Posts tagged “david mcraney”

What did you expect?

‘You Are Not So Smart’: Why We Can’t Tell Good Wine From Bad [] – In this excerpt from his book, David McRaney cites research suggesting that expectations are as critical as sensation in how we judge and gauge experience. If we expect that a wine will be high-quality, this will not only inform, but over-ride the actual experience of that wine. This has potential implications on how we talk to people about products and services in our research, relying more heavily on expectations as a lens to consider experience.

So is the fancy world of wine tasting all pretentious bunk? Not exactly. The wine tasters in the experiments were being influenced by the nasty beast of expectation. A wine expert’s objectivity and powers of taste under normal circumstance might be amazing, but Brochet’s manipulations of the environment misled his subjects enough to dampen their acumen. An expert’s own expectation can act like Kryptonite on their superpowers. Expectation, as it turns out, is just as important as raw sensation. The build up to an experience can completely change how you interpret the information reaching your brain from your otherwise objective senses. In psychology, true objectivity is pretty much considered to be impossible. Memories, emotions, conditioning, and all sorts of other mental flotsam taint every new experience you gain. In addition to all this, your expectations powerfully influence the final vote in your head over what you believe to be reality. So, when tasting a wine, or watching a movie, or going on a date, or listening to a new stereo through $300 audio cables — some of what you experience comes from within and some comes from without.


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