Monday, February 1, 2010

Evaluate All Your Ideas In 12-Point Times New Roman

From my blog post about social proof, Don’t Ever Confuse Popular Opinion and Truth:
The context surrounding an idea also affects the perception of the idea itself. If you took away the crowds of followers, the ornate houses of worship and the “headquarters” of any religion, would it still seem as true as the devout believers attest it is? The grandiosity of the associations can spill over into the idea itself and an idea that can be obviously flawed takes on the grandiose characteristics of the establishment that has built up around this flawed foundation. It is hard but I believe that you need to look past both the associations attached to the idea and the seeming concreteness of what others immediately around you are telling you.
Marketers and advertisers know this well, and convey a certain image and mystique- a feeling to go along with their product when they show it to the consumer. This might have nothing to do with the actual merit of the product (unless of course in your opinion part of the merit of the product is for you to be able to experience that same feeling as in the commercial) but it works because of what I have described above.

If I present the exact same idea in this format versus in this format, or this one, or this one, chances are that (not having any prior associations with those sites) you will unconsciously respond more positively to the one that is dressed up nicely. This kind of context shouldn’t matter when you are evaluating an idea solely for its merit, but it happens. A lot.

This is a powerful tool when you are marketing or presenting something, but when you are evaluating a theory or an idea, evaluate it in 12-point Times New Roman.

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