PDA

View Full Version : How easy people are to sway: Changing a simple text font



Carmody
4th November 2012, 01:04
The Danger of Easy

A living example of how easy people are to sway. How easy it is for people to get caught up in the body's perceptions of data and somehow confusing the method as being the madness itself.

Or, how critical it is to understand that the body is, most seriously now-- the interpreter of all data (a polarizing filter, both in and out) ...and the body casts all in the context of emotions, even the formation of thought itself.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Difficult-to-read font reduces political polarity, study finds

Liberals and conservatives who are polarized on certain politically charged subjects become more moderate when reading political arguments in a difficult-to-read font, researchers report in a new study. Likewise, people with induced bias for or against a defendant in a mock trial are less likely to act on that bias if they have to struggle to read the evidence against him.



The new research, reported in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, is one of two studies to show that subtle manipulations that affect how people take in information can reduce political polarization. The other study, which explores attitudes toward a Muslim community center near the World Trade Center site, is described in a paper in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science.

By asking participants to read an overtly political argument about capital punishment in a challenging font, the researchers sought to disrupt participants' usual attitudes to the subject, said graduate student Ivan Hernandez, who led the capital punishment/mock trial study with University of Illinois psychology professor Jesse Preston.

The intervention worked. Liberals and conservatives who read the argument in an easy-to-read font were much more polarized on the subject than those who had to slog through the difficult version.

(video at link)

In a separate experiment, people were shown documents that praised or criticized the behavior of a defendant in a mock trial before they saw the (rather sketchy) evidence against him. As expected, those who read an unflattering account of the defendant's character were much more likely to convict him than those who read a more complimentary report. The two sides were far apart on their assessment of the evidence.

"But when people read a difficult-to-read summary of the evidence, then they became more moderate," Hernandez said. "Those with the positive impression suddenly thought maybe he could be guilty and gave more guilty verdicts than those who had read the evidence in a normal font. And the people who didn't like him started giving more not guilty verdicts relative to before."

The study is the first to use difficult-to-read materials to disrupt what researchers call the "confirmation bias," the tendency to selectively see only arguments that support what you already believe, Preston said. And it is the first to show that the intervention can moderate both deeply held political beliefs as well as newly formed biases, she said.

"Not only are people considering more the opposing point of view but they're also being more skeptical of their own because they're more critically engaging both sides of the argument," she said.

"We showed that if we can slow people down, if we can make them stop relying on their gut reaction – that feeling that they already know what something says – it can make them more moderate; it can have them start doubting their initial beliefs and start seeing the other side of the argument a little bit more," Hernandez said.

Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2012-11-difficult-to-read-font-political-polarity.html#jCp

http://uofisocialcognitionlab.x10.mx/Papers/Hernandez_Preston_2012.pdf


Essentially... You "get" (understand) what you "pay" (personal price) for.

bram
4th November 2012, 01:48
This is wonderful. It goes to show that most of the time that we are reading, we are not focussed on the words on the page, we are busy maintaining our own internal dialogue (talking to ourselves) while we go through the motions of reading. How many times have you read a page of a book, and realized just before turning the page that you haven't taken in a single word of what you read?

So we skim through the article, and allow our preconceptions to decide our opinion, instead of thinking about the facts or opinions being presented.

When the font is difficult to read however, we have to focus our attention on the words, and we become, without realizing it, mindful. Because we have to commit our attention to the act of reading, we temporarily stop our internal dialogue and actually take in the words on the page, allowing us to develop a more informed opinion on the issue.

I'm going to change my font right away!! These kind of subtle tools such as NLP should not just be available to the other side.....

Paul
4th November 2012, 01:59
Essentially... You "get" (understand) what you "pay" (personal price) for.

hmm ... does this also apply to "reading difficulty metrics", such as syntax, vocabulary, conceptual abstractness, ... ?

bram
4th November 2012, 02:23
:confused:

Essentially... You "get" (understand) what you "pay" (personal price) for.

hmm ... does this also apply to "reading difficulty metrics", such as syntax, vocabulary, conceptual abstractness, ... ?

Perhaps.......maybe if people are sufficiently confused they will flick a switch and actually think for themselves?

I think the problem with this research however, is that the poeple reading the articales were obliged to read them; in the RL situation if people encouter difficulties (whether it is the font or the syntax) which make their brains hurt, they are more likely just not to bother reading at all!

Ilie Pandia
4th November 2012, 04:55
This also seems to be exactly how cold reading works: you quickly brush over things that you don't recognize but give deep meaning to stuff that seems personal to you. At the end you recall only the "deep meaning" stuff and you feel you got a fairly accurate read :)

eileenrose
4th November 2012, 05:56
This article sums it up nicely (related to how to turn conspiracy seekers into sheeple)

http://12160.info/profiles/blogs/cointelpro-techniques-for-dilution-misdirection-and-control-of-a

Title: COINTELPRO Techniques for dilution, misdirection and control of a internet forum.. (http://12160.info/profiles/blogs/cointelpro-techniques-for-dilution-misdirection-and-control-of-a)

snip

Technique #2 - 'CONSENSUS CRACKING'

A second highly effective technique (which you can see in operation all the time at www.abovetopsecret.com) is 'consensus cracking.'

To develop a consensus crack, the following technique is used. Under the guise of a fake account a posting is made which looks legitimate and is towards the truth is made - but the critical point is that it has a VERY WEAK PREMISE without substantive proof to back the posting. Once this is done then under alternative fake accounts a very strong position in your favour is slowly introduced over the life of the posting.

It is IMPERATIVE that both sides are initially presented, so the uninformed reader cannot determine which side is the truth. As postings and replies are made the stronger 'evidence' or disinformation in your favour is slowly 'seeded in.' Thus the uninformed reader will most like develop the same position as you, and if their position is against you their opposition to your posting will be most likely dropped.

