Ever heard of the Wadala Experiment? It was an experiment carried out by the Indian Railways in order to curb deaths related to railway track crossing. The following experiment was the brain child of a firm in Mumbai called Final Mile.
It went on to become one of the most talked about experiments in which psychology and decision sciences were used to implement policies and regulate the target audience. Here it is:
This is Wadala, an area in Mumbai where a large chunk of deaths related to rail track crossing occurred. During rush hour usually around 45 people crossed the track per minute, and the reasons for such a large number of deaths were found to be the following:
- Leibowitz Hypothesis : Evolution has primed us in such a way that we tend to perceive a smaller object moving fast towards us as more dangerous in comparison to a larger object moving at the same speed. This is because during our evolutionary phase, smaller and faster moving objects (lions, jaguars etc) used to kill most of the early humans, and not larger objects like elephants and rhinos. Thus over a period of time our brain became more attuned to and conscious of smaller and faster moving objects. This impairment lasts to this day, and thus people were not able to perceive the proper speed of a fast object such as a train, didn’t think of it as a threat, and crossed the railway track with complete disregard for the rules.
To counter this, the Railways painted the tracks yellow, so that the brain could use the tracks as a marker, easily register the distance being covered by the approaching train, and make conscious calculations on whether to cross or not.
2. One can’t foresee his death: In a flight or fight response, the brain stops calculating the outcome and thus most often makes a wrong decision. To add to that, one can never forsee his own death, thus it becomes important that we show a person the eventual result that shall emerge if he instinctively acts according to the flight or fight response.
The Railways made posters of how a person may die if he acts impulsively. Such posters were placed at the exact locations where mishaps recorded were the highest, thus it was able to target the audience at the most vulnerable decision making point. The posters showed a person being crushed by a train, and this image made the crosser more conscious of their death. Hence they acted more carefully.
3. Cocktail effect: Our brain can register only one sound at a time, thus if there are too many sounds, the brain automatically filters out most of them. If the honking of the train is mixed with other sounds closer to the crosser, or with the sound of another train coming from an opposite track, then he shall filter out one of the sounds. In both the cases his decision making is impaired, and that leads to him being callous to the approaching disaster.
To counter this the Railways installed a whistle at the bend. This whistle was a reminder for the motor man to start honking.
The honking had a pattern. The brain calculates the meaning of a sound in between the pauses, so in place of one continous honk, pause was given between two honks. During the pause people became conscious of the distance at which the train was coming as larger intensity of the sound meant the train was nearer and thus the danger was high. This made the crosser to be more conscious and thus evade danger.
Using the psychological tricks, the Indian Railways decreased railway crossing related deaths by 70–75% and saved ₹50 crore (the annual budget to stop railway track related crossing deaths). The whole objective was achieved by spending in thousands and not in crores. The psychological hacks used by the railways stand as a testimony of how the government can use psychology to achieve objectives at a reduced cost.
- You can revive stale chips by microwaving them on high for 30 seconds.
- Eat an orange before working out. Not only it does it keep you hydrated but it also prevents your muscle from getting sore.
- Look at someone’s elbow before you high-five. You will never miss.
- Healthy hair test: Dip a few strands of hair into a glass of water, healthier hair will float while unhealthy hair will sink.
- A cup of black coffee before workout speeds up the fat burning process.
- Make an “X” mark on a bug bite with your fingernail. The itch will go away.
- If you boil water before you freeze it, you’ll have crystal clear ice cubes.
- Trying to read something but forgot your glasses? Make a ring shape with your fingures in front of eye and look through it like a telescope. This prevents light from spreading onto your retina and will focus the image like a pinhole camera.
- Ear plugged with water after swimming? Blow into a deflated balloon. This will relax your ears and force the water out.
- Burn yourself on something? Pour yellow mustard all over the area and then rinse with cold water. It’s like a magic eraser for burns.
- Just cleaned up broken glass? Lay a flashlight on the floor. Any small leftover pieces will make a shadow so you can easily pick them up before you step on them.
- On you can find out how many of your favourite energy drink, soda or coffee it will take to kill you.
- 20 pushups, 15 squats, 50 jumping jacks, 30 crunches. Repeated 3 times = 100 calories burned.
- In an emergency, a crayon will burn for about 30 minutes.
