1. President Obama's re-election campaign raised $690 million from email requests. Which subject line generated the best response? A) Chance to donate to President Obama's campaign B) Opportunity to donate to President Obama's campaign C) Hey D) Request
C) Hey. The campaign team experimented with a wide variety of styles. Toby Falsgraff, the campaign's email director reports that readers were more willing to open and respond to emails that were like those they received from friends and colleagues. Emails using formal corporate-speak were the least successful. 'Hey' might be a bit casual for us, but maybe some of us could lighten up a bit - especially in letters.
2. Bond is away making movies and you need a new secret agent. Which of these candidates is most likely to do the job well? A) A grandmother with a military background B) A psychopath C) A journalist D) A teacher
B) A psychopath. Don't think Hannibal Lecter. Many people who score high on tests of psychopathic personality traits are law-abiding, honest citizens. They can also be fearless, cold-blooded, manipulating, untroubled by conscience and full of superficial charm. Sound like any of the secret agents you know?
3. What are aglets? A) Free radicals by another name B) Handles on spa pool covers C) Those plastic bits on the tips of shoelaces
C) Those plastic bits on the tips of shoelaces Yahoo! has a discussion going on the role of aglets and whether they might be the greatest invention ever. If you think that maybe the computer should rank higher, cut off your aglets and try threading the laces. (We're just putting it out there.)
4. Grandpa wants to keep his mind alert. What’s the best advice? A) Join an old-time dance class B) Read the newspaper regularly C) Learn a foreign language D) Keep soft things handy so that he can throw them at the television
C) Learn a foreign language . None of the others would give his brain as much stimulation. Our brains need to keep learning new tricks to strengthen the connections between neurons. Okay, so you know he will hate the language idea? Suggest Ceroc dancing, but not Foxtrot.
5. You want to make sure that your wallet or purse is returned if you drop it in the street. Choose the best strategy. A) Add a photo of a puppy B) Add a photo of a baby C) Add a photo of a contented elderly couple
B) Add a photo of a baby. Professor Richard Wiseman from the University of Hertfordshire tested all those choices and more. 88% of the wallets containing a picture of a baby made their way back to their owners.The others weren’t even close. Apparently photos of babies make us come over all squishy and nice.
6. You are in a contest to be president of your sports club. You’ve decided against using an old photo of yourself in your flyer, but you have one of the clubhouse. Should you include it? Yes/No
Yes. It’s irrelevant to your argument that you are the best candidate, but it will still help you. An international study (including the Victoria University of Wellington) is the latest to show that images help us make a decision. That help encourages us to think the message is more credible, even if the picture doesn’t provide any evidence. Bizarre.
7. The kids enjoyed working in the garden with you and you would like them to spend more time there. What's the best way to encourage them to become gardeners? A) Invite them to join you next time B) Pay them 20c an hour hour C) Pay them $5.00 an hour.
A) Invite them to join you next time. Research since the late 1950s has revealed that if we do something for no reward, we’re more likely to believe it’s enjoyable. Even the miserly 20 cents an hour should work better than the five dollar reward in the long run.
Takeaway point: if your colleagues are enjoying a task or project, you won't motivate them more by rewarding them. Instead, they’ll think they’re just doing it for the money or time off.
If you want to impress your chief exec: you'd be using cognitive dissonance to keep them motivated.