In an effort to read more Chinese I recently picked up the Mandarin version of Elephants on Acid: and Other Bizarre Experiments. It’s a book that explores some of the more interesting experiments in history and their results. I love books like this and often read stuff like Freakonomics, or Predictably Irrational, but this book I had not read the English version first so figured it would be better study material as I’d have to pay attention more.
The first experiments are simple ones – how we react to the touch of others. One particular experiment looks at how our willingness to tip at a restaurant is influenced by the touch of the server. To find out the result the you’re going to have to read a bit of Chinese – I’ve simplified and summarised the experiment below. First have glance over the keyword list and then read the text.
Nǚ fúwù shēng de chù pèng duìyú gùkè gěi xiǎofèi de yǐngxiǎng
Zài zhǎoqián shí nǚ fúwù shēng kěnéng yǒu sānzhǒng fāngshì chù pèng gùkè. Dì yī shì yào chù pèng gùkè de shǒuxīn, dì èr shì yào chù pèng gùkè de jiānbǎng, dì sān shì wánquán bù pèng. Shíyàn de jiéguǒ shì wánquán bù pèng gùkè de xiǎofèi zuìshǎo, chù pèng jiānbǎng de xiǎofèi duōle 18%, dàn chù pèng shǒuxīn de xiǎofèi zuìduō 37%.
The result of a further experiment was that if the customers were a couple then the waitress should not touch the man, as this would cause his partner to become jealous reducing the tip they gave – however, interestingly the tip from touching the man was still more than not touching either of the customers!
If I come across any other interesting experiments while reading this book I’ll post more summaries like this.