Monday, March 2, 2009

So my senior year of High school is when I decided that psychology would be the pursuit I would dedicate my self to in college (and with any luck and a Ph.D) possibly beyond. I learned about all of the seminal experiments in psychology Milgrams study in obedience, Zimbardo's Prison study, the boring but interesting Ashe's conformity study, but the most fascinating was this study.

Two budding psychologists wanted to see if past experience one group would effect the decisions of another isolated group in the future. So using data crossword puzzles from the New York Times they saw how long it took people to finish the cross word when it first came out. Then with another group isolated they had them complete the same crossword puzzle and compared how long it took both groups to finish. Lo and behold the isolated group finished like 20% faster.

This fascinated me to no end. Solid empirically derived evidence of some greater force that binds us all (and allows those who don't keep up with the news to finish their crosswords faster). I always cursed myself for never remembering the names of the psychologists who conducted the study. I realize now that my teacher never mentioned them because the study was never conducted.

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