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Humour Goes Viral

Humour Turns E-Mail Viral

A study by Sharpe Partners, an interactive marketing agency, revealed that
89% of adult Internet users in America share content with others via e-mail.
This is excellent news for those companies who use self-propelling
word-of-mouse” e-mail techniques to sell their products.

The study generated some interesting results regarding the type of content
that is most often forwarded, as well. The most popular content is humorous

The second most popular category is news, followed by healthcare and medical
information, religious and spiritual material, games, business and personal
finance information and sports/hobbies. in that order. So it is easy to see
that humour is the best content for your viral e-mail campaign.

Cartoons, jokes and funny video clips are among the things that can be added
to an e-mail to insure that it will go viral. People will want to pass along
something that makes them laugh.

They are a lot more likely to hit the forward button and send your email to
their friends and relatives if it is an “advertainment” rather than an

Not long ago, about 35 million people got an e-mail containing a picture
taken in Disneyland. It took a minute to see it but there was Donald Duck
lying prone in front of the famous Cinderella Castle. The title of the
picture was “Bird Flu has hit Disneyland”. It was a viral e-mail advertising
Disneyland and used the edgy strategy of making light of what’s serious. and
it works.

I’d guess that most people who own a computer have seen that picture. and
thus the advertisement for Disneyland. The bird flu epidemic is newsworthy
and has the potential to attract an enormous amount of attention to any
brand that might, for whatever reason, associate itself with it.

Remember that people are much more likely to share a joke or a funny picture
than anything else so you would be well advised to include humour in your
e-mail campaign.

Xmas special: gift psychology and psychology gifts

Psychology-themed gifts:

Inception DVD – Jungian symbolism, action adventure and Leonardo DiCaprio!

A subscription to Scientific American Mind magazine.

I’m statistically significant” and other stats-themed t-shirts.

Memento DVD – the best amnesia movie that we can remember.

The Force Trainer – Become a Jedi: wireless headset interprets your brainwaves and moves an object.

 “Connect it” brain/usb t-shirt.

Mindflex brainwave game – go head to head with a friend.

A subscription to The Psychologist magazine.

Serotonin necklace.

Freudian slippers.

Dopamine t-shirt.

Inflatable brain.

Ramon y Cajal t-shirt.

Make a donation to Mind – the UK’s leading mental health charity.

The best psychology books of 2011 (and there’s always the new Rough Guide to Psychology by the editor of the Research Digest!)

Gift-giving research

If in doubt, give them what they want. A study published this year suggested people prefer receiving what they asked for, rather than a surprise gift.

Don’t bundle your gifts. Gift receivers rate a single high-value gift more positively than a big gift bundled with a stocking filler.

This study, from 2002, found that money was a poor gift because it doesn’t convey meaningful information about intimacy and can send the wrong message about the relative status between gift giver and receiver.

Be careful when buying a gift for your man. A study from 2008 found that men responded to dud gifts more negatively than women.

Given the choice, people seem to prefer receiving gifts of plenty and practicality over exclusivity.

Finally, don’t forget to say thank you, even if you don’t like the gift you’ve been given.

Merry Christmas!

Post compiled by Christian Jarrett for the BPS Research Digest. Many of the gift ideas were found via mindhacks.com

Article source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/BpsResearchDigest/~3/jNWpuf1LMhE/our-xmas-special-gift-psychology-and.html

Christmas Spirit alive and well in East Grinstead

It’s that time of year again when itinerant panhandlers (i.e. carol singers) appear on my door-step attempting to sing a few strangled verses of some long forgotten carol before being sent away with a flea in their ear and a recommendation for a few singing lessons by yours truly. Last year some group of lads came around and made a vague attempt at Silent Night (oh I wish it was when they started). Now it happened they started up just as the Tele was playing up, her in doors was having a moan about my lack of Christmas spirit and that mutt of a sheepdog of mine was attempting to bark the bloody house down whilst attempting to get at said carols singers.

Actually in hindsight it may have been better to let her out … anyhoo in amongst all this cacophony I answered the door just as the second line … holy night … was tailing off into oblivion and a hopeful carol singer put out his hand for what I assumed was some act of supplication. WE DON’T DO THAT HERE CLEAR OFF I said (now RoyMogg readers may wish to know that this in fact is an entirely accurate description of events that occurred that fateful night ed.) and closed the door and turned around and saw my stunned wife and daughter telling me I cannot say that, lack of Christmas spirit etc etc. To my astonishment they run after these erstwhile vagrants apologising … ‘he’s a little tired, worked long hours, miserable git’ and so forth… giving them money for their efforts and wishing them merry Christmas and all that. Shocked I was – I thought I was being very reasonable but ho hum I guess it takes all sorts

In the Christmas spirit an alternative carol:

Good King Wencelas last looked out
On the feast of Stephen,
When the snow lay round about,
Deep and crisp and even.
Brightly shone the moon that night,
Though the frost was cruel,
and When a poor man came in sight,
Wencelas set the dogs on him …

Merry Christmas to RoyMogg Readers

Mention of the word "loving" doubles charitable donations

“Love begets love.” Proverb
French researchers say that adding the text “donating=loving” to a charitable collection box almost doubled the amount of money they raised.

