ScienceDaily Week by Guy Kawasaki

ScienceDaily Last week, Guy Kawasaki ran a series of posts that highlighted choice bits from ScienceDaily. This online magazine (ezine?) aims to be The Source for the latest research news in science, technology, and medicine, by including stories “submitted by leading universities and other research organizations around the world.” Guy notes that their studies have implications on business practices as well.

So with that, Guy highlights:

Which is more effective: bonuses or raises?

For example, have you ever wondered whether giving employees a pay-for-performance bonus or a merit raise fosters greater productivity? According to this “Bonuses Boost Performance 10 Times More Than Merit Raises” in Science Daily which pointed to a Cornell study called “Using Your Pay System to Improve Employees’ Performance: How You Pay Makes a Difference” by Dr. Michael C. Sturman, a bonus yields far better results.

Interesting! Same probably goes for commission-based compensation too.

Hype Kills

…assistant professor Vanessa Patrick (University of Georgia) [and] co-authors Debbie MacInnis and C. Whan Park (University of Southern California) [published the study] “Marketing: Too Much Hype Backfires.” The study shows that “people take notice when they feel worse than they thought they would, but—oddly—not when they feel better than expected.”

This supports the old adage that people tell five others about a bad experience but only one about a good experience (“negative evangelism”?). Thus, it sure looks like “under promising and over delivering” is the way to go.

It’s well-known that losing something creates a stronger emotion than winning something, so I guess human beings are wired to feel negative emotions moreso than positive emotions?

Advertising and Sexy Content

…advertising during television programs with sexy content is less effective than during programs with no sexy content. This is the research finding of Ellie Parker and Adrian Furnham of the Department of Psychology of the University College London.

To quote Robin Williams: “God gave you a penis and a brain, and only enough blood to run one at a time.” So when you’re watching that sexy content, your brain isn’t going to be remembering a damn thing.

Here’s a three-fer

  1. Researchers at the University of Oregon found that when people watch someone perform a task that they know they’ll have to repeat later, similar parts of the brain are activated that are used doing the the task itself. The source is “Watching With Intent To Repeat Ignites Key Learning Area of Brain.”
  2. An article called “Subliminal Advertising Leaves Its Mark On the Brain” cites how researchers at University College London found that subliminal images attract the brain’s attention on a subconscious level. An implication is that subliminal advertising could work. That is, of course, assuming you don’t Tivo past the ads.
  3. Seeing the color red can hinder people from performing their best on tests. This is the conclusion of a study called Research On the Color Red Shows Definite Impact On Achievement” at the University of Rochester.

So our brain is like a sponge, absorbing not just the spilled milk, but all the dust and gunk on the floor too, for better or worse. Great.

Author: Mike Lee

An idealistic realist, humanistic technologist & constant student.