However in some cases where the forum members are highly educated and can counter your disinformation with real facts and linked postings, you can then 'abort' the consensus cracking by initiating a 'forum slide.'

end snip

araucaria
4th November 2012, 08:39
A piece of writing like Joyce’s Ulysses is harder to read than a pageturner because it has greater complexity due to the higher information content – complexity always tending towards greater nuance. The words are no longer just a container vehicle for thought but a thinking process in their own right – the medium is also part of the message. It is the equivalent of thinking with one’s whole person rather than just the brain. Clearly, changing the font is a way of drawing attention to all the depth of information that we might otherwise miss, because even the unconscious pageturner writer is churning greater complexity than even he realizes. But this is nothing new; good teachers have long known that the best way to get a noisy class to listen is to lower, not raise, their voice.

angelahedgehog
4th November 2012, 09:51
I've noticed this myself. When reading off the screen I personally prefer a sans serif font like Arial or Verdana .... And I've been know to copy+paste into word if something is in times new roman on screen .... Book reading is different, I don't tend to notice if the books been properly edited and formatted .... But if it hasn't I can't concentrate on the content. I read somewhere ages ago that screen reading and book reading require two different parts of the brain... Nice article :)

aranuk
4th November 2012, 18:10
The Danger of Easy

A living example of how easy people are to sway. How easy it is for people to get caught up in the body's perceptions of data and somehow confusing the method as being the madness itself.

Or, how critical it is to understand that the body is, most seriously now-- the interpreter of all data (a polarizing filter, both in and out) ...and the body casts all in the context of emotions, even the formation of thought itself.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Difficult-to-read font reduces political polarity, study finds

Liberals and conservatives who are polarized on certain politically charged subjects become more moderate when reading political arguments in a difficult-to-read font, researchers report in a new study. Likewise, people with induced bias for or against a defendant in a mock trial are less likely to act on that bias if they have to struggle to read the evidence against him.



The new research, reported in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, is one of two studies to show that subtle manipulations that affect how people take in information can reduce political polarization. The other study, which explores attitudes toward a Muslim community center near the World Trade Center site, is described in a paper in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science.

By asking participants to read an overtly political argument about capital punishment in a challenging font, the researchers sought to disrupt participants' usual attitudes to the subject, said graduate student Ivan Hernandez, who led the capital punishment/mock trial study with University of Illinois psychology professor Jesse Preston.

The intervention worked. Liberals and conservatives who read the argument in an easy-to-read font were much more polarized on the subject than those who had to slog through the difficult version.

(video at link)

In a separate experiment, people were shown documents that praised or criticized the behavior of a defendant in a mock trial before they saw the (rather sketchy) evidence against him. As expected, those who read an unflattering account of the defendant's character were much more likely to convict him than those who read a more complimentary report. The two sides were far apart on their assessment of the evidence.

"But when people read a difficult-to-read summary of the evidence, then they became more moderate," Hernandez said. "Those with the positive impression suddenly thought maybe he could be guilty and gave more guilty verdicts than those who had read the evidence in a normal font. And the people who didn't like him started giving more not guilty verdicts relative to before."

The study is the first to use difficult-to-read materials to disrupt what researchers call the "confirmation bias," the tendency to selectively see only arguments that support what you already believe, Preston said. And it is the first to show that the intervention can moderate both deeply held political beliefs as well as newly formed biases, she said.

"Not only are people considering more the opposing point of view but they're also being more skeptical of their own because they're more critically engaging both sides of the argument," she said.

"We showed that if we can slow people down, if we can make them stop relying on their gut reaction – that feeling that they already know what something says – it can make them more moderate; it can have them start doubting their initial beliefs and start seeing the other side of the argument a little bit more," Hernandez said.

Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2012-11-difficult-to-read-font-political-polarity.html#jCp

http://uofisocialcognitionlab.x10.mx/Papers/Hernandez_Preston_2012.pdf


Essentially... You "get" (understand) what you "pay" (personal price) for.

Hi Carmody, are there any examples of this kind of font which is spoken about?

Stan

genevieve
4th November 2012, 18:43
I recently listened to an interview that took place in a very noisy venue, so noisy that at times I could barely hear what was being said.

I had to focus my attention in order to give meaning to the words that at times were just bits of sound. I got a lot out of the interview, more than I probably would have had it been "easy listening."

Perhaps needing to make sense of words printed in a difficult typeface is similar.


Peace Love Joy & Harmony,
Genevieve

Snoweagle
4th November 2012, 18:46
In summary; KISS - Keep It Simple Stupid.
What other solution could you possibly determine when considering type face for documents requiring discernment of meaning?
The article does not express evaluation for marketing or advertising fonts targeting core markets.

[ironically during the 80's was System Typographer at a printer that produced both parts A and B of this journal before it changed to a single journal. Fond memories.]

Flash
4th November 2012, 18:58
Yes snoweagle, sometimes just changing ONE word in a sentence will sway people away from what they would have thought otherswise, very well known in marketing, words are studied and balanced to have maximum impact, I mean real statistical study: if you use the word YOU instead of WE for example, TOGETHER, for selling product where the consumer has to be in action, NOW is a very well known word to sway people in one direction, etc.

Colors are also studied. In English Canada, blue will be perceived as quality and corporate like, bright red as low life, burgundy as more attention getter, while in Quebec, bright red will be perceived as attention getter (no pejorative thinking), burgundy as Federal government (not good) while blue is more tamed but corporate. In Quebec red is much more readily accepted by the consumer.

Then there is all those colors with their true natural impact of the psyche (not the psychologtical biaises from training) that are studied.

Swaying peoples mind in one direction is the specialisation of advertising isn't it?