in calories (Laran & Salerno, 2013).

Observation 30. If people are more agreeable, sympathetic, and friendly, they tend to respond better to placebos, such as sugar pills. That is, in these individuals, sugar pills are more likely to activate opioid neurotransmission in the brain areas that reduce pain (Pecina et al., 2012). Therefore, medications, even if not especially useful, are more likely to diminish pain in agreeable people.

Observation 31. When people are satisfied with their job, some but not all features of their immune system improve, especially in women (Nakata, Takahashi, Irie, & Swanson, 2013). Women satisfied with their job exhibited elevated levels of natural killer cells--white blood cells that respond rapidly to kill infected or malignant cells, usually within a few days, even in the absence of antibodies and the major histocompatibility complex. Both women and men satisfied with their job exhibited elevated levels of a related immune marker: natural killer cell cytotoxicity. Consequently, job satisfaction may protect individuals from some viral infections, perhaps even diminshing the likelikhood of cardiovascular disease, arguably an inflammatory disorder. Job satisfaction, however, was unrelated to other white blood cells, such as T cells and B cells.

Observation 32. In rooms that are orderly rather than chaotic, people are more inclined to choose healthier snacks (Vohs, Redden, & Rahinel, 2013). For example, in one study, participants sat in a room that was quite bare and orderly or in a room with papers, ornaments, and furniture strewn haphazardly. After completing a task, participants could choose an apple or chocolate. In the disordered room, people were more inclined to choose the chocolate. In orderly locations, people feel the need to fulfil conventions that are perceived as socially desirable, such as healthy eating--primarily because order implies that conformity is rife.

Observation 33. When individuals are granted some choice over which of several treatment alternatives they should receive, the treatment tends to be more effective. For example, if people can choose which from one of two or more options, pain treatments, relaxation therapy, and weight loss interventions tend to be more beneficial (Handelzalts & Keinan, 2010&Kanfer & Grimm, 1978& Liem, 1975& Mendonca & Brehm, 1983& Morris & Royle, 1988& Rokke & Lall, 1992). In particular, this sense of choice instils a sense of control, and this sense of control evokes physiological processes that enhance health. Consistent with this premise, Geers, Rose, Fowler, Rasinski, Brown, and Helfer (2013) showed that such benefits of choice are especially pronounced in people who report a high need for control.

Observation 34. When people experience insecurity in their job, they are not as likely to report accidents to company officials (Probst, Barbaranelli, & Petitta, 2013). That is, in anonymous surveys, employees who perceived their job as insecure and unstable were especially likely to concede they had experienced, but not reported, an accident. Arguably, while competing to retain jobs, individuals naturally inhibit or conceal information that could undermine their reputation. These unreported accidents can diminish the likelihood that problems are rectified, the rate of accidents could escalate, and people may work unproductively despite injuries.

Observation 35. Individuals who perceive their spouse as both helpful and upsetting when they need support--compared to individuals who perceive their spouse as only helpful--tend to exhibit higher levels of coronary-artery calcification (Uchino, Smith, & Berg, 2014). This association was observed only if they were also perceived by their partner as both helpful and upsetting during these times. Such calcification is a major risk factor of cardiovascular disease. This ambivalence may correspond to uncertainty during times of stress, and this uncertainty may translate into physiological problems.

Observation 36. Omega 3 fatty acids, common in oily fish, are negatively related to postnatal depression. That is, if pregnant women exhibit elevated levels of omega 3 fatty acids 28 after conception, they are not as likely to experience postnatal depression three months after delivery (Markhus et al, 2013). In this study, women in the bottom quartile of omega 3 fatty acids were especially susceptible to depression. Provided that women exceeded this bottom quartile, further increases in omega 3 fatty acids were not as likely to affect rates of depression. After fertilization, the developing embryo and foetus utilizes DHA, an omega 3 fatty acid, and thus maternal stores are depleted. Yet, many pregnant women avoid fish, a key source of DHA. Omega 3 fatty acids affect ion channels, regulate genes, and mediate receptors, all vital to the growth and development of the brain, as well as curb inflammatory responses. Efficient neurotransmission and limited inflammation may diminish the likelihood of depression.

Observation 37. Although the pattern of results is complex, omega 3 fatty acids have been shown to benefit people with multiple sclerosis. For example, as Jelinek et al. (2014) showed, quality of life in people with multiple sclerosis is positively associated with both omega 3 supplementation and fish consumption. Furthermore, level of disability with multiple sclerosis, such as whether patients are bed ridden, is positively related to both omega 3 supplementation and fish consumption. Flaxseed oil, another source of omega 3, was negatively associated with rates of relapse. Omega 3 oils diminish neural damage and may also moderate immune responses, a vital feature of multiple sclerosis.

Observation 38. Very stressful experiences early in life--such as mental illness in parents,conflict between parents, harsh discipline, criminal behavior in the family, and low socioeconomic status--increase the likelihood of inflammation later in life. In particular, these stressful life experiences increase the probability of unhealthy behaviors, such as smoking and obesity, perhaps because these individuals feel the need to improve their emotions immediately. These unhealthy behaviors increase the likelihood of various inflammatory responses, such as C-reactive protein and soluble tumor necrosis factor receptor type II and III. C-reactive protein is produced by the liver in response to interleukin 6, typically in the initial phase of an inflammatory response. Elevated levels indicate chronic inflammation--a predictor of many diseases. Soluble tumor necrosis factor receptor type II and II indicate elevated levels of tumor necrosis factor.

Observation 39. During the two months after New Years, people tend to buy more food and more calories than at other times of the year (Pope, Hanks, Just, & Wansink, 2014). Arguably, because of their resolutions, people often purchase healthy foods they would not usually buy. However, they often continue to buy unhealthy foods as well. Taken together, the number of calories they purchase is greater than usual.

Observation 40. If people are sociable rather than unsociable, shy, and reserved, they are not as susceptible to the common cold. That is, they are not as likely to contract colds (Cohen, Doyle, Turner, Alper, & Skoner, 2003). This finding is observed even after controlling levels of preexisting antibodies, sleep, mood, and diet.

Observation 41. People are more likely to breach rules if the locale seems dilapidated or unruly. For example, cyclists are more than twice as likely to litter and discard a pamphlet that was attached to their bike if the walls nearby were covered with graffiti or fireworks were ignited illegally nearby (Keizer, Lindenberg, & Steg, 2008).


Observation 1. Males prefer a heavier female model whenever they either feel hungry or believe their wage is unsatisfactory (Nelson & Morrison, 2005).

Observation 2. Customers tend to purchase more goods from a retailer when each price refers to several items, such as "$2.00 for 4 cans of Heinz soup", than one item, such as "$0.50 for each can of Heinz soup" (Wansink, Kent, & Hoch, 1998& see Anchoring and adjustment ).

Observation 3. When restaurants and other stores play classical music, rather than other styles of music, over the speakers, customers tend to purchase more expensive options (North, Shimcock, & Hargreaves, 2003).

Observation 4. Individuals are, obviously, slightly more likely to prefer a mobile phone that costs $27 per month than a mobile phone that costs $32 per month. This preference, however, is significantly more pronounced if these individuals are told the mobile phone costs $384 per year rather than than $324 per year (Burson, Larrick, & Lynch, 2009).

