Archive - PSYCH 430


I agree with Meghan’s response about Stumpf’s chair and the idea that people choose things they are more familiar with. This also relates to my previous comment about people not really knowing their opinions, because they are unconscious. If this is the case, then people would automatically choose something familiar to them, so they wouldn’t have to try and explain why they chose something new, if the new choice was an unconscious one. Being like everyone else does not warrant explanation, which makes life easier for everyone.

In chapter 6, Gladwell discusses the primary reactions of people to their environment. He theorizes that, when asked to give their opinion about a product or service, they seem to give solid, informed answers. However, according to Gladwell, these primary reactions come from the unconscious, and therefore cannot be explained, and may not be correct. If this is the case, then do our opinions mean anything? Why should any polls be conducted if the answers people give are wrong? Kenna’s music should not have been disregarded so quickly, just because a small number of people said they didn’t like it after hearing it only a few times. In the Coca Cola vs. Pepsi example, Coke became nervous when the number of people who said they only drank Coke decreased and the number of people who said they only drank Pepsi increased. But if our reactions to Coke and Pepsi are unconscious and cannot be expressed consciously, then Coke really had nothing to worry about. This idea is dangerous because people could be very easily swayed if the are made to believe that they cannot become aware of their unconsious reactions to things. People could be told that they like or dislike something, and that that like or dislike is unconscious, and they wouldn’t be able to tell the difference. In essence, it doesn’t seem like we could really have our own opinions, if Gladwell is correct.

I definitely agree, again, that the “familiar = comforting = better” schema is definitely something which influences products. I personally still struggle between telling the difference between Pepsi and Coke because I was raised on Caffeine Free Diet Pepsi and Coke, BUT I know that I can tell the difference between Sprite and 7-Up, though everyone else I’ve talked to can’t see the difference. I can because I associate 7-Up with positive memories at my grandparents’ house, so that definitely influences me. If I was given one without being told either way, however, that would make it harder for me to distinguish between the two.

With regards to an earlier point someone brought up: it definitely made me uncomfortable as well to hear about “split decisions over logistic decisions” at first. I think I need to read more about the decision-making about heart attacks before I could make a final decision. However, I do agree with Gladwell asserting that good decision making requires a balance between the slow, logical thinking and quick, snap judgments, and I think this holds true especially with people in the medical profession. There are some times in which you just need to make a decision then and there, and having a way to ensure success with this is definitely comforting. But then, that’s just my own gut feeling. :D

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