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

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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

Entry #25405 — Discuss 0 — Variant: Not specified
Winner
Voting points1st2nd3rd
357 x43 x21 x1
Entry tagging:
 
 
  • 1 user entered 1 "like" tag
ένα σύστημα που φαίνεται να δίνει βάση στις δικές τους ενέργειες.
Flows well
MARIANNA TSATSOU
Entry #25099 — Discuss 0 — Variant: Not specified
Voting points1st2nd3rd
224 x43 x20
Entry tagging:
 
 
  • 2 users entered 4 "like" tags
  • 1 user agreed with "likes" (1 total agree)
ρύθμιζαν
Flows well
rokotas
με αποτέλεσμα αμέτρητα δάχτυλα να τα πατάνε ξανά και ξανά, εις μάτην.
Flows well
MARIANNA TSATSOU
+1
ένα είδος καλοπροαίρετης εξαπάτησης με την οποία εξισορροπούμε την έμφυτη ψυχρότητα του κόσμου των μηχανών
Flows well
rokotas
θεωρεί ότι η συνειδητοποίηση της ύπαρξης των κουμπιών από τους πεζούς και η επακόλουθη δυσαρέσκεια για την εξαπάτηση υπερβαίνει τώρα τα οφέλη.
Flows well
MARIANNA TSATSOU
Entry #25219 — Discuss 0 — Variant: Not specified
Voting points1st2nd3rd
173 x41 x23 x1
Entry tagging:
 
 
  • 2 users entered 4 "like" tags
  • 1 user agreed with "likes" (2 total agrees)
+1
μάταια
Good term selection
M.Phili
του κόστους που θα είχε η αφαίρεσή τους.
Flows well
MARIANNA TSATSOU
+1
πράξη καλοπροαίρετης εξαπάτησης για να αντισταθμίσει την εγγενή ψυχρότητα του κόσμου των μηχανών
Flows well
M.Phili
και η ως εκ τούτου δυσανασχέτηση που αισθάνονται για την εξαπάτηση,
Flows well
MARIANNA TSATSOU
Entry #25460 — Discuss 0 — Variant: Not specified
annasak
annasak
United States
Voting points1st2nd3rd
141 x43 x24 x1
Entry tagging:
 
 
  • 2 users entered 2 "like" tags
αποτελεσματικά
Good term selection
rokotas
εγγενή ψυχρότητα του κόσμου των μηχανών.
Flows well
MARIANNA TSATSOU


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