That’s not an accident, that’s a placebo

The way a radar detector works is fairly simple. 

It’s a reverse transmitter. The little box on the dashboard picks up electromagnetic waves through the antenna and converts them into an electrical current. 

And that allows motorists to detect if their speed is being monitored law enforcement using a radar gun, and, therefore, reduce their speed before being ticketed. 

That’s the way a radar detector work. 

Of course, the why is a different story. 

Radar detectors work because they’re placebos. They help create a story that drivers tell themselves in order to potentially harmful behavior. 

It’s the observer effect at work, which states that human beings modify or improve their actions in response to their awareness of being observed. 

Meaning, even if a fake radar detector was installed in your car, one that sporadically beeped and blipped and flashed, but didn’t actually do anything, you’re still likely to get fewer speeding tickets. 

The point is, being watched isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I love my privacy just as much as the next guy, and I’m not suggesting we convert our society into one big transcontinental reality show. 

But I do know that I perform better with an audience. It’s that healthy mix of pressure, accountability and social expectation brings out the best in me. 

Disney calls their employees cast members, that company has the most amazing customer service on the planet. 

That’s not an accident, that’s a placebo. 


How does having observers change your behavior?


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* * * *

Scott Ginsberg

That Guy with the Nametag

Author. Speaker. Strategist. Inventor. Filmmaker. Publisher. Songwriter.

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