Observation 5. Individuals will prefer some product if told these goods were first manufactured or discovered many years ago. They will, for example, prefer some drink they were told was first developed in 1900 than a drink they were told was first developed in 2000 (Eidelman, Crandall, & Pattershall, 2009).

Observation 6. Individuals are more likely to prefer or to believe any diagram in which the arrows point towards the right than if the arrows point towards the left--but only in nations in which citizens read from left to right (Hans & Rotteveel, 2009). For example, individuals will prefer a flow chart that proceeds from left to right.

Observation 7. In confined spaces, such as narrow aisles in a supermarket, individuals are more willing to purchase unfamiliar brands as well as a broader variety of products (Levav & Zhu, 2009& see Reactance theory).

Observation 8. When individuals experience the desire to enhance their status, they become even more likely than usual to prefer a product that conserves energy than a product that does not conserve energy--especially if they choose this item in a store rather than on line (Griskevicius, Tybur, & Van den Bergh, 2010& see Costly signaling theory).

Observation 9. When individuals consider decisions carefully and comprehensively, rather than act spontaneously and confidentally, they are more convinced by advertisements that depict static scenes, like individuals sitting still. When individuals feel the need to act spontaneously and confidentally, they are more convinced by advertisements that depict dynamic scenes, like competitive sports (Manetti, Giacomantonio, Higgins, Pierro, & Kruglanski, 2010). Hence, when promoting products that are associated with risk and spontaneity, advertisements should depict dynamic scenes.

Observation 10. Individuals are more likely to prefer the appearance of cars, or indeed any designs, that were prevalent during their youth or early adulthood (Schindler & Holbrook, 2003& see Nostalgia).

Observation 11. During times of significant upheaval or change, individuals become less inclined to purchase familiar products& instead, they become more likely to choose novel alternatives, like unfamiliar brands of chips (Wood, 2010).

Observation 12. Some advertising messages refer to many sensory organs, such as "A chewing gum that stimulates your senses", rather than one sensory organ, such as "A chewing gum with long lasting flavor". After individuals read a message about a product, like chewing gum, that emphasizes many senses, this product, when later consumed, will seem more tasty (Elder & Krishna, 2010).

Observation 13. When individuals purchase products, they are more willing to pay a carbon offset rather than a carbon tax--even when these two fees are actually equivalent?-especially if they prefer conservative parties, like the Republicans (Hardisty, Johnson, & Weber, 2010).

Observation 14. After individuals visit a store with many, rather than few, products that are designed to conserve the environment, they behave more ethically and fairly in subsequent activities--unless they purchase some of these products. After they purchase, or merely consider purchasing, these products, they feel as if they have already substantiated their morality. They do not feel they need to establish their morality again (Mazar & Zhong, 2010).

Observation 15. Some large companies have been downsized within the last five years, defined as a reduction in the number of employees by than more 5%. After companies downsize, their reputation subsequently declines. That is, the quality of their products, services, and management practices are assumed to be impaired. Furthermore, financial performance and responsibility to the community and environment is also presumed to be deficient (Zyglidopoulos, 2005).

Observation 16. After individuals experience a sense of pride, perhaps after recalling a major achievement, they are more inclined to purchase products that relate to status and can be observed publicly, such as a watch or shoes. In contrast, after individuals experience a feeling of contentment, such as after a satisfying meal, they are more inclined to purchase products that relate to their home or another familiar places, including a dishwasher, vacuum cleaner, or bed (Griskevicius, Shiota, & Nowlis, 2010).

Observation 17. Subtle differences between sentences can affect whether a person, team, or organization seems powerful. For example, in the sentence, "Company A is located west of Company B", individuals are more inclined to assume that Company B is more powerful, influential, and prestigious than Company A. That is, Company A is being compared to Company B& thus Company B is depicted as the norm or standard from which other organizations are compared (Bruckmuller & Abele, 2010).

Observation 18. In general, men perceive females in a red, rather than blue, shirt as more sexually attractive. That is, the color red, even in the background, increases the likelihood that someone of the opposite sex is perceived as attractive (e.g., Elliot and Niesta, 2008).

Observation 19. People would prefer to consume a pill that would enhance their concentration or other cognitive skills than a pill that would enhance their social confidence or other emotional and social characteristics. However, if they are told this pill will enable them to "Become who you really are", this reluctance to consume a pill that would enhance their concentration diminishes (Riis, Simmons, and Goodwin (2008& see also self verification theory).

Observation 20. If individuals read while furrowing their brow--or read text in which the font is small--they are more likely to perceive a novel or fashion magazine as limited in quality but more likely to perceive a technical report or textbook as elevated in quality (Galak & Nelson, 2010& see fluency and the hedonic marker hypothesis).

Observation 21. If customers receive an unexpected $5 voucher or coupon to purchase a particular product as soon as they enter a supermarket, they tend to spend over $5 more than planned (Heilman, Nakamoto, & Rao, 2002). To illustrate, customers might receive a $5 voucher to purchase a particular brand of breakfast cereal. In response, their mood improves momentarily. After their mood improves, customers become more likely to evaluate products, especially treats, favorably. They, therefore, tend to purchase more goods. This elevation in mood lasts for one or two aisles only, however.

Observation 22. Thin women tend to earn more than do average and heavy women. In contrast, average men tend to earn more than thin or obese men (Judge & Cable, 2011).

Observation 23. Any organization, including unethical companies, can insert a privacy statement on their website, indicating that no details of customers will be distributed to anyone else. After organizations do insert a privacy statement, customers are more likely to purchase their products, especially if they buy these goods over the web (Lee, Ang, & Dubelaas, 2005). Over the web, individuals need to rely on subtle signals, like privacy statements or money back guarantees, to determine whether the organization is trustworthy.

Observation 24. In general, if people perceive themselves as independent, they tend to assume they are not as susceptible to advertisements than are other people, called the third person effect. However, if people perceive themselves as closely associated with some community or collective, this third person effect diminishes (Byoungkwan & Tamborini, 2005). People are especially likely to feel they are impervious to advertisements that promote undesirable behaviors, such as gambling or alcohol use (e.g., Banning, 2001).

Observation 25. Sometimes, individuals believe that an offer to buy some product is available to only a limited sample of people, including themselves--such as anyone born on 1 January. On other occasions, individuals believe that an offer to buy some product is available to a broader array of people, such as anyone born in Spring or Summer. People are more likely to accept, rather than reject, offers they feel are available to only a limited sample of people (Burger & Caldwell, 2011). Perhaps they like to feel distinct. Alternatively, perhaps they overestimate the value of scarce opportunities or products.

Observation 26. In general, employees are attracted to organizations that are perceived as innovative, stylish, or honorable rather than thrifty or, to a lesser extent, dominating--particularly if they like to be perceived as wholesome and decent (DeArmond & Crawford, 2011).

