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O BEHAVE!
Issue 10 • January 2015
Pretty in Pink Prison Cells 3
Bias of the Month 4
Wait, Why Am I Here Again? 5
Don’t Worry, You’re Smarter than Average 6
...
Genschow, O., Noll, T., Wänke, M., & Gersbach, R. (2014). Does Baker-Miller pink reduce aggression in prison detention cel...
BIAS OF THE MONTH
Gambler’s Fallacy
Suppose you are in a casino playing Roulette and the ball fell in black the last five ...
WAIT, WHY AM I HERE AGAIN?
We have all had the experience of going from one room to the next, only to find that we have co...
DON’T WORRY, YOU’RE SMARTER THAN AVERAGE
Lying awake at night worrying about your job, your family, your dog or whether yo...
TRUST YOUR LAVENDER PERFUME
Have you ever got a whiff of a smell and been transported back to an obscure childhood memory ...
Spotted: Reframing charity donations on Evans Cycles
Online shopping orders often come to awkward totals, but what if you
...
COMING SOON…
Go to http://www.thenudgeawards.com/ for more information.
Cíosa Garrahan
@CiosaGarrahan
ciosa.garrahan@ogilvy.com
BROUGHT TO YOU BY
Juliet Hodges
@hulietjodges
juliet.hodges@ogilvy...
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O Behave! is a monthly newsletter brought to you by #ogilvychange that encompasses the latest research in behavioural science. Enjoy!

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O Behave! Issue 10 - January 2015

  1. 1. O BEHAVE! Issue 10 • January 2015
  2. 2. Pretty in Pink Prison Cells 3 Bias of the Month 4 Wait, Why Am I Here Again? 5 Don’t Worry, You’re Smarter than Average 6 Trust Your Lavender Perfume 7 Real Life Nudge of the Month 8 Upcoming Events 8 Coming Soon: The Nudge Awards 9 CONTENTS
  3. 3. Genschow, O., Noll, T., Wänke, M., & Gersbach, R. (2014). Does Baker-Miller pink reduce aggression in prison detention cells? A critical empirical examination. Psychology, Crime & Law, 1-15. For those of you who have ever been incarcerated, or just watched a lot of Louis Theroux documentaries, you may have wondered how you could get that same pink hue at home. Cells in prisons across the West – including the USA and Canada, Germany, Switzerland and England - are actually painted Baker-Miller pink, a colour named after the two US Navel officers who examined the calming effect of this colour on prisoners relative to white cells. PRETTY IN PINK PRISON CELLS In a series of experiments, Schauss (1979) found that this specific shade of pink reduced aggression and physical strength in inmates. In one of Schauss’ tasks, the experimenter pushed down on the inmate’s arms while they actively resisted the pressure, after being shown either a pink or blue card. They did show less resistance after being shown the pink card, but this was confounded by the experiment not being counterbalanced (pink always preceded blue, so there could have been practice effects) and the experimenter knew which card had been presented, so could have unwittingly pushed harder in the pink condition. Pellegrini, Schauss and Miller (1981) presented further evidence for the soothing effects of this colour, finding less aggressive behaviour in prisoners living in pink cells than white cells. However, the data from white cells was recorded one year, and pink cells the next, so it is not clear what other changes there may have been in that time that could have influenced behaviour. The difference could also have been related to broken windows theory, with inmates behaving better in their cleaner, freshly-painted cells. Due to these methodological concerns, Genschow, Noll, Wänke and Gersbach (2014) tested the hypothesis more empirically. They trained prison guards in a Swiss prison to rate inmates on the Overt Aggression scale, which includes verbal aggression and physical aggression against the self, objects and others. They also noted any of their own interventions, such as warning or restraining the inmate. In this more controlled study, they found no significant difference between aggressive behaviour in prisoners in white and pink cells. The authors therefore concluded that painting prison cells pink could be at best pointless, and at worst harmful, if male inmates find the stereotypically female colour emasculating. But if you still think it would look good in your hallway, the exact Baker-Miller shade is made by mixing one gallon of pure white indoor latex paint with one pint of red trim semi-gloss outdoor paint.
