How ideas contaminate material things

A reader from New Zealand contacted me today to ask if I’d be willing to share a quick story from Ernest Dichter’s remarkable book The Strategy of Desire, which would illustrate that human
behaviour is much less rational than we often assume. So, let me tell you a story…

Some time ago we conducted the following experiment: several hundred people were asked what they considered to be important in coffee. Aroma, strength, consistency, freshness, and price were all factors mentioned. Through simple laboratory processes we then brewed coffee which contained all these qualities but was colorless. It was actually purer coffee than the normal brew, yet most people, when offered this colorless coffee in our lab rejected it. The only difference was the lack of color. Yet colour had not been mentioned by a single person as being of importance.
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My 2¢:
Ideas contaminate material things.
Consequently, human behaviour is much less rational than we’d like to believe. It’s easy to forget that.