Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Don't Stand So Close To Me: Proximity Defines How We Think Of Contagion

Date:
June 13, 2009
Source:
Association for Psychological Science
Summary:
These results reveal that we tend to view products that are grouped close together as being "contagious." It appears that if one of the products has a prominent good or bad quality, we will see that quality as spreading among other objects which are close by, a phenomenon known as the "group-contagion effect."

We judge probability and make risk judgments all the time, such as when we try new products or consider which stocks to trade. It would seem that our decisions would be rational and based on concrete factors; however, we are not always so pragmatic.

Related Articles


Some judgments are not based solely on relevant information but can be influenced by subjective beliefs. For example, most of us would probably cringe at the thought of drinking a sugar solution that was labeled "sodium cyanide," even if we knew it was perfectly safe to drink.

According to new research by consumer psychologists Arul Mishra and Himanshu Mishra from the University of Utah and Dhananjay Nayakankuppam from the University of Iowa, something as mundane as how objects are grouped together can have a significant impact on the decisions we make.

Volunteers selected a mug from one of two groups. In one group, the wrapped-up mugs were spaced far apart, while in the other group they were closer together. Some of the volunteers were told that one of the mugs was defective while the other volunteers were told that one of the mugs contained a gift coupon.

The volunteers who were told that one of the mugs contained a gift coupon selected from the mugs which were close together. Conversely, the volunteers who were informed that one of the mugs was defective chose from the group of mugs that were spaced far apart.

The researchers then performed a follow-up experiment: volunteers had to choose among ketchup bottles (as before, the bottles were in two groups, close together or spaced farther apart). This time, some of the participants were told that either one or three of the bottles had defective lids, while the remaining participants were told that either one or three of the bottles contained gift coupons. It turns out that the volunteers who were told that three of the bottles had defective lids were the most likely to choose from the spaced apart group and the volunteers who thought that three of the bottles contained gift coupons were the most likely to choose from the closely spaced group.

These results, reported in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, reveal that we tend to view products that are grouped close together as being "contagious." It appears that if one of the products has a prominent good or bad quality, we will see that quality as spreading among other objects which are close by, a phenomenon known as the "group-contagion effect." As the authors noted, these findings suggest that people tend "to choose from groups of closely arranged products in the gain domain and from groups of widely spaced products in the loss domain."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Association for Psychological Science. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Mishra et al. The Group-Contagion Effect: The Influence of Spatial Groupings on Perceived Contagion and Preferences. Psychological Science, 2009; DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9280.2009.02371.x

Cite This Page:

Association for Psychological Science. "Don't Stand So Close To Me: Proximity Defines How We Think Of Contagion." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 June 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090612115537.htm>.
Association for Psychological Science. (2009, June 13). Don't Stand So Close To Me: Proximity Defines How We Think Of Contagion. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090612115537.htm
Association for Psychological Science. "Don't Stand So Close To Me: Proximity Defines How We Think Of Contagion." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090612115537.htm (accessed November 28, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Science & Society News

Friday, November 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Police Swoop on 80 Airports in Global Ticket Fraud Crackdown

Police Swoop on 80 Airports in Global Ticket Fraud Crackdown

AFP (Nov. 28, 2014) Police have arrested 118 people in an unprecedented globally-coordinated swoop on plane ticket credit card fraud, a billion-dollar organised crime industry, officials said Friday. Duration: 01:03 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Leaves Orphans Alone in Sierra Leone

Ebola Leaves Orphans Alone in Sierra Leone

AFP (Nov. 27, 2014) The Ebola epidemic sweeping Sierra Leone is having a profound effect on the country's children, many of whom have been left without any family members to support them. Duration: 01:02 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
EU Pushes Google For Worldwide Right To Be Forgotten

EU Pushes Google For Worldwide Right To Be Forgotten

Newsy (Nov. 27, 2014) Privacy regulators recommend Google expand its requested removals to apply to all its web domains. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Who Will Failed Nuclear Talks Hurt Most?

Who Will Failed Nuclear Talks Hurt Most?

Reuters - Business Video Online (Nov. 25, 2014) With no immediate prospect of sanctions relief for Iran, and no solid progress in negotiations with the West over the country's nuclear programme, Ciara Lee asks why talks have still not produced results and what a resolution would mean for both parties. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Science & Society

Business & Industry

Education & Learning

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins