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HEDONIC PRIMNG

March 22nd, 2021

 

“It’s so amazing, you just have to see it.” 

 

In the age of constant novelty and entertainment, the good recommendation is both highly sought after and a superpower that is nearly equally pleasurable to dispense.  Though, how many times does something highly recommended turn out to be a bit of a let down?

 

The recommendation we give often rolls out with the emotional resonance of our total reaction to the film or book, or restaurant meal.  Of course, this creates a disconnect that we rarely think about: before venturing into the experience, did we have the same expectations that we now create in another when we gush hyperbolically about the value of this or that experience?

 

So what is the result when we prime a friend with the idea that something is so so good?  We create an expectation and now for the film or book or meal to have the same effect it now has to exceed that expectation in the same way it did for our own self, when perhaps we had no expectation at all.  This most likely sets a person up for disappointment. 

 

We have a cute little paradox: how do we make enough of an impression to convince someone to have the experience without ruining the effect?

 

The solution hides in the fact that less is more, and mystery and the creation of curiosity and wonder requires a lack of information as opposed to an abundance of it. 

 

A simple recommendation to not pass on something carries all the conviction of an extravagant suggestion but keeps the slate of expectation blank, leaving others to have their own genuine reaction.


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Podcast Ep. 1072: Hedonic Primng

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