Mike the Psych's Blog

What if psychologists ruled the world? In real life?


Tipping points

New research from Austria suggests that playing either upbeat or sad music can increase the amount of tips serving staff receive.

Neutral piano music has no effect but “uplifting music makes people happy and the better mood someone is in the more they tip. Melancholic music nurtures people’s helping behaviour. The manipulated customers want to hep the serving staff with higher  tips than usual” says Annika Beer a psychologist at the University of Innsbruck.

The tipping effect applied particularly to older customers, perhaps because they listen to less music than younger people, or it could be that younger people have less disposable income.

The experiment was carried out in quite an upmarket restaurant where the average bill for two people was about £90 (the average tip was £3.50 more under the experimental condition).

There has been other research on tipping behaviour suggesting that waitresses who wear red lipstick do better and touching the customer’s hand as you give them the bill can increase tips.

There is also research that suggests that playing faster music will make customers finish their meals quicker – obviously an ideal in fast food restaurants.

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Who the eff does Bob Geldof think he is?

220px-I_Don't_Like_Mondays_single_coverInsulting your fans who’ve paid good money to see you headline a music festival is not usually a good idea.

Bob Geldof, the one-hit wonder with the Boomtown Rats who got involved in charity work in Africa through Band Aid in 1984 (and seems to have made a lot of money out of it – well he’s not made any records), berated fans at a charity festival in Essex with foul-mouthed expletives for wearing cheap Primark clothes.

So this so-called celebrity anti-poverty campaigner criticises people for wearing affordable clothes. An Irish non-dom at that. It went down like a lead balloon.

The crowd booed him and walked out and the press across the political spectrum had a go at him. The Telegraph referred to him as an example of a liberal “sneerer” and the Independent called him a “lefty boho windbag” who exalts the working classes but never actually walks among them.

I think someone who posted on twitter sums it up quite well: “Horrendous individual who loves the sound of his own voice. He hasn’t made a decent track in decades“.

So tell me again how come he’s so rich? It’s not the first time Saint Bob has attracted criticism but it’s usually over his cringeworthy charity singles where millionaires try to persuade us to donate to charities 


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Arcade Fire – bring it on home

Whether or not you are a fan of Canada’s Arcade Fire their new interactive video is definitely worth a look.

It combines new ways of integrating the music, video, animation and shots from Google Earth and street views to immerse you in the video.

Just go to: http://www.thewildernessdowntown.com/ and type in the name of your home town or anywhere else you feel nostalgic about and the video will have you running down your home town streets before you know it.

And they even ask you what advice you wished you could give your younger self back then and write it on a postcard – which they may then use in their media or concerts.

Updated 14 February 2011: Surprise Grammy award winners 2011 for Best Album “The Suburbs” after missing out on best alternative band.



Pigeons now music critics

We know pigeons are smarter than people at learning how to maximise the chances of “winning” but now it seems they have become music critics as well.

The Kings of Leon had to abandon a concert this week when they were covered in pigeon droppings from above the stage. I’d say that is giving a pretty clear message to them.

To be fair, it could be that the pigeons were just excited by the noise as they also s**t on the support band – but support bands are probably used to that!