Read the paragraph below out loud, you may feel a bit silly but you will be amazed at how your brain skips over the jumbled mess and makes total and immediate sense of what you are reading. Don’t try too hard, the more relaxed (and easy to con trol you are the better!)
It’s amazing how your brain can misinterpret information, or even fill in the blanks where information is missing, misleading, non existent or even totally false! (Read more about the misinformation effect at wikipedia)
The jumbled text image above is a jaw-dropping example of how incredibly easily we can take what we read or experience and adjust it to suit how our brains work, no matter how non-sensical!
The speed at which we all have to process information these days is faster now than ever and the time we have to do it in is getting smaller constantly, the affects of which are something that I demostrate in schools workshops usually greeted with suprised expressions. The choices we make tend to be hugely influenced by the amount of time we have in which to make them and while this is a factor of modern life it also indicates an area where we need to slow down sometimes and make a broader and more informed conclusion to avoid being manipulated and con troled.
Particularly in the current financial climate, businesses are constantly bidding for all our attention and a lot of them will go to complex and sometimes mind scrambling lengths to influence the direction that we choose to spend our precious time and cash.
Some companies will go to any lengths to affect our decisions to buy products or process information in the way they want us to. Several years ago “Blipverts” or subliminal messages were used in experiments with the general public to see if their decisions could be affected. The Blipverts themselves were tiny one frame images that contained information suggesting we buy more popcorn or a particular soft drink, that were dropped almost invisibly into other regular programmes. It was ultimately decided that this kind of subliminal information was too unfair on the consumer and shortly after use of the “Blipvert” was banned.
It’s a classic old school con artist trick to bombard the onlooker with so much information that their subconscious becomes con fused, information con tradicts and questions our current beliefs and we can end up not knowing quite what to make of what we are presented with, especially in the area of sales and promotion and Television adverts.
We can also take advantage of this knowledge should we choose to and turn it around to serve us also in the design work we do ourselves!
After a recent enquiry by a student asking “Is that really Jabba the Hutt?” with a look of extreme disbelief on his face(See Bob Keen joins Easy Art Pro post) and as an example of how all of us can be con trolled and have our belief systems questioned, I’m starting an experiment using myself as a guinea pig, aptly named “Con Artist” with several schools and academies within the region to test the student’s and teacher’s powers of intuition, time/ decision management and ease of influence, and I will be posting several articles about me and my activities online ranging in information that is simple to the more complex, both true and false, straight forward to the bizarre and extreme, to see just how gullible we can all be!
Results from these con trolled studies and data on opinions formed as a result will be carefully collated and the results posted in the near future. It will be interesting to see how quickly we can all be capable of assimilating mis-information on the spur of the moment. I look forward to you finding any of these “mis-information bites” and letting me know what they made you think or believe!
(Did you know that the word gullible is not listed in the most comprehensive version of the Oxford English Dictionary! True!)
Richard Allport 2010
www.easyartpro.com, www.richardallport.com, www.fruitbrush.co.uk