Micah Johnson

Graphic design + production specialist currently working in architectural graphics, exhibits, print and web.Website: http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=62517871

We Are 80% Optimistic

Gallagher, James, (2011). “Brain ‘rejects negative thoughts’.”  BBC.co.uk. Visited on October 8, 2012: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-15214080 This article, “Brain ‘rejects negative thoughts’”, speaks of a generalized view of the brain based on evidence gathered from a wide population. Optimists, or those whose frontal lobes process good news and comparatively ignore bad news, make up about 80% of the population; while the remaining 20%, the pessimists, have a similar predisposition to bad news. Since optimists do not absorb bad news, risks are often underestimated; as a population, it can be generalized to say that the people respond more to good news than to bad. Conceptual Design: If risks are to be acknowledged and people’s views changed to reflect them, information regarding them should be emphasized. Information with positive effect will be more attractive, and need not be emphasized for message to be processed. Knowledge of this could be particularly useful in government. Knowing this, in sales, information may be designed which downplays risks, and emphasizes positive attributes, for maximum acceptance of the product in a general population. Furthermore, a population whose predilection is to pessimism could be acknowledged with information products designed specifically for them. Interaction Design: Elements of the product may be…

RE: Perfectionism May Not Be Optimum

Tugend, A., (2011). “It’s Just Fine to Make Mistakes.” NYTimes.com. Visited on October 8, 2012: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/12/your-money/12shortcuts.html Experiment: A study was conducted comparing the productive abilities of participants testing high and low in “perfectionism”. The task was to rephrase a passage without interpretation for a panel of judges who were unaware of the status of the participants. The Outcome: Those rating high in perfectionism were judged to have passages “significantly poorer in quality”. This surprising finding can be attributed to a shortened process of learning in perfectionists, due to fear of failure and the loss of respect should a mistake be found. This isolation from feedback inhibits development. Additionally, the stress of perfectionism can be psychologically detrimental, further inhibiting learning especially in the face of failure. Interaction Design: For products with a high learning curve, built-in feedback could be considered when the product is not used as designed, and alternately when ideal conditions of usage are met. This would perhaps encourage experimentation and calibrate use. Interface Design: Friendly tone or customizable interface might also help to attract continued use. This could give perfectionists and non-perfectionists a positive working arena.

RE: Preloading and The Above-Average Effect

Valdesolo, P. (2010). “Flattery Will Get You Far.” ScientificAmerican.com. Visited on October 8, 2012: http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=flattery-will-get-you-far A study suggests that flattery is effective, illustrating that even obviously manipulative comments play into the an individual’s high self-regard, affecting later behavior. This phenomenon, called the above-average effect, can be found for example in advertising. When a person views an advertisement showing an exaggerated response to a product’s use, their response in the aisle when making a choice, is measurably swayed. Sunlight, breezes, and smiling people in light sweaters walking through green pastures create a positive impression we remember when buying liquid laundry detergent of a certain brand, even if we know there is little rational correlation. Conceptual Design: The principle of the above-average effect could be used strategically. Research into a population’s background might give a picture of how to articulate a product; or, similarly, the idea of preloading expectations through associations in a programmed environment could be used to aim a particular audiences preferences or choices, or make rational jumps easier when transitioning from one experience to another. Interaction Design: “I want to be special!” Letting the user interact and uniquely configure their use of the product. Research into cultural background should be…