Balance Theory

Found it especially weird that podcasts advertising Zip Recruiter tend to talk about how they found people to work for them without using Zip Recruiter. We are supposed to believe that even though they did not use it, we should not leave it to chance to find a good employee like they did.

These bothered me for months until I heard it again while reading about Heider’s Balance Theory. (It came up in a discussion with a friend earlier today.) The idea of it is Person likes Other person but has neutral or negative impression of X. This imbalance creates a cognitive dissonance which is resolved by creating a favorable view of X. Person disliking Other person could create a negative view of X. Essentially celebrity endorsements exploit this function of our brains.

Basically, Zip Recruiter paid Malcolm Gladwell to talk about this product on Revisionist History in order to create a cognitive dissonance where I would get a favorable view of their product. Me (Person) liking Malcolm Gladwell (Other) should create a favorable impression of Zip Recruiter (X).

This effect can backfire. If I dislike Zip Recruiter more than I like Gladwell, then I might come to dislike him because of this.

Nebulous

Vox Hunt: All By MyselfSchrödinger’s Cat is one of my favorite thought experiments. I tend not to think of things and black-and-white or not even in shades of gray but as simultaneously both. Well, I used to call things as having shades of gray until I realized that was wrong. I sometimes still make that error. The better I understand quantum mechanics, the more I feel that it explains everything. Order and chaos are twin underpinnings of reality.

Am I black or white? Really, I am simultaneously both. Maybe struggling with identity plays a role in enjoying the cognitive dissonance of the world around me. People want me to choose when that is a false dichotomy.

Kind of like what makes particle versus wave experiments so cool is how small tweaks change the results. Pretty much all of existence operates this way. The right small tweaks can have giant changes in behavior that are amazing to watch. This is what makes science so much fun. Carefully control your inputs and watch the outputs come out of left field.

How we look at something is often the most important factor in observing the universe around us.