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Placebic Information and Mindlessness

Placebic Information and Mindlessness

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Placebic Information and Mindlessness

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  1. Placebic Information and Mindlessness Langer et al. (1978) demonstrated how meaningless information that follows the pragmatic rule of giving a reason may lead to mindless action. The experimenter waited at a copy machine. In these times, copy machines were slow, one could copy only one page at a time and then take it off the glass and put the new page on. Contributor © POSbase 2008

  2. Placebic Information and Mindlessness When a person at the copy machine wanted to begin to copy, the experimenter approached this person. The experimenter asked always the same question, but in three different forms. Moreover, the experimenter asked for copying either 5 pages, which could be done in a short time, or to copy 20 pages, which lasted a long time with the old xerox machines. © POSbase 2008

  3. Placebic Information and Mindlessness Here the three conditions: 1. Request only. "Excuse me, I have 5 (20) pages. May I use the xerox machine?" 2. Placebic information. "Excuse me, I have 5 (20) pages. May I use the xerox machine, because I have to make copies?" 3. Real information. "Excuse me, I have 5 (20) pages. May I use the xerox machine, because I'm in a rush?" © POSbase 2008

  4. Placebic Information and Mindlessness Percentage of participants who agreed that the experimenter may use the copy machine: _____________________________________ 5 20 copies_____________________________________ Request only 60% 24% Placebic information 93% 24% Real information 94% 42%_____________________________________ © POSbase 2008

  5. Placebic Information and Mindlessness Suprisingly, giving meaningless information, like “May I use the xerox machine, because I have to make copies?”, had the same effect as giving meaningful information, like “because I'm in a rush”. Just giving a reason – even if it meaningless – makes the request more successful than giving no reason. However, if the request is big, people begin to think – the request did not work when 20 copies were at stake. © POSbase 2008