Monday, January 04, 2010

The Barry Manilow t-shirt experiment


Via the WSJ: "maybe we worry too much about what others think. A Cornell study of the psychology of embarrassment—which I like to think of as the Barry Manilow T-shirt experiment —suggests as much. Subjects were required to enter a room wearing a T-shirt featuring a large picture of Mr. Manilow, the crooner whose hits may induce as much wincing as swooning. Although 50% of the T-shirted subjects were self-conscious about what they were wearing, only 20% of the people in the room even noticed it. This experiment yielded the reassuring result that individuals are more aware of their gaffes—from flubbing an answer at an interview to having a bad hair day—than most of the people observing or talking to them."