Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Flying at You or Away from You

     We have negative reactions to anything moving toward us, according to a recent study, no matter how harmless it really is. Behavioral scientists at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business, along with helpers at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, asked whether we feel differently about things that are moving toward us or away from us or not moving at all. Research done previously had shown that whether an object is near or far can affect our emotional response to the object. So it kind of makes sense that if something’s moving from one distance to another might matter as well. 
     They came up with an experiment. Participants watched a video of random letters coming towards them, away from them and standing still. After the video they would rate how they felt about the way the video made them feel. As silly as they may have felt passing judgment on a consonant or vowel, the results weren't random: letters moving closer to the subjects were rated more negatively than those moving away or staying still.
     None of this is useful for avoiding a actual threat, but it might provide helpful facts about interacting with other people around us. When we’re giving a speech or lectures, if we move towards the audience might hurt how we are perceived. Charging up to a stranger at a party may not be the best way to make a good impression. In TV commercials, products that come flying toward the viewer onscreen might be a harder sell. All this is useful to help us understand the way we perceive the world.

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