  4. 4. BIAS OF THE MONTH Gambler’s Fallacy Suppose you are in a casino playing Roulette and the ball fell in black the last five times in a row. if you’re like most people, and therefore prone to gambler’s fallacy, you’ll very confidently put a lot of your money on red thinking that surely the ball is due to land on red this time. Now suppose a position for a new job has opened in your office and your manager asked you to look through the 200 applications that came in and choose 50 to go onto the next stage. You have just allowed three applications in a row to proceed to the next round and, because of the gambler’s fallacy, you may be inclined to think that the next two applications are unlikely to deserve a place. The gambler’s fallacy – also known as the Monte Carlo fallacy – is the bias of mistakenly believing that if something happens more frequently than normal during a certain period, then it will happen less frequently in the future. Although this belief is appealing to the human mind, it is false and can have real life consequences. One such consequence that has been found is that asylum judges (who decide whether a foreign national can stay in a country based on their belief that the person seeking asylum is at risk of torture, death or unfair imprisonment in their own country) are 2.1% less likely to grant asylum to somebody if they have granted the two previous requests than if they denied the two previous requests. Similarly, a study of loan applications in banks have found that loan officers were 5%-8% less likely to approve a loan if they had approved the previous application (Chen, Moskowitz et Shue, 2014). The gambler’s fallacy can lead people to make biased decisions which can have a real and severe negative impact on themselves or others. In order to overcome such bias and ensure we don’t make decisions based on it, we need to be aware of it and try overcome it. Chen, D. L., Moskowitz, T. J., & Shue, K. (2014). Decision-Making Under the Gambler's Fallacy: Evidence from Asylum Judges, Loan Officers, and Baseball Umpires. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2538147.
  5. 5. WAIT, WHY AM I HERE AGAIN? We have all had the experience of going from one room to the next, only to find that we have completely forgotten why we have made the journey. Research by Radvansky, Krawletz and Tamplin (2011) investigated this phenomenon and found that it was the simple act of passing through a doorway that triggered forgetting. More recent research by Lawrence and Peterson (2014) explored this finding further and found that merely imagining walking through a doorway is enough to trigger increased forgetfulness. The researchers divided the participants into two groups. They asked the first group to spend a minute familiarising themselves with a large furnished room; for the second group, they divided the same room in two with a doorway in the middle, and asked them to familiarise themselves with the two sections of the room. All participants were then shown a picture of a swirly image and asked to remember it whilst imagining themselves walking from one end of the room to the other. For the second group this involved them imagining walking through the created doorway. Once they had completed the task they were asked to pick out the swirly image from a choice of ten. Results found that the group who imagined walking through the doorway performed 18% worse on this task than the other group (comparable to the effect found for actually walking through a doorway). These results can be explained by the Event Horizon Model, which states that we divide our memories into distinct events, and that more forgetting occurs across event boundaries than within the same event. In this case the doorway acted as an event divider. The simple act of walking through a doorway creates a new memory episode, thereby making it more difficult to recall information pertaining to an experience in the room that has just been left behind. This new study shows that the division effect is so strong that it can even occur in our imagination: we don’t have to physically see and pass through a doorway for it to have a negative effect on our memory. Radvansky, G., Krawietz, S., and Tamplin, A. (2011). Walking through doorways causes forgetting: Further explorations. The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 64 (8), 1632-1645. Lawrence, Z., & Peterson, D. (2014). Mentally walking through doorways causes forgetting: The location updating effect and imagination. Memory, 1-9.
  6. 6. DON’T WORRY, YOU’RE SMARTER THAN AVERAGE Lying awake at night worrying about your job, your family, your dog or whether your new haircut makes you look a bit like a potato isn’t fun, and many would argue it’s a sign of weakness to be consumed by doubt. However, new research suggests that the worriers amongst us may be the most intelligent. Penney, Miedema and Mazmanian (2015) surveyed over 100 students to find their scores on measures of worry, anxiety, depression, rumination, social phobia, dwelling on past social events, and both verbal and non-verbal intelligence from the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale. Of course, a participant’s current mood, as well as the anxiety caused by simply taking a test, could influence the results, so these things were measured and controlled for in the analysis. Penney, A., Miedema, V., & Mazmanian, D. (2015). Intelligence and emotional disorders: Is the worrying and ruminating mind a more intelligent mind? Personality and Individual Differences, 74, 90-93. They found that both general worry and tendency to ruminate on things were correlated with verbal intelligence; in fact, verbal intelligence accounted for almost half of the variance in worry. Interestingly, a proclivity to dwell on past social events was negatively correlated with non-verbal IQ, a finding the authors suggested was due to these individuals perhaps missing cues or not processing them properly at the time, therefore needing to re-examine them in a way that those with higher non-verbal intelligence don’t. Though a sample of 100 students can hardly be considered representative, previous research has found similar advantages of anxiety; a study of patients diagnosed with generalised anxiety disorder also found a positive correlation with intelligence, while other work has shown that more anxious individuals are faster at responding to threats and better at detecting lies. Like the theory of depressive realism, which states that people with depression are actually more in touch with reality and often better at predicting events than the rest of us, this may be yet another indication that happy people are simply delusional.
