I flew out to Arizona last week to watch some spring training baseball. Since I was thinking about baseball and tickets, I wanted to explore the naming of sections within a stadium. In my experience, the naming of sections is not as calculated at it might appear (or should be). In other words, come up with a name for a section that sounds neat or luxurious and run with it. Although this isn’t a spring training example, let’s take a look at Angel Stadium. The Angels have the following section names in their upper deck: [Read more…]
After reading this post on Gawker about New York City subway delays, I was intrigued by how the information was (or could be) framed. The article mentions that 78.8% of New York City subway trains were on time in 2014. Mathematically, that suggests (as the article mentions as well) subway trains are late 21.2% of the time.
This got me thinking…what do people perceive as an acceptable rate for trains to be on time? What do people perceive as an acceptable rate for trains to be late? Look at those two questions again. Virtually the same question but framing the information in a slightly different way may influence perceptions. Thus, half of the people who answered the survey saw the following:
One report estimates that New York City subway trains are on time 78.8% of the time. Given a variety of potential issues (weather, construction, etc.), what do you think is a reasonable percentage for trains to be on time? [Read more…]
All of my #1QFriday questions thus far have focused on a numerical response. How few miles is it from Eugene, OR to Philadelphia, PA? What percentage of 40-yard field goals does the average college kicker make? All of them required some sort of numerical estimate. This week’s question switched to choice. Specifically, the task was to choose between two cans of soup:
Assuming you plan to eat the entire can of soup by yourself for dinner, which soup do you think is the healthiest choice?
A lot of the effects I have demonstrated thus far in my #1QFriday series have been on the question side of things. For example, “How many miles…” versus “How few miles” is a markedness effect built into the actual question. This week’s survey looks at the answer side of things:
What do you think is the average attendance at a (FBS) college football game?
Markedness. Kind of a funny word. I barely knew how to pronounce it when I first saw it. But it has a serious influence on numerical perceptions. I have said on multiple occasions that words matter. A lot. This week’s question continues to explore that idea:
How many miles do you think it is from Philadelphia, PA to Eugene, OR?
Last week, I asked about differences in perception between a 39-yard, 40-yard and 41-yard field goal. The primary goal was exploring how people perceive various distances and differences between those distances. In other words, we might have some rough understanding of how hard a “40ish-yard field goal” is and thus lump in 39 yard and 41 yard field goals into one big perception of “40ish-yard field goals” as opposed to truly recognizing differences in difficulty between 39, 40, and 41 yards. Furthermore, it showed the psychology behind round numbers (such as 40) and their potential to change behavior. This week’s survey explored a similar consumer psychology idea but in a different way: [Read more…]
The majority of my research interests involve the relationship between words and numbers. How do words influence our (numerical) assessment of a situation? Last week, I asked what you expected a player’s shooting percentage to be when a player’s shooting was referred to as “good” vs. “not bad”. On that note, I was in New York City this weekend and heard someone refer to the weather as “not hot”. It was about 20 degrees outside. Apparently that idea plays out in the real world in terms of how people and businesses communicate. This week’s survey explores the same broad idea (linguistic influences on perception) but in a slightly different way:
What percentage of 40-yard field goals does the average college kicker make?
Words are extremely powerful. One word can be extremely powerful. We tend to throw out words without always thinking about how they are perceived. It can be interesting though to take a step back and think about what we are really trying to say and how people interpret the words we use. That leads us to last Friday’s survey:
What is the length of the Mississippi River? Sounds like a fairly straight forward question but a concept known as anchoring (or magnitude priming) makes people respond to that question in unexpected ways.
Anchoring is psychology theory that suggests when people see a number, they are biased toward that initial number. What does that mean? Let’s try an example. Consider the following question:
A. “Is the population of Chicago more or less than 5 million? What is the population of Chicago?” [Read more…]