Most of us have seen hidden-camera tricks where some unwitting subject raves about what they are eating because they have been told it’s a certain brand or from a well-regarded restaurant, only to find out it’s a generic frozen dinner from the supermarket. What if these people aren’t necessarily pretending to like the food? A new study shows that brands may make us so predisposed to an opinion that we don’t use the part of our brain that helps to make such judgements. [More]
On her Etsy profile, Sarah writes that she makes sculpted jewelry in her Toronto apartment. Her pieces are cute, like cookie-shaped rings, and creepy-cute, like cufflinks shaped like anatomical hearts. But one of her signature pieces is a set of heart-shaped “best friends” necklaces with the texture of green brains. It’s creepily adorable, and a best-seller. Apparently national chain Hot Topic agrees, since they happen to be selling a very similar design. [More]
According to a lawsuit filed in New Mexico State District Court in Albuquerque, a woman’s brain was returned to her family in a bag of personal effects. [More]
Forget the bulls and bears. According to a recent news report, anthropologists are looking at a different group of animals for hints about how our “investor brains” evolved. Monkeys are the worst, as they get “easily excited at the next big investment opportunity in hopes of making a killing. Not much thought goes into what they do.” We assume anyone involved in flipping condos or speculating on dot-com stocks would qualify as a monkey.
Self-identified rational people take pride in the fact that they can’t be easily manipulated, but of course that’s the pride part of their dumb monkey brains talking. Here’s an interesting study that measured whether hard-to-pronounce words were perceived as riskier than words that were easier to pronounce—in this case, by comparing fake additives in food and asking which ones were more likely to be harmful.
UPDATE: This is probably deep-fried small intestine, according to commenters, for some of whom finding this in their KFC is apparently a common occurrence. [More]
Corporations are learning about the way our brains respond to advertising, and they’re finding out that they don’t work the way we think they do. And that’s just the way the advertisers want it.
In Clue to Addiction, Brain Injury Halts Smoking [NYT]
We are a definitely a tightwad, but what does that mean, really? That we avoid buying things, even if we know we need them? That we still don’t own a microwave? What’s wrong with us? The New York Times has the answer, via Stanford and Carnegie Mellon Universities.