  7. 7. TRUST YOUR LAVENDER PERFUME Have you ever got a whiff of a smell and been transported back to an obscure childhood memory or think of somebody who that smell reminds you of? This is because smells have a significant influence over all aspects of our cognition, memory being just one. Without realising it, smells in our environment influence much of our behaviour every day outside our conscious awareness. Stores and brands spend thousands on research to find the right smell and pump it throughout their store to try and influence your purchasing decisions. Nike paid for a study that concluded that most people will buy more shoes (and be willing to pay a higher price for them) if the room smells like flowers. Likewise, the Las Vegas Hilton casino found its patrons spent 50 percent more time playing on slot machines when the air around them was filled with a floral scent. The stronger the fragrance, the longer the individuals gambled. Sellaro, R., van Dijk, W. W., Paccani, C. R., Hommel, B., & Colzato, L. S. (2015). A question of scent: lavender aroma promotes interpersonal trust.Frontiers in Psychology, 5, 1486. These are powerful examples of how smells can influence our behaviour on an individual level, but what if specific scents can change how we perceive and interact with others? Research by Sellaro, van Dijk, Paccani, Hommel and Colzato (2015) suggests it can, as they found that the calming scent of lavender (as opposed to the more stimulating scent of peppermint) can foster interpersonal trust. In this study, researchers split 90 participants into three groups, with each group being exposed to lavender, peppermint or no scent. They then played a trust game, whereby they were given cash and told that they could give as much as they liked to the trustees. The amount of money given would be tripled for the trustees, but it would also be up to the trustees to decide how much money to give back to the giver. As such, the amount of money given to the trustees was a measure of trust. Results found that those in the lavender room gave significantly more money to the trustees than in the other two groups. This is the first time a direct link has been found a smell and the perception of trust. So remember, next time you’re meeting someone and you need them to trust you, shower yourself in lavender and hopefully all else will fall into place.
  8. 8. Spotted: Reframing charity donations on Evans Cycles Online shopping orders often come to awkward totals, but what if you could make that a nice even number and do good at the same time? Evans Cycles have introduced an option to round up your order and donate the difference to Cyclists Fighting Cancer. This not only uses the in-group bias, as we are more likely to help people who are similar or have similar interests to us, but also a reframing of costs as this donation feels tiny in comparison to the purchase you just made. Thanks to Julia Schulz who spotted this! REAL LIFE NUDGE OF THE MONTH UPCOMING EVENTS Behavioural Boozeonomics with the London Behavioural Economics Network Tuesday 10th February, 6.30-10.30pm http://www.meetup.com/London-behavioural-comms-monthly-informal-drinks/events/219158725/ UCL Centre for Behaviour Change Conference 2015: Harnessing Digital Technology for Health Behaviour Change Monday 23rd - Tuesday 24th February http://www.ucl.ac.uk/behaviour-change/cbc-events/cbc-conference-2015 ESRC Workshop on Biomarkers in Behavioural Science at Sterling University Friday 27th February http://economicspsychologypolicy.blogspot.co.uk/2014/04/feb-27th-2015-esrc-workshop-on.html
  9. 9. COMING SOON… Go to http://www.thenudgeawards.com/ for more information.
  10. 10. Cíosa Garrahan @CiosaGarrahan ciosa.garrahan@ogilvy.com BROUGHT TO YOU BY Juliet Hodges @hulietjodges juliet.hodges@ogilvy.com
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O Behave! is a monthly newsletter brought to you by #ogilvychange that encompasses the latest research in behavioural science. Enjoy!

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