Observation 27. Some recruitment websites impart extensive content, such as information about salary, benefits, development opportunities, workplace strategies, employee testimonials, a diversity policy, a link to FAQs, a privacy policy, downloadable applications, contact information, opportunities for interns, current trends, and a calendar or plan of the recruitment process. In addition, some recruitment websites are easy to use. These sites may enable users to search by location, income, job category, and other attributes, to apply online, to communicate with relevant personnel, to offer feedback about the site, and to navigate with a bar or site map. Interestingly, if the content is extensive rather than limited, selected applicants are not as likely to quit within the year. If the site is easy to use, but the content is limited, more people are likely to apply (Selden & Orenstein, 2011).

Observation 28. If people claim they really like sweet foods rather than, for example, salty or spicy foods, they are more likely to be perceived by other individuals as agreeable (Meier, Moeller, Riemer-Peltz, & Robinson, 2011).

Observation 29. After people read about the goals and strategies of an organization, as well as the gender, age, revenue, and tenure of all the employees, they are more likely to evaluate this company favorably if the organizational chart shows these employees can be divided into five rather than three levels of management. That is, they are more likely to assume the company is functioning effectively and is an inspiring workplace. Specifically, when the company comprises many levels, and is thus hierarchical, people learn about the relationships between the individuals more efficiently. This sense of efficiency or fluency tends to elicit positive feelings and evaluations (Zitek & Tiedens, 2011& fluency).

Observation 30. The shape and sound of brand names can affect the attitudes of customers. For example, people tend to assume an ice cream brand called "Brosh" will be creamier than will an ice cream brand called "Brish", primarily because of the shape, rather than sound, of these letters (Doyle & Bottomley, 2011).

Observation 31. In some circumstances, advertisements are not as effective when the models are especially attractive. Specifically, when women feel self-conscious about their gender--for example, if all the other people in a room are men--they will pay less for a product that is promoted by a very attractive rather than modestly attractive model (Buunk & Dijkstra, 2011). When women feel self-conscious about their gender, they often become uncertain about themselves. In response to this uncertainty, they become more inclined to contrast themselves with another woman. If they contrast themselves with a very attractive woman, they feel unattractive in comparison. The resulting negative emotions diminish their inclination to purchase the product this model promotes.

Observation 32. When people do not feel any sense of control, they gravitate towards products that are surrounded or enclosed by a tangible boundary. For example, if people are exposed to noise while completing arithmetic, but then granted the option to attenuate this noise, they will often like postcards that are not enclosed by a margin or boundary. In contrast, if people are not granted the opportunity to attenuate this noise, they will prefer the postcards that are enclosed by a margin or boundary. Similarly, after individuals reflect upon a time in which they could not control or influence some event, they become more inclined to prefer logos that are enclosed by a border. Finally, when they do not feel a sense of control, individuals prefer retail stores that are organized neatly rather than haphazardly. These findings can be ascribed to the need to seek structure. This need is indeed positively correlated to the preference towards objects with tangible boundaries (Cutright, 2012).

Observation 33. Some brands are perceived as luxurious, such as BMW. Other brands are perceived as creative and exciting, including Apple. Finally, some brands are perceived as traditional, conservative, and safe. In general, companies associated with luxurious brands are not perceived as favorably as usual after they engage in acts that support the community, such as recycling or charity. That is, luxury brands and community responsibility are assumed to coincide with dominance and altruism respectively and, thus, conflict with each other. After a luxury brand is flashed subliminally, words that correspond to community responsibility, such as recycling, are more likely to be perceived as unpleasant (Torelli, Monga, & Kaikati, 2011).

Observation 34. Advertisements that promote future products--that is, goods that will be first available soon--are, in general, more effective than advertisements that promote existing products (Dahlen,Thorbjornsen, & Sjodin, 2011). Individuals are more inclined, for example, to evaluate a brand of mineral water favorably whenever the advertisement includes the sentence ?In stores next month? rather than ?In stores now?, called nextopia. In particular, the combination of uncertainty about the product and optimistic expectations about the future underpins this bias towards future products.

Observation 35. Many advertisements highlight that a product is limited in quantity, epitomized by messages like ?This offer is available for 100 customers only?, or limited in time, epitomized by messages like ?This offer is available for 6 days only?. Advertisements that emphasize that products are limited in quantity instead of time are particularly effective, increasing the intention of consumers to purchase these products (Aggarwal, Jun, & Huh, 2011). When the product is designed to imbue prestige and status, such as Rolex, rather than merely offer some function, these advertisements are especially effective.

Observation 36. In general, expenditure on advertising and promotion is especially likely to increase revenue and earnings in the future, especially during economic recessions (Graham & Frankenberger, 2011). During these times, individuals are even more sensitive to advertisements. They seek advertisements to overcome their feelings of uncertainty. Yet, fewer companies tend to advertise during these periods, primarily to save money, significantly decreasing their future earnings. The benefits of advertising during economic recessions are especially pronounced in industries in which consumers do not switch brands frequently.

Observation 37. Banner ads appear on many, if not most, webpages. Most banner ads include a logo or slogan, intended to promote the organization. If clicked, the website of this organization often appears. Interestingly, some banner ads actually diminish the reputation of organizations. In particular, if the users are searching for specific information, such as a weather forecast, these banner ads can evoke unfavorable attitudes towards the advertised organization. This problem is likely whenever the banner ads are similar in color, font, or location to the information that users seek (Duff & Faber, 2012). Such banner ads are distracting. Consequently, individuals learn to perceive these ads negatively--primarily to diminish the salience of these commercials.

Observation 38. Some advertisements depict objects engaging in human activities. Examples include a packet of chips sitting on a lounge chair or a moisturizer bottle drinking water from a straw. Relative to other commercials, these advertisements are more likely to be effective: Consumers are more likely to perceive the advertised product favorably (Delbaere, McQuarrie, & Phillips, 2011). Specifically, consumers are more likely to associate the product with human qualities and emotions. Consequently, the positive attitudes that advertisements attempt to promote are more powerful and effective.

Observation 39. In general, when advertisers develop very creative, novel, and original campaigns, the sales and reputation of the advertised product is more likely to improve. However, if the preferences of consumers in this market changes rapidly and unpredictably over time, these creative campaigns are not particularly useful. That is, creative ads are not really more likely than uncreative ads to enhance sales or market share (Li, Dou, Wang, & Zhou, 2008).

Observation 40. The amount of food people buy and consume is not only related to hunger but to other cues in the environment. For example, when people receive larger portion sizes, they eat more (e.g., Kral, Roe, & Rolls, 2004). Individuals serve themselves more M&Ms if the scoop they are given is large rather than small (Geier, Rozin, & Doros, 2006). Furthermore, people tend to choose a larger drink size if most of the options are large rather than small. They seldom choose the smallest option, regardless of its size, called extremeness aversion (Sharpe, Staelin, & Huber, 2008).

Observation 41. When attractive and slim female models are conspicuous in an advertisement, female viewers will tend to evaluate the advertised product unfavorably. For example, if a web advertisement of some alcoholic drink includes attractive and slim models, women are more likely to perceive this drink negatively--but only if the models are conspicuous, such as if they all surround the drink, rather than appear inconspicuously in the background (Wan, Ansons, Chattopadhyay, & Leboe, 2013). If the models are conspicuous, female viewers may feel defensive, and these defensive feelings could be projected onto the product.

