In a series of experiments, my colleagues and I had a middle-aged man offer 253 ferry passengers traveling from Connecticut to Long Island the choice between $5 and a chance in a mystery lottery (paying from $0 to $10 with an average payout of less than $5) in exchange for completing a short survey. When he gave no advice, only 8% of survey-takers chose the lottery. When he advised passengers to choose the lottery, 20% did.
More alarming were the results when he disclosed that, if they chose the lottery, he would receive a bonus: As logic suggests, the passengers told us they trusted him less now they knew about his conflict of interest. Yet, 42% of them complied and took the lottery. Why? Passengers said that, despite their mistrust, they felt uncomfortable rejecting the man’s advice because doing so would insinuate they believed he was biased because of his bonus. We call this feeling “insinuation anxiety.”
Read the whole story: Los Angeles Times