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Benevolent deception: "The placebo button effect" » English to Italian

Competition in this pair is now closed, and the winning entry has been announced.

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Source text in English

Over the course of many years, without making any great fuss about it, the authorities in New York disabled most of the control buttons that once operated pedestrian-crossing lights in the city. Computerised timers, they had decided, almost always worked better. By 2004, fewer than 750 of 3,250 such buttons remained functional. The city government did not, however, take the disabled buttons away—beckoning countless fingers to futile pressing.

Initially, the buttons survived because of the cost of removing them. But it turned out that even inoperative buttons serve a purpose. Pedestrians who press a button are less likely to cross before the green man appears, says Tal Oron-Gilad of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, in Israel. Having studied behaviour at crossings, she notes that people more readily obey a system which purports to heed their input.

Inoperative buttons produce placebo effects of this sort because people like an impression of control over systems they are using, says Eytan Adar, an expert on human-computer interaction at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Dr Adar notes that his students commonly design software with a clickable “save” button that has no role other than to reassure those users who are unaware that their keystrokes are saved automatically anyway. Think of it, he says, as a touch of benevolent deception to counter the inherent coldness of the machine world.

That is one view. But, at road crossings at least, placebo buttons may also have a darker side. Ralf Risser, head of FACTUM, a Viennese institute that studies psychological factors in traffic systems, reckons that pedestrians’ awareness of their existence, and consequent resentment at the deception, now outweighs the benefits.

The winning entry has been announced in this pair.

There were 25 entries submitted in this pair during the submission phase, 5 of which were selected by peers to advance to the finals round. The winning entry was determined based on finals round voting by peers.

Competition in this pair is now closed.


Entries (25 total; 5 finalists) Expand all entries

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Entry #24844 — Discuss 0 — Variant: Not specified
Winner
Voting points1st2nd3rd
439 x42 x23 x1
Rating typeOverallQualityAccuracy
Entry2.912.82 (11 ratings)3.00 (11 ratings)
Entry tagging:
 
 
  • 6 users entered 6 "like" tags
  • 5 users agreed with "likes" (5 total agrees)
  • 1 user disagreed with "likes" (1 total disagree)
+2
1
più efficienti
Good term selection
Rita Sellitti
un esercito di dita
Good term selection
Paolo Defraia
+2
dell'inutilità del loro gesto
Flows well
Maria Pia Giuseppina Nuzzolese
+1
Secondo Eytan Adar, esperto di interazione uomo-computer presso l'Università del Michigan di Ann Arbor,
Flows well
Anna Maria Corda
A suo avviso, si tratta di una sorta di inganno innocente, volto a controbilanciare l'asetticità propria del mondo delle macchine
Good term selection
Rosaria Distefano
-1
1
dell'avviso che la consapevolezza della loro esistenza da parte dei pedoni provochi un risentimento per questo inganno che supera ormai i benefici offerti
Flows well
giuliapatane
Entry #24791 — Discuss 0 — Variant: Not specified
Finalist
Voting points1st2nd3rd
275 x43 x21 x1
Rating typeOverallQualityAccuracy
Entry3.313.29 (7 ratings)3.33 (6 ratings)
Entry tagging:
 
 
  • 2 users entered 3 "like" tags
  • 2 users agreed with "likes" (3 total agrees)
+2
senza troppo clamore
Good term selection
Andrea Brocanelli
+1
prima che scatti il verde
Good term selection
Andrea Brocanelli
intrinseca
Flows well
Daniela Cappelli
Entry #24853 — Discuss 0 — Variant: Not specified
Finalist
Voting points1st2nd3rd
214 x42 x21 x1
Rating typeOverallQualityAccuracy
Entry3.003.00 (6 ratings)3.00 (6 ratings)
Entry tagging:
 
 
  • 5 users entered 5 "like" tags
  • 3 users agreed with "likes" (3 total agrees)
  • 3 users disagreed with "likes" (3 total disagrees)
pulsanti di chiamata
Good term selection
Nicoletta Podestà
esortare
Flows well
Laura Chiesa
+1
meno propensi
Good term selection
Rita Sellitti
-1
dedicato
Good term selection
Elena Feriani
-2
+2
2
il risentimento dei pedoni — consapevoli dell’inganno dei pulsanti inutili —
Flows well
giuliapatane
Entry #24847 — Discuss 0 — Variant: Not specified
Finalist
Voting points1st2nd3rd
132 x42 x21 x1
Rating typeOverallQualityAccuracy
Entry3.423.50 (6 ratings)3.33 (6 ratings)
Entry tagging:
 