Observation 42. In general, people are less inclined to pay for a deal, such as a holiday package, after a modest item is added to this offer. For example, they are more likely to pay for a hotel with a 5 star pool and recreation area but no restaurant than a hotel with the same features but also an average restaurant (Weaver, Garcia, & Schwarz, 2012). Likewise, they pay more for an iPod before, instead of after, a voucher for one song is included. Adding modest features to an offer, therefore, can deter rather than attract customers, because the overall package seems rather cheap.

Observation 43. In some stores, products are classified into broad categories, such as "books" and "magazines". In other stores, products are classified into more specific categories, such as "lifestyle magazines", "pop culture magazines", "IT magazines", and so forth. In general, when products are classified into more specific categories, people are more likely to feel satisfied with their purchases. In general, people feel that all items in one category are similar. Therefore, if assigned to many categories, items seem more diverse. Because of this diversity, people feel they have been granted more choice. Consequently, individuals are more likely to feel confident they have chosen the right option (Mogilner, Rudnick, & Iyengar, 2008).

Observation 44. If individuals perceive themselves as novices, rather than experts, of a specific product, such as salad dressing, music, or beer, they more inclined than other people to experiment with subtypes they have not sampled before (Clarkson, Janiszewski, & Cinelli, 2013). They may try a salad dressing with fruit or listen to music from an unfamiliar genre. Their motivation is partly to appreciate the main classifications or varieties of this product--an understanding that will increase their capacity to choose wisely in the future and to enhance their enjoyment. In contrast, if people regard themselves as experts of these products, they are more inclined than other individuals to experiment with different brands within their favorite subtype. They might try a salad dressing that differs only subtly from brands they have used before or listen to music from their favorite genres. Their motivation is to differentiate the subtleties between similar varieties, because their knowledge of various classifications and varieties is already entrenched.

Observation 45. People tend to prefer any items that are perceived as natural instead of artificial. They will, for example, prefer vitamins that are extracted naturally rather than synthesized chemically (Rozin et al., 2004), even if told the two options are chemically identical (Li & Chapman, 2012). Although informed the two alternatives are chemically identical, participants conceded later they were not confident this claim is true (Li & Chapman, 2012). Presumably, over time, people develop positive associations with natural alternatives. They associate nature with freedom, peace, purity, and other positive qualities. Over time, these positive experiences consolidate to form the assumption that anything natural tends to be better.

Observation 46. Sometimes, individuals need to choose one item, such as a meal, from many alternatives. On other occasions, they need to choose an item from merely a couple of alternatives. In general, especially when slightly rushed, people are more likely to regret their decisions when they needed to choose an item from many, rather than merely a few, alternatives. This tendency arises because people believe that quick choices are ineffective choices. The implication is that sales people, if wanting to rush their clients, should imply that only a couple of suitable choices are available.

Observation 47. Sometimes, consumers receive preferential treatment from a company, such as an unexpected and unjustified discount, a free upgrade, or some free products. If granted this treatment while other people are watching, these consumers can experience unpleasant feelings--and these unpleasant feelings can provoke dissatisfaction with the purchase (Jiang, Hoegg, & Dahl, 2013). These unpleasant feelings are observed even when people receive this treatment as a consequence of a random lottery. Yet, these problems diminish if the preferential treatment is warranted, because of loyalty for example.

Observation 48. Sometimes, to promote some goods, a product might be offered at no cost or at a discounted fee, alongside another purchase. After this promotion ends, people are willing to pay more for the product if the goods had been offered at no cost than if the goods had been offered at a discounted fee (Palmeira & Srivastava, 2013). To explain these findings, the researchers showed that people conceptualize the discount price as an estimate of the actual price. If the discount price is low, consumers assume the actual price will be quite low as well. However, a free offer is not perceived as an indication the actual price is low.

Observation 49. When a scent of chocolate wafts faintly throughout a book store, customers tend to skim many books somewhat aimlessly rather than confine their attention to a specific book. They are also more inclined to purchase romance novels or cooking books but less inclined to purchase crime stories or historical books (Douce, Poels, Janssens, & De Backer, 2013).

Observation 50. In general, brands or behaviors are deemed as cool when they fulfil several criteria: they deviate modesty or occasionally, rather than greatly or frequently, from the existing standard or norm--and this standard or norm is perceived as unnecessary, illegitimate, or too restrictive (Warren & Campbell, 2014). For example, bands were rated as coolest if they do not write songs to appeal to a mass audience, but do not disregard typical conventions either& that is, if bands listen to existing trends but then write songs that reflect how they are feeling, called bounded autonomy, they are perceived as cool.

Observation 51. In supermarkets and similar stores, people tend to feel happier and more confident when one other person, rather than no one else or two or more people, are shopping in the same aisle. They were also more likely to purchase more expensive items when one other person was shopping in this aisle. This pattern applies only when the other person is nearby, about 2 feet away. Perhaps one other person in the aisle instills a sense of belonging, evoking positive emotions. If the number of people increases, however, individuals may feel excluded instead.

Observation 52. The scents in a store can affect which products consumers buy. For example, in one study, conducted by Madzharov, Block, and Morrin (2015), people in a room were exposed to scents that are perceived as either warm, like cinnamon, or cold, like peppermint. If exposed to warm rather than cold scents, people felt the room was more crowded, diminishing their sense of power and autonomy. Consequently, to offset this decrease in power, they were more inclined to purchase items they associated with prestige and status, such as Gucci, Versace, Prada, Jimmy Choo, Tom Ford, BMW, and so forth. And they bought more items as well.

Observation 53. A particular speech will tend to seem more intelligent when the words are heard rather than read (Schroeder & Epley, 2015).

Observation 54. Some phrases become more popular over time. In contrast, other phrases become less popular over time. Interestingly, phrases that refer to sensory experiences, such as touch, scents, sights, or sounds, like "a cold person", "a dark side", or "a sharp increase", are more likely to become popular than other phrases, like "an unfriendly person", "an evil side", or "a sudden increase". In particular, phrases that refer to sensory experiences evoke a more diverse set of associations. And these associations are likely to prime memories of this phrase. Consequently, marketers should develop slogans that allude to sensory experiences.

Customer service and negotiation

Observation 1. When customers pay for advice in advance, they are more likely to trust the recommendations they received (Sniezek, Schrah, & Dalal, 2004).

Observation 2. Light blue or green environments, surroundings, and backgrounds alleviate the frustration that individuals feel when they need to wait for some person or event (Gorn, Chattopadhyay, Sebgupta, & Tripathi, 2004).

Observation 3. Individuals who consider their hopes and aspirations for the future, or imagine the ideal outcome they would like to achieve, are more likely to negotiate effectively (Galinsky, Leonardelli, Okhuysen, & Mussweiler, 2005& see Regulatory focus theory).

Observation 4. Individuals are more willing to pay an elevated fee to some product, such as a coffee mug, if they are granted an opportunity to hold this object for an extended, rather than limited, duration (Wolf, Arkes, & Muhanna, 2008).

