[Book Dork] Blink by Malcolm Gladwell

(excerpt)

I . Primed for Action

Imagine I am a professor, Ive asked you to come to my office. You walk down a long corridor, come through the doorway, and sit down at the table. In front of you is a sheet of paper with a list of five word sets. I want you to make a grammatical four word sentence as quick as possible. Its called a Scrambled Sentence Test. Ready?

01. him was worried she always
02. from Florida are oranges temperature
03. ball the throw toss silently
04. shoes give replace the old
05. he observes occationally people watches
06. be will sweat lonely they
07. sky seamless gray is
08. should now withdraw forgetful we
09. us bingo sing play let
10. sunlight makes temperature wrinkle raisins

That seemed straight forward right? Actually it wasnt. After you finished the test – believe it or not- you have walked out of my office and back down the hall more slowly than you walked in. With that test, I affected the way you behaved . How well look back at the list. Scattered throughout it are certain words such as, “worried” , “Florida”, “old”, “lonely”, “gray”, “bingo”, and “wrinkle”. You thought I was just making you a language test. But in fact what I was doing was making the big computer in your brain – your adaptive unconscious- think about the state of being old. It did not inform the rest of your brain of your recent obsession. But it took all this talk of old age so seriously by the time you finished and walked down the corridor, you acted old. You walked slowly.

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