Over at Loophole – the blog of MPR’s In The Loop series – Sanden Totten notes the apparently-peculiar power of the word “because”:
A study found that “because” is a powerfully persuasive word. The Economist blog lays out the experiment like this:
In the study, a stranger approached someone waiting in line to use a photocopier and asked, “Excuse me, I have five pages. May I use the Xerox machine?” This resulted in 60% of people agreeing to let the stranger go ahead of them. But when the stranger asked instead, “May I use the Xerox machine, because I’m in a rush?”, 94% of people complied. And even when the given reason was meaningless–“May I use the Xerox machine, because I have to make copies?”–93% of people complied
I’m interested in how language works, so I’m interested in this thesis.
But I’ve noticed that “because I said so” isn’t quite as effective.
Case in point – a piece Molly “Is It White In Here” Priesmeyer wrote last week, in her customary breezy, snarky style, about the thesis that baby boomers’ home values have already evaporated. We wrote about this piece last week, after Learned Foot noted that Priesmeyer’s source was funded by George Soros’ “Open Society Institute” – which also funds the Minnesota “Independent”.
It gets better.
Someone – “Wabbit”, a commenter whom I happen to know, a fella very familiar with both Saint Paul real estate and crunching numbers – questioned Priesmeyer in the comment section.
Priesmeyer’s initial response?
The housing market crashed because of unregulated, subprime lending. This is a fact that cannot be disputed
“Because my source says so, and my source is the only source, to say nothing of viable opinion, on the subject”.
Any real estate people wanna set the girl straight?
Because she seems to need it.