Emily Balcetis, of Ohio University, and David Dunning, of Cornell University, published a study, in the journal Psychological Science, called Cognitive Dissonance and the Perception of Natural Environments. Balcetis and Dunning describe an experiment in which the test subjects "were taken outside to a highly trafficked, grassy quad at the centre of campus ... The experimenter handed subjects a Carmen Miranda costume, including a grass skirt, coconut bra, hat adorned in plastic fruit, and flower lei. Subjects were told to put on the costume, walk the width of the quad alone, and return, before answering questions about their emotions and their experience."
The researchers were cunningly manipulative, but not to everyone. They made some people feel obliged to stroll in this outlandish getup. But they let others know they could decline.
The Carmen Miranda-ised test subjects "walked across the quad from one statue to another and back (365 ft, or 111.2m, each way) and completed a survey asking them to estimate the one-way distance ."
Balcetis and Dunning predicted the test subjects who felt they had no choice about being Carmen Miranda would make the longest estimates of how far they had walked. That's exactly what happened.
Friday, October 03, 2008
This blog must post this: