Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

To encourage good choices, put more healthful foods on the left

with 2 comments

Who would have guessed?

Maybe people follow the rules the odd psychologist recommends to the protagonist (who became frozen in trying to make a choice) in John Barth’s The End of the Road:

At the end of my last session — it had been decided that I was to return to Baltimore experimentally, to see whether and how soon my immobility might recur — the Doctor gave me some parting instructions.

“It would not be well in your particular case to believe in God,” he said, “Religion will only make you despondent. But until we work out something for you it will be useful to subscribe to some philosophy. Why don’t you read Sartre and become an existentialist? It will keep you moving until we find something more suitable for you. Study the World Almanac: it is to be your breviary for a while. Take a day job, preferably factory work, but not so simple that you are able to think coherently while working. Something involving sequential operations would be nice. Go out in the evenings; play cards with people. I don’t recommend buying a television set just yet. If you read anything outside the Almanac, read nothing but plays — no novels or non-fiction. Exercise frequently. Take long walks, but always to a previously determined destination, and when you get there, walk right home again, briskly. And move out of your present quarters; the association is unhealthy for you. Don’t get married or have love affairs yet: if you aren’t courageous enough to hire prostitutes, then take up masturbation temporarily. Above all, act impulsively: don’t let yourself get stuck between alternatives, or you’re lost. You’re not that strong. If the alternatives are side by side, choose the one on the left; if they’re consecutive in time, choose the earlier. If neither of these applies, choose the alternative whose name begins with the earlier letter of the alphabet. These are the principles of Sinistrality, Antecedence, and Alphabetical Priority — there are others, and they’re arbitrary, but useful. Good-by.”

Written by LeisureGuy

22 August 2016 at 7:44 am

Posted in Books, Food, Health, Science

2 Responses

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  1. I wonder if it really is a case of being “congruent with their natural mental representation”, or a function of first vs. second order. For example, would Arabs, Jews and others whose written language proceeds from right to left, have the same experience? I suspect that just seeing something first begins to immediately conjure up taste associations and cravings from past experiences. If the burger is first, those cravings may prevent the person from even getting to the second option. It also all presupposes some knowledge of which options are actually more healthful, no? Not to mention that perceived healthfulness isn’t the same as actual healthfulness.


    23 August 2016 at 6:31 am

  2. You had “left to right” when you pretty clearly intended “right to left,” so I changed it.

    I agree: more testing is desirable to tease out more information, but I thought the findings so far are interesting. I would also be interesting to include some Japanese (script is top down and right to left) and for all tests include options arranged vertically (one above the other) in addition to experiments with options arranged horizontally (side by side).


    23 August 2016 at 6:48 am

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