Chapter 4. Is it novel?

As you walk into the clinic waiting room, you can't help but feel like a human guinea pig. You immediately regret the decision to answer that UCL Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience ad in the paper ("... but Ma, the ad is so interesting and different, I can't get it out of my head! I feel compelled to take their study," you said. "Do what you want," she said, "but don't blame me if you come home thinking you're a goat."). You take a seat and pick up that May 1972 issue of Boys' Life that's calling your name from the table. A quick gander around the room finds a similarly regretful-looking group of what you can only assume are others who felt similarly compelled to take similar actions. Damn, that ad was so similarly compelling!

On a seemingly regular interval of time, a nurse steps through the swinging gateway door, butchers someone's name and leads them inside, the victim ... err ... study participant usually taking one last look behind in case they, too, come back through those doors craving the fresh taste of grass. Each, though, seemed to have emerged from the experiment decisively human and none the worse for wear. Almost happy (read: relieved). Then, Nurse Namebutcher calls your name (or a facsimile thereof) and you step through the doors and into the study room. Modest enough, the study room feels quite academic, outside of the fMRI scanner used to analyze your brain activity. You know, that old chestnut.

The study seemed harmless enough, and you really ...

Get Chasing the Monster Idea: The Marketer's Almanac for Predicting Idea Epicness now with the O’Reilly learning platform.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from nearly 200 publishers.