According to the German Association for Information Technology, Telecommunications and New Media (BITKOM), 34.4 billion SMS have been sent in Germany in 2009.
This means that each German has typed an average of 420 short text messages into their mobile. The potential consequences of sending SMS messages on a regular basis has been examined by Dr. Sascha Topolinski, psychologist in Würzburg – but from a surprising angle. The results of his work have now been published by Psychological Science.
„We have found out in previous psychological tests that people performing a specific action are aware of the consequences even before they perform that action - although they may not realize it“, says Topolinski. So someone who intends to press a light switch has already an unconscious idea of the light going on.
By itself, this does not yet sound very exciting. But: “What is interesting about it is the fact that we unconsciously anticipate the consequences of actions even if they cannot occur at all, for instance because the light switch doesn’t work and therefore the light cannot go on”, continues Topolinski. And what has that got to do with mobiles, SMS messages and phone number? More than one would expect, as Dr. Topolinski has found out in his experiments.
First Test: Is It Pleasant to Dial This Number?
“Please dial number 54323.” This was Dr. Topolinski’s instruction to his test subjects. A second group was instructed to type the digit string 534243 into a mobile. Both groups had been given mobiles with buttons showing only digits, and not – like commercial devices – also the letters needed for typing an SMS. Afterwards, the test subjects were asked whether it had been pleasant for them to dial the respective numbers. What they did not know was: In an SMS, typing the buttons 54323 produces “Liebe” [love], whereas typing the buttons 534243 results in the word “Leiche” [corpse].
“Actually, the test subjects preferred phone numbers that correspond to pleasant words over those associated with unpleasant words”, says Topolinski – and that although they were not at all aware that the buttons for dialing those phone numbers produced such words.
The Brain Knows It AllPsychologists take this result as a proof that people actually anticipate the effects of their actions on an unconscious level. “The brain has learnt that pressing a button on a mobile can produce both a number and a letter”, says Topolinski. As a result, the brain anticipates not only the digits when dialing a number but also the associated letters. Dialing the digit 2, for instance, would mentally activate the letters A, B and C. And what’s more: Typing a phone number into a mobile apparently activates in the brain - on an unconscious level - whole words, provided that the buttons for dialing the phone number are pressed in the same sequence as for a specific word when writing an SMS.
Depending on whether that word has a pleasant (love) or an unpleasant connotation (corpse), the person calling will find them more or less pleasant to type.
Second Test: Calling a Dating Agency
In a second experiment, Topolinski made the test subjects call certain service providers – such as a dating agency, a real estate office or a financial consultant. What the participants did not know was: The phone numbers of these service providers had a sequence of digits corresponding to a word which either fitted the business or not. For instance, the dating agency had either the phone number 54323 (“Liebe” - love) or 72528 (“Salat” - salad). After the call, during which only a taped message was played, the test subjects were asked to comment how attractive they had found that business.
Result: “Test subjects always found businesses more attractive if their phone number produced in SMS mode a word that fitted the business”, says Topolinski.
This was even true for negative words: Undertakers whose phone number was 534243 - in SMS mode this sequence produces “Leiche” [corpse] achieved higher attractivity ratings than undertakers whose number produced some other, irrelevant word.
It Is Relevant for Business, Too
198 test subjects have participated in Sascha Topolinski’s experiments. He thinks that in addition to their scientific relevance, the results could also be of interest for businesses. They suggest, after all, that business people should pay close attention to the phone number under which they can be contacted. A jeweller with the number 278662436 should not be too surprised if no one ever calls.
“I 5683 You : Dialing Phone Numbers on Cell Phones Activates Key-Concordant Concepts”, Sascha Topolinski, Psychological Science, DOI: 10.1177/0956797610397668.
Contact: Dr. Sascha Topolinski, T: (0931) 31-82285, E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Gunnar Bartsch | idw
Powerful IT security for the car of the future – research alliance develops new approaches
25.05.2018 | Universität Ulm
Supercomputing the emergence of material behavior
18.05.2018 | University of Texas at Austin, Texas Advanced Computing Center
The more electronics steer, accelerate and brake cars, the more important it is to protect them against cyber-attacks. That is why 15 partners from industry and academia will work together over the next three years on new approaches to IT security in self-driving cars. The joint project goes by the name Security For Connected, Autonomous Cars (SecForCARs) and has funding of €7.2 million from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. Infineon is leading the project.
Vehicles already offer diverse communication interfaces and more and more automated functions, such as distance and lane-keeping assist systems. At the same...
A research team led by physicists at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has developed molecular nanoswitches that can be toggled between two structurally different states using an applied voltage. They can serve as the basis for a pioneering class of devices that could replace silicon-based components with organic molecules.
The development of new electronic technologies drives the incessant reduction of functional component sizes. In the context of an international collaborative...
At the LASYS 2018, from June 5th to 7th, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) will be showcasing processes for the laser material processing of tomorrow in hall 4 at stand 4E75. With blown bomb shells the LZH will present first results of a research project on civil security.
At this year's LASYS, the LZH will exhibit light-based processes such as cutting, welding, ablation and structuring as well as additive manufacturing for...
There are videos on the internet that can make one marvel at technology. For example, a smartphone is casually bent around the arm or a thin-film display is rolled in all directions and with almost every diameter. From the user's point of view, this looks fantastic. From a professional point of view, however, the question arises: Is that already possible?
At Display Week 2018, scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP will be demonstrating today’s technological possibilities and...
So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics
Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...
25.05.2018 | Event News
02.05.2018 | Event News
13.04.2018 | Event News
25.05.2018 | Event News
25.05.2018 | Machine Engineering
25.05.2018 | Life Sciences