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The Perfect Question To Strike Up A Conversation At Parties

"Would you rather be a dog or a ghost?"

Just with this one question, without having any context whatsoever, you will know more about the person you are talking to and strike up some interesting small talk with them.

Of course, the interesting part of this question is that the respondent would know just as much about themselves in thinking about their answer more than anything.

According to Tomer Ullman, a professor at MIT’s Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, answers to this question (and all far-fetched Would You Rather-type choices) are barely at all affected by a person’s personality, or any demographic information.
The most exciting conclusion of Ullman’s study is the self-revelatory consequences of answering dog or ghost: That we learn more about ourselves upon answering.

There is a mechanism that works in our psyche that steers us toward one answer or another and we are usually not aware of it but this "black box" mechanism as Ullman says, processes those inputs instinctively to arrive at an output.

The most exciting conclusion of Ullman’s study is the self-revelatory consequences of answering dog or ghost: That we learn more about ourselves upon answering. Upon answering, we learn something about this unknowable mechanism within us, and thus we learn something about the inscrutable inner workings of our psyche.

(Image credit: Alicia Tatone/GQ)


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