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Center for Advanced Hindsight at the State Fair

Center for Advanced Hindsight at the State Fair

Monday, October 28, 2013

The North Carolina State Fair is a 160-year-old North Carolina tradition that draws in food, agriculture, crafts, and entertainment from all around the state. Visited by over a million people each year, it stands out as a landmark in the early-autumn calendar.

The Center for Advanced Hindsight (CAH) camped out at the Fair, and was graciously allowed to conduct research with the SSRI ResearchMobile --a state-of-the-art trailer, with 4 built-in computer labs, a fully integrated AV system, and comfortable, climate-controlled space for over 15 people to participate in studies at one time-- for a full week, running 20 studies, with over 2,000 people stopping by at least once.

The CAH investigated the sorts of things that make it easier and harder to cheat; how people make decisions in groups, and about whether or not to buy things; whether taxation affects effort; matchmaking, and the benefits to the matchmaker; whether carrots taste better when introduced with flowery language; and just how long an experimenter can get someone to do a meaningless, boring, uncompensated, totally futile task before they get fed up and decide to get back to the Fair for another game.

Center researchers hoped to learn more about the way people make decisions, about unethical behavior, about disgust and the fear we have over new foods, about saving for the future, and several other topics besides. Over a million people come to the Fair every year, and researchers were able to ask a lot questions to a lot of people.

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