Observation 5. Often, individuals seek advice from someone else about which of several alternatives to select. Sometimes, the advisor specifies the alternative they feel the person should choose. On other occasions, the advisor specifies the alternative they feel the person should not choose. Alternatively, the advisor might merely provide some information about each option or provide insight into how to reach a decision. Usually, individuals prefer to receive information about each alternative--rather than advice on which alternative not to choose or how to reach a decision--particularly if they like to maintain a sense of independence and the other person is not necessarily an expert (see Dalal & Bonaccio, 2010).

Observation 6. Some organizations continuously update their procedures, tactics, and strategies in response to feedback they receive from customers, suppliers, and other key stakeholders. When the environment is stable, this approach tends to increase growth in export sales. When the environment is unstable, this approach often inhibits growth (Balabanis & Spyropoulou, 2007& see also Environmental dynamism).

Observation 7. After a female lightly pats someone on the shoulder, as a warm but subtle gesture, this other person, who could be male or female, is more likely to accept a financial risk as well as feel a sense of security (Levav & Argo, 2010).

Observation 8. If people emphasize how some project or behavior they implemented could have been better, called an upward counterfactual, rather than could have been worse, they are perceived as more understanding, trustworthy, likeable, intelligent, and open. For example, suppose a training instructor confuses some of the participants. The instructor is perceived more favorably if this person highlights how the session could have been better instead of how the session could have been worse, with statements like "At least, because of the Powerpoint slides, some people enjoyed the training". People who emphasize how some project or behavior they implemented could have been better are perceived to assume responsibility (Wong, 2010& see counterfactual thinking).

Observation 9. After individuals witness rude behavior, such as watch a manager shout at a customer, their performance declines. Their capacity to solve logical problems or uncover many uses of an object--a measure of creativity--declines. Furthermore, they become less inclined to help someone else (Porath & Erez, 2009).

Observation 10. If two people negotiate over the phone or over email, they are more likely to reach an agreement that satisfies both parties if they are located in separate neighborhoods or states rather than in the same block, street, or building (Henderson, 2010& see construal level theory).

Observation 11. Sometimes, individuals negotiate with someone else in their own office or building. On other occasions, they might negotiate with someone else in a neutral location, such as a cafe. If individuals convene these negotiations in their own office instead of another location, they are more likely to fulfill their objectives (Brown & Baer, 2011).

Observation 12. Sometimes, before a negotiation, people receive information about their opponent. They might, for example, receive a description of the personality, temperament, and interests of this person. This information, however, has been shown to impair negotiations. That is, after they receive information about the personality, temperament, and interests of other person, they are more likely to abandon negotiations prematurely rather than explore opportunities to reconcile conflicting interests (Wiltermuth & Neale, 2011).

Observation 13. After customers purchase goods in one store using a credit card rather than cash or cheques, they are more inclined to spend more money in the next store they visit (Soman, 2001).

Observation 14. After consumers are granted an opportunity to offer some advice to some charity or company, they feel more loyal to this organization. They are more inclined to donate money to this charity, for example (Liu & Gal, 2011). In contrast, after consumers are granted an opportunity to express their predictions about the future of this charity or company, they do not experience this loyalty.

Observation 15. People tend to be more satisfied with purchases they helped assemble, such as meals they helped cook or furniture they helped construct, like an Ikea desk. Indeed, even after people merely imagine they helped cook some dish, they food seems to taste better (Troye & Supphellen, 2012).

Observation 16. On eBay, if the background is red rather than blue, people are more inclined to raise the bid by a higher amount. Yet, while negotiating with someone, people tend to offer a lower amount when the background is red instead of blue. These findings are observed, because red tends to provoke feelings of aggression. Raising the bid is an aggressive maneuver against other bidders. Offering a low amount is an aggressive maneuver against the seller--the target of aggression during negotiations (Bagchi & Cheema, 2013). Red has been shown to increase blood pressure and respiratory rate as well as emotions that are similar to excitement and aggression.

Observation 17. In general, consumers prefer rounded packages than angular packages. They are more inclined to like the aesthetics of a box of chocolates with rounded instead of sharp edges. They are even more inclined to purchase bottles or cartons with rounded rather than sharp edges. Furthermore, they prefer a rounded instead of angular logo. These benefits of rounded shapes tend to persist even after the degree to which the design seemed typical and easy to use are controlled (Westerman, Gardner, Sutherland, White, Jordan, Watts, & Wells, 2012). When the design is abstract, angles can be associated with threat or aggression. The benefits of curves, however, are more complex and may depend on number of oscillations, typicality, familiarity, and congruence with expectations.

Observation 18. People can now complete many online training programs or therapies. For example, several online cognitive behavior therapy programs have been developed. In general, if users need to complete assessments at the beginning, they are more likely to complete these programs. That is, they become more committed (e.g., Christensen, Griffiths, Groves, & Korten, 2006).

Observation 19. Individuals are more likely to feel satisfied with their choice in a restaurant if they had closed, rather than had not closed, the menu after reaching their selection (Gu, Botti, & Faro, 2013& see mind set theory).

Observation 20. Some people set aside a budget they will spend each week, fortnight, or month. Interestingly, once most of this budget is exhausted, people tend to be less satisfied with the goods or services they purchased (Soster, Gershoff, & Bearden, 2014), called the bottom dollar effect. For example, they are more likely to perceive a movie as satisfying if, after paying $20 to watch this movie, the budget that remains is $100 rather than $0. This effect is especially pronounced if the capacity to replenish the budget demands considerable effort. Presumably, as the available budget dissipates, the costs seem more pronounced relative to the amount of money of left. So these costs seem more painful, offsetting the pleasure of these goods and services.


Observation 1. Speakers seem more credible if their opponents, such as managers of a rival company, are seated on stage and shake their head, roll their eyes, or smirk (Seiter & Weger, Jr, 2005)

Observation 2. Sometimes, individuals expose the skin below their chin, especially when they raise their head. These individuals are more likely to be perceived as dominant, confident, and proud by other persons (Mignault & Chaudhuri, 2003).

Observation 3. Individuals are more convincing when they speak rapidly, with their arms apart, leaning forwards, and quick movements, but only if the audience is focussed more on pursuing future aspirations than immediate duties (Cesario & Higgins, 2008& see Regulatory focus theory).

Observation 4. Hotel patrons are more likely to agree to reuse their towels if they are informed that 75% of the previous guests in that room had engaged in this practice compared to if they are informed that 75% of the previous guests in the hotel had engaged in this practice (Goldstein, Cialdini, & Griskevicius, 2008).

Observation 5. Suppose that individuals read about a man who deliberately bombs a building and dies in the process. Members of the dominant social class in a society are more likely to evaluate this man favorably--that is, as correct and friendly rather than criminal or insane--if this person is described as a terrorist rather than as a freedom fighter (Montiel & Shah, 2008).

Observation 6. When individuals complete a questionnaire, the weight or mass of the paper can bias their responses. For example, if the questionnaire is attached to a heavy clipboard, individuals consider the issues more thoroughly. They can, for example, more readily distinguish solid, from tenuous, arguments (Jostmann, Lakens, & Schubert, 2009).

Observation 7. After individuals imagine some hypothetical outcome, they regard this event as more favorable (Eidelman, Crandall, & Pattershall, 2009). After individuals imagine the president could lose the next election, this outcome immediately seems more desirable.

