As an expert on memory, cognitive psychologist Elizabeth Loftus decided one day to find out just how influential language really is when used to prompt memory.
So, Dr. Loftus devised an experiment to test the influence of the wording of a question when asking someone to recall something they’ve seen.
First, she asked 45 students to watch a series of traffic accident videos. Then, after watching the videos, she asked the participants how fast the cars were going, using different verbs to describe the crash.
Some students were asked, “How fast were the cars going when they smashed into each other?”
Others were asked how fast they were going when they collided/hit/bumped/contacted each other.
And what did she find?
Participants who were prompted with the word ‘smashed’ guessed that the cars were going considerably faster than those prompted by the word ‘contacted’ (40.8 mph vs. 31.8 mph).
In other words, the speed estimated by the students was affected by the verb they heard used to describe the accident.
So what does this have to do with you?
Well, in this hyperconnected, ‘always on’ culture that we live in, where we’re constantly bombarded by messages, it’s easy to forget the importance of using the right words when communicating about your business to your target audience.
But it really is very important.
As demonstrated by Loftus’ experiment, different words will prompt different responses…
Is your firm using the right words to prompt the right responses?
Nowadays, so many people claim to be copywriters, and equally as many think that ‘copy writing’ isn’t that difficult or important.
Don’t fall into that trap.
Let this simple experiment serve as a reminder of just how powerful the right words can be… and how costly the wrong ones will be.
If you’d like a no strings attached conversation about how our team of expert copywriters can ensure the messages that you’re communicating with your target audience are the right ones, get in touch.
In business, words have a price tag attached to them… make sure you’re spending your money on only the good ones.