 
  • 2 users entered 2 "like" tags
  • 6 users agreed with "likes" (8 total agrees)
  • 2 users disagreed with "likes" (2 total disagrees)
-2
+4
2
senza suscitare troppo clamore
Flows well
Andrea Brocanelli
+4
meno inclini
Good term selection
Rita Sellitti
Entry #25013 — Discuss 0 — Variant: Not specified
Finalist
Voting points1st2nd3rd
602 x22 x1
Rating typeOverallQualityAccuracy
Entry3.002.71 (7 ratings)3.29 (7 ratings)
Entry tagging:
 
 
  • 4 users entered 4 "like" tags
  • 2 users agreed with "likes" (2 total agrees)
  • 1 user disagreed with "likes" (2 total disagrees)
troppo clamore
Flows well
Daniela Cappelli
-1
in prossimità degli
Flows well
giuliapatane
-1
+1
di buon grado
Good term selection
Rita Sellitti
+1
a fin di bene per contrastare la freddezza insita
Good term selection
tradu-grace


Non-finalist entries

The following entries were not selected by peers to advance to finals-round voting.

Entry #25165 — Discuss 0 — Variant: Not specified
Rating typeOverallQualityAccuracy
Entry2.832.83 (6 ratings)2.83 (6 ratings)
Entry tagging:
 
 
  • 3 users entered 4 "like" tags
  • 2 users agreed with "likes" (5 total agrees)
  • 1 user disagreed with "likes" (1 total disagree)
+2
piuttosto in sordina
Flows well
Rita Sellitti
+1
dei costi che avrebbe comportato la loro rimozione
Flows well
texjax DDS PhD
-1
+1
1
Esiste, però, anche un’altra faccia della medaglia
Flows well
Elisa Morotti
+1
i pedoni si sentano ingannati, e il risentimento che ne deriva superi i benefici dell’effetto placebo
Flows well
Scorre ben​e, tuttavi​a avrei om​esso la vi​rgola prim​a di "e il​ risentime​nto"
texjax DDS PhD
Entry #25529 — Discuss 0 — Variant: Not specified
Rating typeOverallQualityAccuracy
Entry2.672.50 (6 ratings)2.83 (6 ratings)
Entry tagging:
 
 
  • 1 user entered 1 "like" tag
  • 2 users agreed with "likes" (2 total agrees)
Entry #25492 — Discuss 0 — Variant: Standard-Italy
Rating typeOverallQualityAccuracy
Entry2.652.29 (7 ratings)3.00 (7 ratings)
Entry tagging:
 
 
  • 1 user entered 1 "like" tag
  • 3 users disagreed with "likes" (3 total disagrees)
-3
1
senza sollevare polveroni
Flows well
Elena Mordenti
Entry #24883 — Discuss 0 — Variant: Not specified
Rating typeOverallQualityAccuracy
Entry2.642.71 (7 ratings)2.57 (7 ratings)
Entry tagging:
 
 
  • 2 users entered 3 "like" tags
  • 1 user agreed with "likes" (1 total agree)
lasciando che innumerevoli dita li continuassero a premere inutilmente
Flows well
giuliapatane
sorta di benevolo inganno
Flows well
giuliapatane
Entry #24977 — Discuss 0 — Variant: Not specified
Rating typeOverallQualityAccuracy
Entry2.602.60 (5 ratings)2.60 (5 ratings)
Entry tagging:
 
 
  • 2 users entered 2 "like" tags
  • 3 users agreed with "likes" (3 total agrees)
senza troppo clamore
Good term selection
Andrea Brocanelli
Entry #24788 — Discuss 0 — Variant: Not specified
Rating typeOverallQualityAccuracy
Entry2.512.38 (8 ratings)2.63 (8 ratings)
Entry tagging:
 
 
  • 1 user entered 1 "like" tag
scatti
Good term selection
Andrea Brocanelli
Entry #25435 — Discuss 0 — Variant: Not specified
Giulia Pellegatta<