Observation 8. Many words or objects, like a brand name, seem more desirable and familiar to individuals immediately after they are exposed to the term "we", "our", and "us" (Housley, Claypool, Garcia-Marques, & Mackie, 2010). To illustrate, after individuals read a sentence with the word "we" rather than "it", the next logo they see might seem more appealing.

Observation 9. Usually, if individuals receive information that indicates they perform some desirable act more frequently than does the average person, such as conserving water or recycling bottles, their behavior deteriorates. That is, they become less, rather than more, likely to undertake this act in the future. This problem dissipates, however, if they also receive a smiley face alongside the information (Schultz, Nolan, Cialdini, Goldstein, & Griskevicius, 2007).

Observation 10. When an expert presents a speech, members of the audience tend to be feel more involved in the presentation, and are more likely to be persuaded, when the speaker expresses some uncertainty and doubt about their arguments (Karmarkar & Tormala, 2010).

Observation 11. Some individuals walk and move very rapidly or slowly. These individuals are perceived and treated as less intelligent, competent, and smart than are individuals who walk or move at a rate that is more typical of humans (Morewedge, Preston, & Wegner, 2007).

Observation 12. On sunny days, compared to rainy days, recruiters and managers are more likely to value qualities that are beneficial during pleasant weather--qualities likes social skills (Simonsohn, 2007). Therefore, candidates with excellent social skills are especially likely to be chosen on sunny days.

Observation 13. When individuals feel dejected or sad--rather than happy or excited--their ability to write compelling arguments tends to improve (Forgas, 2007).

Observation 14. Individuals are more likely to be perceived as intelligent if they gaze into the eyes of the person to whom they are speaking, use an expressive voice, nod, pause occasionally while speaking, and sit upright (Murphy, 2007).

Observation 15. Job applicants are more likely to be rejected if their curriculum vitae is presented with a colorful or creative design, with circles and squares in a more complex pattern, for example, instead of a formal design (Arnulf, Tegner, & Larssen, 2010).

Observation 16. Individuals are more likely to believe any sentence they read, such as "Nut bread is healthier than potato bread", if the words are written in a more prominent, conspicuous color than was the previous sentence (Hansen, Dechene, & Wanke, 2008).

Observation 17. Individuals are more likely to believe a statement in which the drawbacks, and not the benefits, are highlighted. They are, for example, more likely to believe the statement that "85% of attempted instances of rape are successful" than "15% of attempted instances of rape are unsuccessful" (Hilbig, 2009). Negative information might attract more attention. The message, then, is processed more vividly, enhancing the perceived credibility of this information.

Observation 18. If individuals discover they share the same birth date as someone else, they become more inclined to comply with the requests or agree with the opinions of this person (e.g., Jiang, Hoegg, Dahl, and Chattopadhyay, 2009& see incidental similarity).

Observation 19. If individuals are asked why some event might unfold, they are more likely to assume this event is indeed likely. After individuals consider why England might win the World Cup, for example, they become more likely to assume this event is likely to unfold, called the explanation effect. Nevertheless, after individuals answer a simple question, such as "Name two elements in the periodic table", this explanation effect tends to dissipate (Hirt, Kardes, & Markman, 2004& see also ease of retrieval).

Observation 20. After people are exposed to emotional accounts of some event, they are subsequently more persuaded by messages that begin with the words "I feel" such as "I feel people should save more water". In contrast, after people are exposed to factual information, such as statistical data, they are subsequently more persuaded by messages that begin with the words "I think" such as "I think people should save more water" (Mayer & Tormala, 2010& see fluency and the hedonic marking hypothesis). Furthermore, in general, men are more persuaded by messages that allude to thoughts and women are more persuaded by messages that allude to feelings.

Observation 21. Sometimes, people will gaze into the eyes of someone, then shift their gaze to an object, like a bottle of water, and then redirect their gaze to the individual again. The individual who watches this sequence of gazes will become more inclined to like or value this object. That is, this sequence of gazes implies, albeit unconsciously, the object is valuable (van der Weiden, Veling, & Aarts, 2010).

Observation 22. Sometimes, moral principles such as "treat everyone with respect and fairness" are perceived as obligations that must be satisfied. Alternatively, moral principles can also be regarded as ideals that people should attempt to achieve instead of obligations. If individuals are asked to contemplate how they can achieve their ideal, rather than merely satisfy their obligation, to treat everyone with respect and fairness, they are more likely to embrace diversity and affirmative action rather than feel threatened by minorities (Does, Derks, & Ellemers, 2011). Therefore, a focus on ideals, instead of obligations, can promote moral behavior.

Observation 23. After individuals identify and then write about their most important value, such as compassion or achievement, they are more likely to be influenced by persuasive articles. For example, they are more willing to refrain from alcohol or caffeine if the article emphasizes the problems with these substances. They are also more likely to feel vulnerable after reading these articles--a vulnerability that prompts the motivation to change (Klein, Harris, Ferrer, & Zajac, 2011). If individuals do not write about their most important value, they are instead more defensive after reading these articles.

Observation 24. Sometimes, people read spoilers of books--summaries or descriptions that expose the outcomes of these tales. If people read a spoiler first, they tend to be more likely to enjoy the book afterwards (Leavitt & Christenfeld, 2011& see processing fluency).

Observation 25. In many public places, such as parks, officials erect signs, such as "Do not litter". In some circumstances, these signs are followed: That is, people may be less inclined to litter. However, if the immediate vicinity is already littered, or covered with graffiti, these signs actually increase the likelihood of undesirable behavior, such as further littering (Keizer, Lindenberg, & Steg, 2011).

Observation 26. Sometimes, advertising messages that highlight selfish benefits are not as effective as advertising messages that highlight more communal benefits. To illustrate, after health professionals were exposed to the message ?Hand hygiene prevents patients from catching diseases? instead of the message ?Hand hygiene prevents you from catching diseases?, they were especially likely to wash their hands (Grant & Hofmann, 2011). They perceived themselves, but not their patients, as impervious to disease. Warnings about their own health, therefore, were ineffective.

Observation 27. After people are subliminally exposed to synonyms of trust, such as accept, approve, or agree, they are more likely to be influenced by messages they read. For example, in one study, some participants were exposed to synonyms of trust that were presented too briefly to be recognized consciously. They next read a message that highlights the benefits of drinking tap water. If participants had been exposed to synonyms of trust subliminally, they were more likely to evaluate the message favourably as well as more inclined to drink tap water in the future (Legal, Chappe, Coiffard, & Villard-Forest, 2012).

Observation 27. Even after people read an article that challenges their beliefs, they do not tend to shift their opinions. For example, after reading an article on the benefits of capital punishment, individuals who oppose this action do not change their opinion. Yet, if the font is difficult to read, individuals are more inclined to shift their opinion (Hernandez & Preston, 2013).

Observation 28. Experts often want to explode myths about health and other topics. For example, they might want to challenge the myth that people with mental illness will never live a fulfilling life. Compared to experts who merely present a series of facts, experts who precede each of these facts with the a myth are not as effective in changing the attitudes of people (Yeh, Jewell, & Hu, 2013). That is, the common tendency to present myths and then facts is not effective. This pattern is observed provided the readers or listeners perceive the topic, such as mental illness, as relevant to their lives.

