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 material.

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 advertisement.

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 Humour Goes Viral

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 Xmas special: gift psychology and psychology gifts

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). Christmas Spirit alive and well in East Grinstead

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” Mention of the word "loving" doubles charitable donations

A Guide to Synthetic Phonics

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. A Guide to Synthetic Phonics