About interpreting opposites

I have just received a new video cast lapel microphone. On the packaging I am kindly reminded that there could be a strangulation hazard as the cable is reinforced with Kevlar. Hhm, could be a useful suggestion if needed some time . . .
Yesterday, I spoke with a business contact bringing new bamboo products into the market, for example a range of bamboo ready-made drinks. He said that the Red Bull plus vodka mix was born when the company advised that their drink should not be mixed with alcohol.
Very few people are able to process a “no” or a “don’t” (just think of your children ;-)). This has a more scientific explanation than just juvenile denial. My wife, who is a psychologist, explains that the human brain indeed has trouble processing a negative meaning. Which is why I don’t like the old-fashioned phrase “Do not hesitate to contact me”. We do exactly the contrary. We hesitate. While the Red Bull marketing team created a hype with their warning, I suppose the manufacturer of my microphone does not really intend consumers to keep a second possible product use in their mind.

Advertisements