CHAPTER 4

Same and Different

“If it’s familiar, it hasn’t eaten you yet,” is a quote I love from Drake Bennett of Bloomberg Businessweek. While we’re sharing, one of my favourite Hollywood stories is when Dan O’Bannon and Ronald Shusett, writers of the film Alien, pitched it to Hollywood studios simply as “Jaws in Space.”

We’re programmed to like what’s familiar to us purely because it’s not a risk to us. Back in the 1960s, Robert Zajonc’s experiments uncovered what we now call the Mere Exposure Effect – meaning that the number of times we are exposed to certain stimuli positively influences our preferences for those stimuli. Other landmark studies have shown that when people are faced with a choice between two gambles, they will pick the more ...

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