Pointless Studies And The Would You Rather Game On A Large Scale

from the oh,-come-on dept

At some point or another, all kids play the “this or that” game or the “would you rather” game. It’s a pointless exercise setting up impossible conditions that really don’t prove anything at all. It sets up a choice between two situations that are (1) unlikely and (2) it makes no sense to choose between. Would you rather eat a pile of dirt or have to walk around with no pants for three weeks? You know what? Neither — because I know that situation is never going to come up. However, it seems that people doing studies often love to play a slightly less ridiculous, but just as useless, version of the would you rather game to prove a point. So, along comes this new “would you rather” study, that tries to suggest that people prefer mobile phones to the internet or that TV is more popular than the internet. That’s not really what the study says at all. All it really says, is that given the extremely improbably situation where you’d be forced to give up all technology except one, lots of people decided to pick their TV and plenty picked a mobile phone. However, as with the “would you rather” game, since people know the situation is ridiculous and what they say won’t matter in any way, it’s tough to read too much into the choices. In fact, the distinction between some of the options gets blurry. People kept their mobile phones, but what if that’s because they use it for data? Some of that data may be traveling over the internet — which won’t exist in the make-believe world of “one technology only.” This is the type of study designed to get some press coverage for the firm that did the study, but, unfortunately doesn’t tell us much that’s really useful.

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