Observation 29. Often, a flyer will specify many features of some product or service, such as a training course or a car. In general, when people feel the flyer is relevant to them, they are more likely to be persuaded if 20% rather than 0% or 40% of these features are undesirable. That is, a few, but not too many, negative features increase the credibility of this flyer--but only if consumers feel involved or engaged in the advertisement (Eisend, 2013).

Observation 30. After individuals respond "Yes" to a few questions, they are more likely to comply with subsequent requests, called the four wall technique (Gueguen, Joule, Courbet, Halimi-Falkowicz, & Marchand, 2013). Perhaps, if participants demonstrate they are agreeable, as manifested by the word "Yes", they like to maintain this perception and agree to subsequent requests. Alternatively, after saying the word "Yes", individuals feel more certain and thus less defensive.

Observation 31. After people are granted an opportunity to choose a product that looks better than rival brands, such as an attractive computer mouse, they become more receptive to information that diverges from their opinions. That is, they do not seem as defensive (Townsend & Sood, 2012).

Observation 32. Advertisements of modern furniture or objects are more effective if located to the right of a page. Advertisements of antiques or classical furniture are more effective if located to the left of a page. These observations apply only in cultures that read from left to right (Chae & Hoegg, 2013).

Observation 33. When either perpetrators or victims of crime present a statement, their account is perceived as more credible. That is, people are more likely to believe accounts that include some swear words (Rassin & Van Der Heijden, 2005). Yet, in general, individuals assume that an account that includes swear words will be perceived as less credible.

Observation 34. When either perpetrators or victims of crime present a statement, their account is perceived as more credible if they include some swear words. That is, people are more likely to believe accounts that include words like "god damn it" or "shitty" (Rassin & Van Der Heijden, 2005). Yet, in general, individuals assume that an account that includes swear words will be perceived as less credible. Perhaps swearing disrupts the attention of individuals, diminishing some inherent defensive reactions, similar to the concept of disrupt then reframe. Alternatively, swearing may demonstrate strong emotion and confidence, and people tend to overestimate the accuracy of statements that are delivered with confidence (Rassin & Van Der Heijden, 2005).

Observation 35. When individuals wear a t-shirt with the word liberty printed on the front, other people are more likely to comply with their requests (Pascual et al., 2015).

Economics and policies

Observation 1. When individuals receive $1000 in one payment, they tend to save a significant portion of this money. In contrast, when individuals receive $1000, but distributed across the year--such as 10 payments of $100--they tend to spend most of this money (Chambers & Spencer, 2008). Arguably, when individuals receive a large amount of money, they recognize this payment could affect their future& their thoughts are thus oriented to their future, instead of to their immediate, needs. They become more responsible as a consequence, saving rather than spending the money. One of the practical implications of this finding is that governments, if intending to stimulate the economy, should not pay a lump sum to individuals.

Observation 2. Many economics believe that income tax tends to curb the likelihood that people will want to work many hours, called labor supply. That is, because of income tax, every hour of work attracts less pay when income tax is imposed. More recently, however, some economics have questioned this assumption (e.g., Bird, 2001). For example, if more taxation is dedicated to welfare--that is, if people receive a reasonable percentage of their wage whenever their job is terminated--the risk of work diminishes. That is, they know they will receive a reasonable sum regardless of unexpected complications, such as injury. As risk diminishes, individuals become more willing to work. Ortona, Ottone, Ponzano, and Scacciati (2008) conducted a study that substantiates this possibility. Participants were granted the opportunity to be paid for various clerical duties. They specified the number of tasks they would like to complete--a measure of labor supply. They received one Euro for each task. They also rolled two die: if the numbers added to 2, they had to forego all this wage. If the numbers added to 7, they had to forego half this wage, simulating risk. For half the participants a certain percentage, between 30 and 50% of the income was instead retained by the experimenter, representing income tax . Some of this income tax was then distributed to anyone who rolled a 2 or 7, to ensure they received between 80 to 90% of their wage& the remainder was distributed to other participants. In general, if participants paid this income tax, corresponding to a welfare state, they tended to work more hours.

Observation 3. In one study, Swedish participants had to decide whether various prices were expensive. Interestingly, a product that costs only 1 Euro might be perceived as cheaper than is the same product that costs 8.33 Swedish crowns--even though 1 Euro equals 8.33 crowns (Gamble, Garling, Charlton, & Ranyard, 2002). This tendency, called the money illusion, indicates that people focus on the nominal value or number instead of the actual value or worth. The money illusion might curb the increase in prices despite inflation. Currencies in which individuals feel a strong emotional attachment are perceived as especially high. Indeed, a product that costs 1 Euro might be perceived as almost as expensive as the same product that costs 8.33 Swedish crowns in people who regard the Euro as more prestigious or desirable (Tyzska & Przybyszewski, 2006). One practical implication is that nations should primarily compete against countries with currencies in which each unit is worth less.

Observation 4. In some nations, income varies appreciably across employees. The wage of a person who earns less than 80% of individuals might be only a quarter the average wage. In other nations, incomes do not vary as appreciably across employees. The wage of person who earns less than 80% of individuals might be more than a half the average wage. In cooperative settings, equality reduces the likelihood that people with a low income squander money on expensive goods or restaurants. Equality increases the probability that individuals feel satisfied with their possessions and affluence, because their life does not differ markedly from the average person. In competitive settings in which status is a key objective, however, equality decreases the likelihood that people with a low income squander money on expensive goods or restaurants. Equality increases the probability that individuals can improve their status by purchasing slightly more expensive goods (Ordabayeva & Chandon, 2011).

Observation 5. Consumer confidence reflects the extent to which people feel the economy is thriving, their financial position is strong, and the time is ripe to purchase durable goods. Interestingly, consumer confidence does not depend only on objective indices of the economy, such as performance on the stock exchange. For example, in one study in the Netherlands, even when the Amsterdam Exchange Index indicated the economy was average, newspaper references to recession, economic crisis, or economic downturn reduced consumer confidence (Hollanders & Vliegenthart, 2011).

Observation 6. Often, people are frustrated when someone is paid more than are they to complete some task. Nevertheless, if they are granted some opportunity to influence pay, they are not as concerned with this discrepancy. To illustrate, if people were told they will be paid $10 to complete a task--and then granted the choice to decide whether someone else will be paid $10 or $20--they will usually prefer this person to be paid the higher amount. That is, they strive to increase the total amount rather than reduce the discrepancy between the two people. However, if people were told they will be paid $10 to complete a task--but not granted the choice to decide whether someone else will be paid $10 or $20--they are not as likely to prefer this person to be paid the higher amount (Choshen-Hillel & Yaniv, 2011). Presumably, when people feel a sense of choice or control, they are not as concerned about status and, therefore, are not as offended by discrepancies in pay.

Observation 7. In one study, participants completed a laboratory study in which they needed to complete a repetitive task: shading circles. They received rewards that were taxed at various rates. Provided their net earnings remained constant, participants shaded more circles when their reward was taxed (Djanali & Sheehan-Connor, 2012). Although people obviously prefer to pay no taxes, they also tend to feel positive about contributing to society in some sense. They also like to redress inequality, and perceive income tax as a means to fulfill this need. Furthermore, people assume that governments will reciprocate their tax contributions. Taxes, therefore, are not perceived as entirely undesirable, called the tax affinity hypothesis. This tax affinity could explain the inclination of most people to pay tax, even when evasion is possible.

