The reason why you should have picture of a sunset as your desktop background

Back to kitchen psychology!

There was a group of psychologists (*) who conducted an experiment on a group of people. The participants were divided into two groups and they had to play a game (rules irrelevant here). Group A played the game in a room with a briefcase and a fancy business pen. Group B had neutral items in their room, like backpack and a wooden pencil.

Results? Group A played the game in significantly greedier and competitive way. They were merely exposed to “business items”, which affected their thinking unconsciously. When they were asked why did they played the game the way they did, they made up an explanation and believed it was true.

Pretty amazing and also scary. I guess this is why advertising works.

So how does this should affect you? Firstly, I would suggest being exposed to end users as much as possible. I guess it might trick your brain into thinking their needs, even though you would maybe just see them passing by. If you ever have seen those standing real-sized cardboard user personas, they might do the same trick.

Secondly, even though you can’t prime yourself consciously, you might consider surrounding your life with people and items that supposedly create positive rather than negative primings. Soothing desktop background image, clean desktop, being nice to each other… I know that sounds awfully tacky, but hey, I’m allowed to be tacky in my own blog!

Thirdly, when creating presentations, you can slip in slides that contain subliminal messages. For example if you’re presenting something to your boss, you can add words like RAISE, MORE MONEY, PROMOTION there. Just remember to show those slides just like a couple of milliseconds so that your boss doesn’t realize he saw those slides. Profit!

Ok, the last one was a joke. Kinda.

(*) 2003 Kay, Wheeler, Barghand, Ross. Sorry no proper reference.

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