On Cues and the 10 Commandments

This week’s book learning is from ‘Predictably Irrational’ by Dan Ariely –

2 groups of people were sent to take a test where they were told they could copy without leaving a trace of having done so and with no chance of their dishonesty being detected.

Group 1 were sent straight in while Group 2 were first asked to write as many of the ‘Ten Commandments’ they could remember in a 2 minute exercise before being sent in to take their test.

Any guesses on which team was less dishonest?

The second, by a long shot! This is among a series of experiments conducted by researchers like Dan Ariely that revealed the power of cues. Just recalling the Ten Commandments made people honest!

This story really got me thinking about the power of cues and reminders. A simple example – I’d written about Attention a couple of months ago. Following that, I changed my wallpaper on my work laptop from my default framily (i.e. friends+family), values wallpaper to a quote I like lots

‘Doing one thing at a time is how one zen master defined the essence of zen’

And funnily enough, I found myself testing out various tools to improve my attention. The momentum was clearly building. I never looked at the wallpaper but I knew it was there.

I am just beginning to pay attention to cues and reminders as their influence is unquestionable. I’m still working out how to apply them more in my life.

Here’s to taking a good look at the cues around us this week!