Chapter 5. One man’s goose...

Two people can see or hear the same event, but their interpretation of it can be as different as night and day, depending on how the message “speaks” to their brains and what they thought they were going to see. A recent study illustrates the power of expectations. Kids ages 3 to 5 who ate McDonald’s French fries served in a McDonald’s bag overwhelmingly thought they tasted better than those who ate the same fries out of a plain white bag. Even carrots tasted better when they came out of a McDonald’s bag—more than half the kids preferred them to the same carrots served in a plain package! Ronald would be proud.[8]

The meaning we assign to a stimulus depends on the schema, or set of beliefs, to which we assign it. In ...

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