On the Power of the Middle

๐Ÿ’Ž On the power of the centre (even when you’re a gameshow contestant)

In the UK, there was a popular game show called The Weakest Link broadcast on television that aired between 2000 and 2012. The show was presented by Anne Robinson who was known for her sharp and forthright style, to put it mildly.

If youโ€™re not familiar with the game, each contestant answered a question in sequence determined by their position in a line up. Each correct answer earned an ever-increasing sum of money until the pot was โ€œbankedโ€ or kept, at which point the value of the pot was reset, but the round continued. At the end of each round, the contestants voted who theyโ€™d like to eliminate until one person, the winner, remained.

If players were acting rationally, they would vote out the โ€œweakest linkโ€, the worst player, at the end of each round in order to โ€œbankโ€ the most money in preceding rounds. However, the number of incorrect answers given was not the only determining factor used by the players when deciding who to vote off.

In many cases, players overlooked errors that those in the centre of the line-up made to a greater extent than errors made by those in extreme positions. This gave centre position holders more favourable assessments and, as such, they were often ignored when it came to voting. During the twelve years that the show aired, significantly more winners came from the centre of the stage.

This phenomenon is known as the centre-stage effect, and we are influenced by it every single day. Positioning is vitally important and has drastic implications on consumer behaviour, and your own success.

Excerpt from: Product Gems 1: 101 Science Experiments That Demonstrate How to Build Products People Love by David Greenwood

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