Thursday, January 14, 2010

How to Brag, and Why don't all theaters let you buy assigned seats?

Another link:
The argument is that deciding when to show up for a movie is an all-pay auction for good seats (you choose when to show up and everyone wastes the amount of time between when they show up and when the movie starts, regardless of whether you "win" by getting a good seat). Movie theaters can capitalize on this because you'll be sitting there anyway, so they can show you ads. If they let you assign seats, you'd arrive later, and it's unlikely you'd be willing to pay as much for a good seat as advertisers will pay to advertise to you ("It's a basic principle of advertising that the amount we are willing to pay to avoid being advertised at is smaller than the amount advertisers are willing to pay to advertise to us."). So the movie theaters make you show up early.
How to brag without people thinking you're boastful. The study's a little kooky and the finding's intuitive, but interesting nonetheless:
"Context is everything when it comes to boasting. If Avi's friend raised the topic of the exams, Avi received favourable ratings in terms of his boastfulness and likeability, regardless of whether he was actually asked what grade he got. By contrast, if Avi raised the topic of the exams, but failed to provoke a question, then his likeability suffered and he was seen as more of a boaster. In other words, to pull off a successful boast, you need it to be appropriate to the conversation. If your friend, colleague, or date raises the topic, you can go ahead and pull a relevant boast in safety. Alternatively, if you're forced to turn the conversation onto the required topic then you must succeed in provoking a question from your conversation partner. If there's no question and you raised the topic then any boast you make will leave you looking like a big-head.

The study author Tal-Or thinks the asking of the question is all-important because of our usually mindless approach to conversations. As a kind of mental short-cut we assume that if a conversant asks a question on a topic then they were probably the ones to have raised that topic in the first place. And once a topic has been raised, a subsequent boast is not seen as such a social sin because it's in context...
...[W]hen participants read the story version in which Avi's friend asked Avi about his grades, they tended to mistakenly remember that the friend had also raised the topic in the first place, even when he hadn't... one major caveat worth noting. Tal-Or only looked at the perception of the boaster in the eyes of onlookers, not in the eyes of one's actual conversation partner. "

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