Experience-taking phenomenon

When you “lose yourself” inside the world of a fictional character while reading a story, you may actually end up changing your own behavior and thoughts to match that of the character, a new study suggests.

Researchers at Ohio State University examined what happened to people who, while reading a fictional story, found themselves feeling the emotions, thoughts, beliefs and internal responses of one of the characters as if they were their own – a phenomenon the researchers call “experience-taking.”

They found that, in the right situations, experience-taking may lead to real changes, if only temporary, in the lives of readers.

In one experiment, for example, the researchers found that people who strongly identified with a fictional character who overcame obstacles to vote were significantly more likely to vote in a real election several days later.

“Experience-taking can be a powerful way to change our behavior and thoughts in meaningful and beneficial ways,” said Lisa Libby, co-author of the study and assistant professor of psychology at Ohio State University.

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Collapse of the Deep Water Horizon

The Deepwater Horizon drilling rig explosion refers to the April 20, 2010 explosion and subsequent fire on the Deepwater Horizon semi-submersible Mobile Offshore Drilling Unit (MODU), which was owned and operated by Transocean and drilling for BP in the Macondo Prospect oil field about 40 miles (60 km) southeast of the Louisiana coast. The explosion killed 11 workers and injured 16 others; another 99 people survived without serious physical injury. It caused the Deepwater Horizon to burn and sink, and started a massive offshore oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico; this environmental disaster is now considered the second largest in U.S. history, behind the Dust Bowl.

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At the end of the day, a cheesy salesman/insurance company just wants to get your money.

Recently my wife was offered an insurance policy. Since the offering was quite lucrative, we manage to sit down with the insurance salesman (a.k.a insurance advisor) on getting some good deal for my wife. Plus, we agreed to pay a good money per month for the policy.

The insurance salesman submitted our application, only to come back saying that our deal was rejected, due to some policy/company rules. Instead, the insurance company suggested that we take another package, which is quite inferior compared with the one we curated earlier.

In rebuttal, I told the insurance company that we are rejecting their offer.

The salesman came back to convince us that we can’t sustain the initial offering due to my wife’s health history, though we mentioned the condition earlier (and he was quite keen that those were minor). Then the salesman went on praising how powerful their underwriter on deciding which package a customer eligible and not.

He went on and on with the stories regarding medical underwriters, in which it can be hypothesized that a potential customer shall be annoyed.

I told the salesman,

Mind you, some of the underwriters are not that keen to be underwriters. Some of them were our known friends, just trying to make sure the end meets. They are not powerful, they are just doing their job. Their salary is not that large as yours. No need to bad-mouth and shift the burden to them if you can’t keep your promise.

We rejected the revised offer, because I don’t trust these guys. But finally I found other advisor/insurance company that convinced me that their ethics are good and trustable.

Moral of the story is, as a customer, you have the power to say no. At the end of the day, a cheesy salesman/insurance company just want to get your money.