- If you stand up too fast and starts to black out, tighten your abs as hard as you can.
- While buying something online, only read reviews that gave 3 stars. They are usually the most honest about the pros and cons.
- If you are buying headphones or speakers. Test them out “Bohemian rhapsody” it has a complete set of highs and lows in instruments and vocals.
- Showering with cooler water can help stops dandruff.
- Get caught doing something embarrassing in public? Just say you lost a bet.
- A person usually makes a lot of hand gestures when telling a true story. When telling a lie, a person’s hands will stay noticeably still.
- Want to whiten your clothes? Soak them in hot water with a slice of lemon for 10 minutes.
- Wash your face with cold water after taking a hot shower. It will close your pores and make you less likely to get acne.
- Never step on spiders. You could be stepping on a female with eggs, and they will stick to your shoes and hatch all over your car and house.
- Close with your neighbours? Share your wifi and split the bill.
- Wrap a wet paper towel around your beverage and put it in the freezer. In about 15 minutes, it will be almost completely ice cold.
- Put your phone number on your child’s bracelet in case they get lost in public.
- Want to know if someone has romantic feelings for you? Look at their eyes. People’s pupil expand by 45% when looking at a love interest.
- Put dry tea bags inside your smelly shoes or gym bags to remove odors.
- You can clear a room full of cigarette smoke in a minute by spinning a wet towel around.
- Swimming is one of the best techniques to grow taller quickly.
- If you are feeling nervous, start chewing gum, your brain will reason that you are not in danger because you would not be eating if you were.
- When showing people pictures on your phone, zoom in a little bit so they cant swipe to other pictures.
- When shopping, the cheapest items will be on top and bottom shelves not on eye level.
- Have hiccups? Hold your breath and swallow three times.
- Giving presentations? Always bring a bottle of water to the stage, when you can’t remember what to say, take a drink. Nobody will know the difference.
- Spray an unfamiliar scent while you are studying and again right as you are about to take the test. The scent will jog your memory.
- Microwave peanut butter and pour it over icecream for the best icecream you will ever have.
- You can press 1, 2, 3 etc to jump 10%, 20%, 30% into the clip you are watching on youtube.
- You can ask Siri to flip a coin if you dont have one on hand.
- Internet trick: Don’t download a pdf file that ends with “.exe”. Its a virus.
- Interview on Skype? Stick googly eyes next to your webcam to help maintain eye contact.
- Got something in your eyes? Fill a bowl of water big enough for your face and open your eyes in it. It’ll come right out.
- You can remember the value of pi (3.1415926) by counting each word’s letter in “ May i have a large container of coffee”.
- Leave your sandals face down when you are at the beach or at the pool. They won’t be scalding hot when you put them back on.
- Train your pets with vicks vaporub by applying it onto anything you don’t want chewed or destroyed. They are turned off by the smell.
- Stumped on a word in a phrase? Search google and put an asterisk(*) in the vacant spot. The result will tell you the word.
- Need to tell a believeable lie? Inculde an embarrassing detail. No body doubts a story that makes you look dumb.
- When an elderly can’t hear you, speak deeper, not louder. This will make it easier to understand.
- Having Trouble focusing? Take a shower or brush your teeth to focus better.
- Need to study vocab words? Quizlet is a great free interactive app for learning quickly.
You mean these things?
These are not chimneys. Large power plants produce huge amount of heat, but use up only about half of it. They must release the remaining heat to avoid melting, so they blow it into the environment.
How do they release it?
If there is a big enough river nearby, they use the water. But if not, they build these big chimney-LIKE towers to release heat by EVAPORATING WATER. Yes, these chimneys release steam and vapor, not smoke or radiation. And why such big towers? To allow the rising steam to cool down and be able to recollect and in the next turn use it in the machinery and turbines again.
Water, in the amounts the power plants use it, is not cheap. In most cases, it’s cheaper to reprocess it than to get more of it.
Narayanan Krishnan – A Madurai born Indian chef.
He was living as a successful chef in Taj hotels, Bangalore.
He was even short listed for an elite job in Switzerland.
But a final visit to his home before heading to Europe changed his life forever.
He was heading to a temple in his car when he saw an old man under a bridge. Little did he know that this man was going to change his life forever.