Nicolas Guéguen and Lubomir Lamy placed opaque collection boxes in 14 bakeries in Brittany for two weeks. All the boxes featured the following text in French: “Women students in business trying to organise a humanitarian action in Togo. We are relying on your support”, together with a picture of a young African woman with an infant in her arms. Some boxes had this additional text in French just below the money slot: “DONATING=LOVING”; others had the text “DONATING=HELPING”; whilst others had no further text below the slot. Different box types were placed in different bakeries on different days and the amount of money collected each day was recorded.

The text on the donation boxes made a profound difference. On average, almost twice as much money was raised daily in boxes with the “donating=loving” text, as compared with the “donating=helping” boxes and the boxes with no additional text (€1.04 per day vs. €0.62 and €0.54; the effect size was d=2.09). “Given the high effect-size … we can conclude that evoking love is a powerful technique to enhance people’s altruistic behaviour,” the researchers said. In contrast, the difference in the amount of money left in “donating=helping” boxes and boxes without additional text was not statistically significant.

Guéguen and Lamy think that the word “loving” acts as a prime, activating related concepts such as compassion, support and solidarity, and thereby encourages behaviour consistent with those ideas. Such an explanation would fit the wider literature showing how our motivations and attitudes can be influenced by words and objects without us realising it. For example, one previous study showed how exposure to ageing-related words like “retired” led participants to walk away more slowly after an experiment. Other research found a poster of a pair of eyes on a wall led to greater use of an honesty box in a university canteen. Previous research by Guéguen and Lamy has further shown how asking a male passerby for directions to “Saint Valentine Street” as opposed to “Saint Martin Street” makes them subsequently more likely to help a nearby woman who’s had her phone stolen, presumably because of the automatic activation of romance-related concepts.

Why should the text “donating=helping” not have had a similar beneficial effect on giving behaviour? Guéguen and Lamy think this might be due to a compensatory counter-reaction against words that are perceived as too much like a command. Indeed, in French, the verb “donner” to donate is also used to order someone to do something. However, why this reactance should have happened with “donating=helping” and not with “donating=loving” isn’t entirely clear. Another reason for the impotence of the word “helping”, the researchers said, is its redundancy – it was really just repeating the  plea for support in the main text.

The measure of giving was crude, which is a weakness of the study. We don’t know if the “donating=loving” text led more people to donate, or to more generous giving among those people who donated.

“Despite the shortcomings of our study, the results will no doubt be of interest to those involved in philanthropic planning and support assessment in the aresas of corporate giving, nonprofit organisations, charitable foundations, and grants,” the researchers said. “Conducted in a field setting, the experiment demonstrates how a simple, low-cost intervention can increase charitable giving.”

Guéguen, N., and Lamy, L. (2011). The effect of the word “love” on compliance to a request for humanitarian aid: An evaluation in a field setting. Social Influence, 6 (4), 249-258 DOI: 10.1080/15534510.2011.627771

Previously on the Research Digest: How Michael Jackson’s Heal The World really could help heal the world.

Other Digest posts related to altruism.

Post written by Christian Jarrett for the BPS Research Digest.

Article source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/BpsResearchDigest/~3/pLrBNI6UAfY/mention-of-word-loving-doubles.html

A Guide to Synthetic Phonics

Synthetic as normally used means building something up from two or more basic elements also has a more negative connotation as artificial not natural (or not analytic in synthetic proposition terms)

When I was a boy we learned to read and write by the old fashioned method chalk and talk. You talk or you get the chalk! When old Mrs Meredith (now sadly passed away to the rejoicing of countless generations of her former pupils – I just thought I can now slander her name with impunity) asked you to spell a word she followed it up within at most a second or two with a piece of chalk fired at your head . I used to marvel at the unnerving accuracy that this slight women managed to find the target (mostly Lyn Davies head as it happens) across a crowded classroom with rarely a off target projection. Strong in arm the chalk made its parabolic flight with ICBM accuracy to find the offending dim wits ear – there to explode in a satisfying plume of chalk dust. Such was the skill I often thought she should have made the first eleven she clearly had cricket in her blood – she must have been related to WC Fields – mainly because of the beard come to think of it.

If there is good structure to teaching of whatever style the student will learn quickly – We must not at the first sign that one of Labours’s chavs cannot fill in his benefit claim form change the entire process. Is it worth another method and changing the whole pedagogical approach if the evidence for outcomes at eleven would not materially differ if a good style of teaching delivered by effective professionals was in place? What we are doing with the initiative is extending the control of government (as they cannot trust teachers) from what is taught, the content of the teaching, to how it is taught in the context in the classroom where the innovation and creativity of teachers should be allowed full rein. What this whole approach shows us is the limited understanding government has about practice and no appreciation that students are individuals with different learning styles – and as a consequence a one size blanket initiative will not fit all. What is needed is for professionals to be empowered to use the full armoury of tools and techniques at their disposal (including synthetic phonics) to delivery effective teaching and not headline spin for ministers to give the illusion they are making progress with their education policy.