You are in trial. A trial exhibit you have prepared gives the jury five choices to pick from. Where should you place the choice you want them to make? (Yes, I know five choices are at least two too many, but stay with me.) According to recent research reported in the January/February 2013 issue of the Harvard Business Review, in the middle. The column, “Defend Your Research,” looks at research done in the United Kingdom. People were shown five hospitals from which they can receive non-urgent care, along with the scores each hospital received on the performance of their staff. Incredible as it sounds, more people picked the highest scoring hospital when it was placed in the middle than when it was placed first. The article says that out of five choices, the fourth position is the optimum slot. Why? Here is the answer of the researchers:"[The] middle has something inherently attractive to the human mind. We're social creatures, and the middle seems like a good and safe place to be, compared with the edges or the top or bottom.” This middle bias shows up in multiple-choice testing, too, where test takers tend to select the middle answer. For example, D from a list of A,B,C,D, and E....The middle has higher chances of containing something good for us, so that's where we most naturally "forage" for information." The bottom line: our decisions are highly influenced by context.
Believe it or not.