This Week's Herman Trend Alert

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  The Herman Trend Alert

October 30, 2013

Using Perception to Change Behavior and Create Success

Perception is everything. Reality regularly plays second to perception. Though most of us are unaware, external cues and prompts determine how we behave, act, and even make decisions.

We can help ourselves to be more objective, if we understand the effects of these cues and prompts, we can neutralize their consequences. Adam Alter, PhD, a professor of marketing at New York University, New York City is the ¬author of the book "Drunk Tank Pink---and Other Unexpected Forces That Shape How We Think, Feel, and Behave".

"Color affects creativity." Seeing the color red activates a part of the brain associated with being cautious and vigilant but works against creativity and insight, which require openness to new ¬experiences.

It doesn't take a lot of color to have this effect. In one study, students proofreading text against a red background were far more vigilant and accurate than when the text had a blue background. On tasks that required creativity, the presence of red was associated with poorer performance. Want to think creatively? Keep a blue surface handy and visible.

Seeing a pair of eyes will make you act more ethically. And that works for illustrated, as well as a photograph. It even works when we can see ourselves in a mirror. Need more will power for that diet? Put a mirror on your refrigerator door.

Observing nature reduces stress and promotes healing. Studies have shown that exposure to nature can be restorative. In a Pennsylvania study, patients who had had surgery recovered more quickly and experienced less pain, if their hospital rooms faced nature, rather than a brick wall. Spend time every day in nature. If you live in a city, bring natural elements into your home, such as potted plants and trees.

"Having an audience improves your performance---but only sometimes." Many of us have experienced working harder at exercise in a class, than working out solo at home perform faster in front of a crowd. If people are experienced performing a certain skill, their performance will be better when a group of people is watching; however, novices do worse in front of others---probably because they are self-conscious.

We have only scratched the surface of what we can discover about human perception. These and other developments will allow us to help human to be less stressed and more productive, when we apply this information in the workplace.

Special thanks to Bottom Line Publications:

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