The old man was pretty weak and he was so hungry that he was eating his own human waste for food.
That one incident haunted him so much that he decided to quit his job, and decided to serve the poor and mentally ill people.
In 2003 he founded a non profitable Akshaya Trust.
Till now he has served around 2 million meals to the homeless.
He also carries comb, scissors and razors and gives them free hair cuts.
He sleeps in Akshaya’s modest kitchen along with his co workers.
Since investing his entire savings in 2003, he has taken no salary till date.
The malayalam movie “Ustad Hotel” is based on his life.
“Be the change you want to see in this world.” He proved it with his life.
I would like to quote one the question he asked the viewers in one of his interviews. “I would like to ask you a question that as an individual what you did. As an individual what impact have you created for society? You will see in the roadside, a BMW, Volkswagen, Mercedes Benz, but on the same day you will see a homeless person. There is no bun, no burger for this person. You drive by in a Mercedes, but do you see the beggar on the sidewalk?”
In 2010, he was awarded the CNN heroes award.
Image Source: Google
Edit 1: Below is link to a Ted Talk given by Narayanan Krishnan. Thank youfor sharing it with us.
There is story that presents the other side of this picture. To top it up, it happened right here in India.
Ratan Tata is the chairman of Indian Hotels who owns the Taj Mahal Hotel Mumbai, which was the target of the terrorists on 26/11/08. Hotel President a 5 star property also belongs to Indian Hotels.
Lets talk about what he did.
All category of employees including those who had completed even 1 day as casual were treated on duty during the time the hotel was closed. Relief and assistance to all those who were injured and killed. The relief and assistance was extended to all those who died at the railway station, surroundings including the “Pav- Bha ji” vendor and the pan shop owners. During the time the hotel was closed, the salaries were sent by money order. A psychiatric cell was established in collaboration with Tata Institute of Social Sciences to counsel those who needed such help.
The thoughts and anxieties going on people’s mind was constantly tracked and where needed psychological help provided. Employee outreach centers were opened where all help, food, water, sanitation, first aid and counseling was provided. 1600 employees were covered by this facility. To every employee, one mentor was assigned and it was that person’s responsibility to act as a “single window” clearance for any help that the person required.
Ratan Tata personally visited the families of all the 80 employees who in some manner – either through injury or getting killed – were affected. The dependents of the employees were flown from outside Mumbai to Mumbai and taken care off in terms of ensuring mental assurance and peace. They were all accommodated in Hotel President for 3 weeks. Ratan Tata himself asked the families and dependents – as to what they wanted him to do. In a record time of 20 days, a new trust was created by the Tatas for the purpose of relief of employees. What is unique is that even the other people, the railway employees, the police staff, the pedestrians who had nothing to do with Tatas were covered by compensation. Each one of them was provided subsistence allowance of Rs. 10K per month for all these people for 6 months. A 4 year old granddaughter of a vendor got 4 bullets in her and only one was removed in the Government hospital. She was taken to Bombay hospital and several lacs were spent by the Tatas on her to fully recover her.
This was the most trying period in the life of the organization. Senior managers including Ratan Tata were visiting funeral to funeral over the 3 days that were most horrible.
The settlement for every deceased member ranged from Rs. 36 to 85 lacs [One lakh rupees tranlates to approx 2200 US $ ] in addition to the following benefits:
a. Full last salary for life for the family and dependents;
b. Complete responsibility of education of children and dependents – anywhere in the world.
c. Full Medical facility for the whole family and dependents for rest of their life.
d. All loans and advances were waived off – irrespective of the amount.
e. Counselor for life for each person
It is funny why was this not repeatedly on the news?
Moreover, it drives attention to a rather undervalued aspect of business in this competitive era. That side is Kindness.
hope you like it
THE ALIEN TECHNIQUE
When you wake up in the morning, pretend you were an alien and you were just “projected” into this body on a secret mission.
You have no idea who you are. You have no idea what problems this person has.
Your mission: find out who you are. Find out what the meaning in your life is. Find out what you have to do today to advance this person a tiny bit in life.
Every time you forget this is your mission during the day, try to remind yourself and get back into this mindset.
Tomorrow you will have a new person. A new mission to solve. A new reason to live and to flourish.
So make the most of the body you are in today.
This is another thing you could do: