Das Experiment - Are you in your control?

Environment plays an essential role in who you are and who you will become. People neglect how their environment affects their behavior and their habits.

As a human being, we overrate the control we have over our behavior. Just because we have the intention of following through with a positive behavior doesn't mean it actually happens.


  • The amount of popcorn you consume depends more on the size of the popcorn bucket then you personal desire.
  • If you use a big spoon, you’ll eat more. If you serve yourself on a big plate, you’ll eat more.
  • Students who transferred from one university to another were more likely to change their daily habits. They also found those habits easier to change than the control group because they weren’t exposed to familiar environmental cues.
    *You are more likely to go for a run If you keep your workout clothes ready a night before the run. Designing for laziness.
  • You are less likely to smoke if you have to go out on the porch in cold days, then if you could smoke inside in your couch watching tv. Adding friction for eliminating habits.

When we talk about someone's personality, we tend to speak of unwavering characteristics that are exhibited in all varieties of conditions. That view of behavior, however, doesn't reflect the fact that our surrounding environment determines our actions to a high degree. We are all highly responsive to environmental triggers and these triggers can severely seed responses in us.

And why are we all so susceptive to environmental suggestion? Well, we need to be! Keeping us safe is a major part of the role of the unconscious mind. It needs to be able to do this very fast in case we need to make prompt choices. So it does something called 'thin slicing'. This means it will take one small part of reality and generalize it, and from that it will decide what behavior to adopt. In most modern situations there are no threats, however, our behavior still reflects those innate instincts.

Appearances may be deceptive, of course, so strengthening the ability not to do this on occasion gives us the power to get beyond the barriers of this mechanism.

There is no unique version of "you" and "me" even though we talk as if there were. "Though we’re all anchored to our own different personalities, contextual hints sometimes drag us so far from those anchors that it’s hard to know who we really are — or at least what we’re likely to do in a given situation.

So, the question is where do you draw a line! When can you attribute a behavior to a person and when do you attribute to the environment. The answer is simple: A person is a product of the environment he or she has spent the most time in. Hence, it's important to look and proactively manage your environment today. It will make you who will be tomorrow.

One of the best way to make changes in your life is to change your environment. This then changes you.
- Someone cool.