Recently read in a book I am reading that research expectations and research results have a strong co-relation. In other words, researchers who have predisposed opinions about something are are researching the topic are more likely to come up with the results they think they should. In the book, there were a few examples of this. In one study, two genetically identical rats were provided to two research labs with the instructions that one had been conditioned to run through the rat treadmill faster and the other has been conditioned to run slower. They were then asked to rate the performance of the rats. And research results came out exactly in line with the information provided to the labs. Even though they were genetically identical.

Which leads me to my illustration of that point. I have been carrying a Verizon Wireless phone along with my own Sprint phone for sometime now. Now, I have heard people rave about the Verizon Wireless network – I guess it is topmost in people’s minds because of the “Its the Network” advertising campaign. I realized I too had unrealistic expectations from the network – not because of any personal experience – but because of the overwhelming advertising campaign from Verizon Wireless and all the things I had heard from so many users. Now, having used it for a month or so – I realize that I honestly dont see any qualitative difference between the Sprint and Verizon networks. I know this goes against the grain of popular wisdom – but in my experience of travelling to Atlanta, Washington DC, Kansas City, the mid-west and all over the northeast – I have not found any qualitative difference. Actually – on the contrary – I have found Verizon Wireless to have a higher propensity of dropped calls than Sprint.

That’s the power of popular perception. I may be wrong. Maybe the Sprint network does suck in places I havent travelled to – but my experience was very different.

And to think – most people would choose expensive Verizon calling plans based on the popular perception of the strength of the network.

Moral of the story – perceptions do define our choices, both consciously and unconsciously.