Thursday, June 17, 2010

How pleasure works

Aware of my violent reaction if a song not composed by A.R.Rahman is played in my presence, my daughters try to test my loyalty by playing out an unfamiliar number and checking if I like it. If I happen to like the song and it turns out that it is not a Rahman song, or if I dislike a song that turns out to be Rahman’s, I am ticked off sharply.

Despite inheriting some great genes, these kids simply have no clue how the brain works. For their benefit, I am reproducing a quote from a book “ How Pleasure Works” by Yale psychologist Paul Bloom. (source).

As the founder and CEO of Perrier North America, it was important for Bruce Nevins to convey to people how good his product tastes. It was a bad day for him, then, when he was on a live radio show and asked to pick out the Perrier from a selection of seven cups of water. He got it on the fifth try.

There is nothing wrong with his taste buds. In blind taste tests, with waters at equal temperature, it is almost impossible to tell the difference between tap water and luxury bottled waters.

I would bet, though, that once Nevins left the radio show and went back to his life, he still thought that Perrier tasted really good - the radio test didn't prove otherwise. If so, he would be right. That is, someone who prefers the taste of Perrier to other waters but fails a blind taste test is not dishonest or confused. Perrier does taste great. It's just that to appreciate its great taste, you have to know that it is Perrier.

Got it, girls? To appreciate Rahman’s great music, you have to know that the song was composed by Rahman.


Mambalam Mani said...

Hmm, didn't know you were a Rahman fanatic! I am only surprised that you are not a IR fan (no reasons though).
On a note aside, you should really bring back to life the Bata Thatha series...

Raj said...

I used to like IR too. But ARR's music is more evolved, I guess.

The Bata Thatha series. At last, I get some evidence that someone has actually read it!

Usha said...

I was surprised too that you preferred Rahman to IR but you have already answered it but yet, I had to register my surprise on record.

Raj said...

Usha, I stopped liking IR after he started pontificating to one and all. Have your heard him speak?

Viky said...

The converse is also true. In order to dislike something, you only need to know it is 'XYZ'. No matter how good it may be, it will never be near the top.

Which is why Toyota created Lexus.