What’s Memorable

Writing about how we choose brings to mind other research about decision-making. Not only do we take the choice that’s framed positively: we avoid risks except when it comes to our own sense of vulnerability.

So, while we think we may hold the winning lottery ticket we also think we won’t get AIDS, catch a cold or become pregnant like others will. We think we’re luckier than other folks.

People who study choices and risks also find some interesting human quirks. For example, we remember stories better than numbers. So when someone says that numbers are cold, she’s probably right. And they’re too cold to hang on to, mentally anyway. So how we remember things can also influence choices that we make.

Advertisers hope you remember their product and find ways to link your memory with their toilet paper, tuna fish or toothpaste.

We also remember things that occurred recently: it even has a name, the recency heuristic. And we remember stuff that’s vivid rather than dull.
And we remember something that stands out from the crowd: the unusual and unique.

This morning I thought about the myriad gowns women wore at the Oscar ceremonies last evening and all I could remember was the outfit Diane Keaton wore in 2003. A tuxedo and bowler hat.


About Cynthia Coleman Emery

Professor and researcher at Portland State University who studies science communication, particularly issues that impact American Indians. Dr. Coleman is an enrolled citizen of the Osage Nation.
This entry was posted in authenticity, framing, health, risk, science, science communication. Bookmark the permalink.

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