Choice Irrationalities

There was a great Analysis programme on radio 4 last night: The Economy on the Couch which was about behavioural economics, neuroeconomics (whatever that is) and ways in which we fail to act like the rational agents that standard economic theory supposes us to be

One irrationality- a human frailty for fairness- is revealed by a thing called the Ultimatum Game. The Ultimatum Game works like this. I am offered some money, say £100, on the condition that I share it with you. I get to decide the split, and you get to say if you accept it or not. If you accept, we get the money in the proportions I determined, if you reject my split then neither of us gets anything. So what would you do if I offered £1 to you, leaving me with the other ninety-nine?

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Tom

Hello. And I’m Tom Stafford, the other author of the book. While I was doing my degree and PhD I kept notes on lots of funny little things in psychology and neuroscience, although I never really knew why I was doing it. Then along came Matt and the idea for the book, and I had a place for many of the things I’d jackdawed over the years. But they were just enough to get us going. The rest of Mind Hacks me and Matt discovered during our Summer of Book – and that was a hell of a ride I can tell you. All summer we kept finding out new exciting things, and we knew that we’d only have time or space for a fraction in the book. Hopefully some of them will end up on this weblog, along with other things out there that we missed. There’s also room for all the discussions we didn’t have in the book, about all the wider issues raised by this stuff, and especially about different implementations of the hacks we suggested. I’m looking forward to finding out some more cool things and having some cool conversations on mindhacks.com…I hope you’ll join us.

Hack 101: Make Eyes (or Anything) in Pictures Follow You Round The Room

The eyes of some pictures seem to follow you around the room, like those of the famous WWI recruitment poster which helped garner almost 3 million volunteers in two years:

kitchener.jpg

Try it. Get up and look at your screen from the side. Is he still looking at you? He should be.

Recently published research in the journal Perception [1] discusses how this effect works. The story was covered in the press (e.g. here). Turned around into a ‘how to’ rather than a simple ‘explanation’ it’s perfect material for a hack. I saw it too late to include in the book so I’m putting it here.

So here we go: How can you design pictures of faces with eyes that will follow you round the room?

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