Observation 8. In some nations, the taxes are very progressive& that is, the wealthiest 20% of individuals pay appreciably higher tax rates than do the least wealthy individuals. In other nations, the taxes are not as progressive. If the tax rate is progressive, the residents are more likely to enjoy their life and experience less distress, at least partly because they are more satisfied with public education, public transport, and other government services. Yet these benefits of progressive taxes persist even after the overall level of tax and the level of income inequality is controlled (Oishi, Schimmack, & Diener, 2012).

Observation 9. Sometimes, companies establish a foothold in a specific market. For example, although dominant in one product line, such as databases, these companies might also choose to be a minor supplier of another product line, such as word processors. Companies establish these footholds to initiate some other competitive action. They might, for example, acquire another firm in this product line, introduce another product in this line, or undercut their rivals. After companies establish a foothold, they are more inclined to initiate competitive actions if their profile of product lines or resources--such as their assets divided by liability, property, equipment, board interlocks, and productivity--are different to their rivals. That is, when companies initiative these competitive actions, rivals that focus on different markets or capabilities are not as inclined to retaliate. These competitive actions, therefore, tend to be more effective (Upson, Ketchen Jr., Connelly, & Ranft, 2012).

Observation 10. Obviously, during recessions, people are not as likely to buy goods that are not essential. However, they are especially unlikely to purchase goods that are visible to other people, like jewelry, cars, apparel, home furnishings, or grooming products (Kamakura, & Yuxing Du, 2012). Their inclination to purchase other goods that are not essential, such as insurance, charity, or optional medical procedures, does not subside substantially. This pattern of results deviates from the assumption of Engel curves that utility does not change with GDP and also persists after controlling personal demographics.

Observation 11. The unemployment level of states obviously varies across time. In America, when the level of unemployment of a state rises, absenteeism at work tends to increase the next year. In particular, both the prevalence of illness as well as absenteeism as a consequence of violence, such as threats or assaults, rises as well (Shoss & Penney, 2013). Presumably, unemployment tends to provoke stress, ultimately increasing the likelihood of illness or aggression.

Observation 12. Improvements in the intelligence of people in a nation do not always enhance GDP. In particular, when people tend to embrace novel, diverse, and complex experiences rather than only familiar environments--called opennes to experience--the intelligence of a population is more likely to be positively associated with GDP (Zajenkowski, Stolarski, & Meisenberg, 2013). However, when openness to experience, civil liberties, political rights, free trade, and investment freedom are impeded, intelligence is not as likely to be associated with GDP (Zajenkowski, Stolarski, & Meisenberg, 2013). Accordingly, unless individuals are willing or able to challenge existing traditions and practices, intelligence is not as likely to translate into better working practices or economic growth.

Observation 13. Between 2007 and 2009, during the global financial crisis, whenever newspaper articles, such as USA today primarily reported positive expectations or words about the future, the Dow Jones Industrial Average tended to decline during the subsequent week or month (Sevincer, Wagner, Kalvelage, & Oettingen, 2014). Likewise, since 1933, if presidential addresses included more positive expectations or words about the future, GDP and employment were more likely to decline in the four years later. Arguably, during times in which people strive to imagine idealized positive futures, people may not be as inclined to prepare and plan to accommodate challenges. Indeed, many studies in the realm of mental contrasting show that thoughts about idealized futures, without any consideration of existing or likely problems, undermines planning and motivation.

Psychiatric, psychological, and neurological disorders

Observation 1. Valproate is a drug that is often used to treat epilepsy and the drug of choice for women who may bear children. This drug increases the effect of GABA, an inhibitory neurotransmitter as well as blocks sodium ion channels. Yet, as Christensen, Sorensen, Schendel, Parner, Pedersen, and Mogens (2013) showed, valproate increases the likelihood their offspring will demonstrate the symptoms of autism spectrum disorder. Specifically, the risk of autism spectrum disorder increases from about 1.5% to 4.4% when valproate is used. In mothers with epilepsy, the risk of autism spectrum disorder increases from about 2.5% to 4.4% when valproate is used. Nevertheless, the benefits of valproate may override this risk

Observation 2. If people are 18 to 25 during an economic recession, they are less likely to exhibit the signs of narcissism later in life (Bianchi, 2014).

Observation 3. Some people diagnosed with autism or other disorders engage in self-injurious behavior. One man, examined by Symons, Hoch, Dahl, and McComas (2003), for example, often hit his head or leg with his fist. The authors explored the extent to which his behavior was dependent upon the responses of staff in the institution in which he lived. They showed his self-injurious behavior was consistent with the matching law. The extent to which he engaged in self-injurious behavior, relative to appropriate communication, was proportional to the degree self-injurious behavior, relative to to appropriate communication, attracted responses from staff--including reprimands, praise, or physical contact. Hence, to curb self-injurious behavior, staff should perhaps have responded only to appropriate verbal communication, although future experiments would be needed to clarify the cause and effect. Also, this man showed overmatching: He was unduly sensitive to the responses of staff.

Observation 4. To encourage children to follow instructions, the principle of stimulus control can be invoked. That is, behaviors should be rewarded only when they follow an instruction. For example, children may receive praise after eating an apple but only if told to consume this fruit. Yet, instructions tend to coincide with other cues, such as distributing an apple to someone. Thus, children may learn merely to respond to these cues rather than follow instructions--especially if these children tend to orient their attention only to a subset of features, common in autism spectrum disorder or intellectual disability. Also, children may learn to respond whenever the object, such as an apple, is within their purview& they may, therefore, eat the apple even when told to refrain from this object. To override this problem, parents or teachers need to provide distinct instructions in the same environment, such as eat the apple or pass me the apple. In addition, while they present instructions, they should vary the degree to which relevant or irrelevant objects are visible. These premises were substantiated by Sy, Donaldson, Vollmer, and Pizarro (2014). Their study showed that children seemed to follow instructions, such as "place a cup on the block" only if the object was visible and the same instruction always coincided with this object. Presumably, the children were actually responding to the object and not to the instruction.

Observation 5. Children with autism often receive training in social skills. They may, for example, be taught particular scripts, such as to ask "What do you want?" when someone indicated they would like to play with one of their toys. Therapists tend to gradually diminish their prompts, beginning with explicit instructions like "Say, what do you want?" and then gradually deleting each word. They would then reinforce correct behaviors with opportunities to play, lollies, and other rewards. But, the children may learn to enact these behaviors in specific circumstances only, such as with this therapist or in this location. Jones, Lerman, and Lechago (2014) showed that children with autism generalized these behaviors to other settings and with other toys nearby. They also generalized these behaviors to other adults--but not to children. Thus, the age of recipients exerted stimulus control over the development of this behavior: they assumed the interactions and rewards were associated with each other only when an adult is nearby.

Other topics

see Unintuitive findings about social interactions and social settings

see Unintuitive findings about creativity and performance

see Unintuitive findings about motivation and emotions


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