The Tomato Soup Lesson: Why You Mustn't Pander To Your Writing Delusions

color-writing.jpg

Are you a deluded writer? Stop! Before you answer that question, let me tell you about Brian Wansink and the bottomless bowl of tomato soup.

Wansink is a scientist who holds the John S. Dyson Endowed Chair at Cornell University where he is Director of the Food and Brand Lab. He’s also the author of the 2006 book Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More.

In one of his most famous studies, he rigged up “bottomless” bowls of tomato soup. (Researchers kept the bowls filled by hidden tubes that imperceptibly kept adding more soup while the subjects ate). Wansink then compared the eating habits of people faced with a normal bowl, versus those given a “bottomless” bowl. The results were astonishing.

People who had a normal bowl ate, on average, nine ounces of soup. But people who ate from the rigged bowls averaged 15 ounces — 73 percent more! And most amazingly, the subjects at the self-filling bowls did not rate themselves as any more full than the subjects at the normal bowls.

All of which goes to show, we are terrible judges of ourselves.

This principle applies to our writing, too. Are our carefully thought-out words lucid, moving, and compelling? Or are they boring, self-indulgent, and banal? Who knows? The problem is, we’re not very skilled at analyzing ourselves.

Great piece of writing by Daphne Gray-Grant via kdpaine.blogs.com. Read it for the tomato soup experiment if nothing else!

About Us | Contact Us | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Copyright Communitelligence 2014-15

Follow us onTwitter.com/Commntelligence Linkedin/Communitelligence YouTube/Communitelligence Facebook/Communitelligence Pinterest/Communitelligence