Bizarre, but is it? – II

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To proceed with our thread, why is it that the jewels that could not be sold cheap were picked up as hot cakes when they were doubly priced? How was the misunderstanding of an assistant who read 1/2 as 2 create such a phenomenon?

To explain this bizarre behaviour of the masses, let’s just digress for a minute into ethology, the lesser known science of the study of animals in their natural habitat. Consider the bird Turkey. Now, this bird is well known for its mothering instincts. When it hatches, it spends practically every minute in taking care of its kids. Now such love, we would assume is unconditional and natural for any mother. But it seems to be a ‘No’!

There are certain triggers that have to be switched on for the Turkey to cuddle its kids. And the most powerful trigger  is the “cheep cheep” sound the baby turkey makes.

You know that in the animal kingdom especially the carnivorous type, every animal has its arch enemy. You see, no one likes to be lunch or dinner to some one else. For the turkey, it is the polecat. The moment a polecat comes in the vicinity of the Turkey, it goes crazily aggressive. It exhibits the same behavior of going all out to battle, even if it were shown a stuffed polecat toy!

Now a mischievous scientist gets the idea to implant a polecat’s sound inside a toy of baby turkey. Ans again the voice of a baby turkey, ‘cheep cheep’ inside a stuffed polecat baby.

Would you believe, the mother turkey, as if in automation, took to cuddling and mothering the pole cat just because it had the voice of a baby turkey and tore the actual baby turkey toy into pieces just because it sounded like the pole cat? The behaviour reversed 180 degrees when the voices were switched off and the originals played.

Talk about being a bio-robot!! The trigger for the automated behaviour in this case was the voice. Now coming to the behavior of human beings, the latest researches seem to point out that we may not be as free-willed as we believe ourselves to be. While we are free in some behaviors, many times we too respond to certain mechanical  pre-wired programs. A trigger goes ‘click’ in our brain. And we go ‘Whirr..’ ! Out rolls the standard sequence of behaviors.

Now coming back  to our original story, the behavior of buying expensive things is the result of one such program that controls a major part of humanity. That is “expensive = good”. That “price” alone triggered the people to make an assumption that indeed, the jewels must be good quality.  “Price” alone created demand. And the buyers were lulled into buying the goods in a dramatic increase of sales. They did not weigh their jewels on any other parameter.

The human brain functions in many automated mechanical behaviours. Simply because it cannot afford to evaluate every piece of information that it is bombarded with in a every day basis. So it produces the short cuts and after a time they become robotic though we have an illusion that we are free-willed. While this aids us, it also does not work with every time. Some time we fail to see things that stare straight in our faces and see only what we are programmed to see. Advertisements and marketing make use of this blindness against our good.

On important things like – buying / selling, relationships, choices and decisions, it would do great bit of help if we will choose to educate ourselves on the automated behavior patterns that guide us. They might help us choose to respond consciously to situations instead of the automatic-stimulus-trigger response.

They might help save us from being ripped out of our wallets, unnecessary tears in relationships and from crucifying our own self.

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