IT HAS BEEN PROVEN THROUGH MARKETING STUDIES THAT
IF THE ENVIRONMENT OR EVEN THE CONTAINER IS RIGHT, PEOPLE WILL CONSUME MUCH MORE OF WHATEVER PRODUCT IS IN IT. LET US APPLY THIS TO ENRICHMENT FOR THE SOUL.
By Rabbi Dov Greenberg
A Cornell professor of marketing, Brian Wansink, once performed the following experiment: he gave away stale, ve-day-old popcorn to moviegoers at a theater in the Chicago suburbs.
Some people got big buckets, while others received enormous buckets. Both sizes held more popcorn than a person could nish.
Yet when the Wansink research team weighed the buckets after the movie, they found a huge di erence in the amounts the two groups had eaten. Those with the bigger buckets gulped down an average of 53 percent more popcorn. That’s the equivalent of 173 more calories.
Over the years, Wansink ran other popcorn studies, and the results were always the same. He wrote, “It didn’t matter if our moviegoers were in Pennsylvania, Illinois or Iowa, all our popcorn studies led to the same conclusion. People eat more when you give them a bigger container. Period.”
My favorite part of the study is this: People refused to believe the results. When the moviegoers were told about the popcorn experiment afterward, the majority sco ed at the idea that their bucket size had any e ect on them, saying, “Things like that don’t trick me,” or “I’m not a glutton. I didn’t eat that much. Your scale must be broken.”
The point of the study is that big changes in behavior can be triggered simply by changing features of people’s environment. The moviegoers with a di erent feature—the smaller buckets—ate smaller portions of popcorn, without ever trying or planning to do so.
This is excellent guidance as we make High Holiday resolutions to improve ourselves and to grow. It may seem like a steep challenge, but next time you struggle to change, look at your environment. What features can you change to make it easier to achieve your desired outcome?
The solution may be as easy as switching bucket sizes.
If you would like to be healthier, stock up your fridge with fresh and organic fruits and vegetables, and ll your pantry with healthy snacks. If you would like to learn more Torah, buy a lot of good Jewish books and ll your home with them. Put them on your co ee table, nightstand, living room, child’s room, and bookshelves.
With just this simple adjustment, you may end up learning 53 percent more Torah this year.
…big changes in behavior can be triggered simply by changing features of people’s environment.