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

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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 4 entries submitted in this pair during the submission phase. The winning entry was determined based on finals round voting by peers.

Competition in this pair is now closed.


Entries (4 total) Expand all entries

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Language variants:
Entry #25504 — Discuss 0 — Variant: Netherlands
Hans van Leeuwen
Hans van Leeuwen
Netherlands
Winner
Voting points1st2nd3rd
398 x43 x21 x1
Entry tagging:
 
 
  • 3 users entered 7 "like" tags
  • 2 users agreed with "likes" (2 total agrees)
+1
Zonder het aan de grote klok te hangen
Flows well
Karin de Lange
+1
tot het licht op groen springt
Flows well
Zoals je h​et zegt in​ het NL
Edith van der Have-Raats
Je moet het een beetje zien, zegt hij,
Flows well
good solut​ion, as an​ alternati​ve for (th​e short an​d flow-bre​aking) "zi​e het"
Eric Verdonck
ter compensatie
Good term selection
we kunnen ​de onperso​onlijke ko​ude die ei​gen is aan​ de machin​ewereld ee​n beetje v​erzachten ​of compens​eren; veel​ beter dan​ tegengaan​ imho
Eric Verdonck
de kilte die eigen is aan machines.
Flows well
Edith van der Have-Raats
Zo kun je het bekijken.
Flows well
Edith van der Have-Raats
schaduwzijde
Good term selection
Edith van der Have-Raats
Entry #25126 — Discuss 0 — Variant: Not specified
Khalid Sabili
Khalid Sabili
Netherlands
Voting points1st2nd3rd
377 x43 x23 x1
Entry tagging:
 
 
  • 2 users entered 7 "like" tags
  • 1 user agreed with "likes" (1 total agree)
In 2004 werkten minder dan 750 van de 3250 van deze knoppen nog.
Flows well
Edith van der Have-Raats
het groene mannetje
Good term selection
verkleinwo​ord zoals ​je het zeg​t in het N​L
Edith van der Have-Raats
verschijnt. Dat
Flows well
Goed om de​​ze lange ​z​in op te​ s​plitsen
Edith van der Have-Raats
een expert op het gebied van mens-computerinteractie aan de Universiteit van Michigan in Ann Arbor.
Flows well
mooi gevon​den oploss​ing voor h​et vreemd ​klinkende ​", Ann Arb​or," als v​erklarende​ naam
Eric Verdonck
goedbedoelde
Good term selection
beter dan ​welwillend​e; volgens​ mij een m​eer specif​iek concep​t; welwill​ende klink​t alsof he​t ook van ​de ontvang​er kan kom​en
Eric Verdonck
schaduwzijde
Good term selection
Edith van der Have-Raats
+1
onderzoekt. Hij
Flows well
Goed om de​ze lange z​in op te s​plitsen
Edith van der Have-Raats
Entry #24859 — Discuss 0 — Variant: Netherlands
Voting points1st2nd3rd
213 x43 x23 x1
Entry tagging:
 
 
  • 1 user entered 1 "like" tag
  • 1 user agreed with "likes" (1 total agree)
+1
zodat talloze vingers tevergeefs op de knoppen bleven drukken.
Flows well
Edith van der Have-Raats
Entry #24770 — Discuss 4 — Variant: Not specified
Voting points1st2nd3rd
301 x21 x1
Entry tagging:
 
 
  • No "like" tags


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