Monday, November 15, 2010

Cost of a Smile

Recently someone updated their Facebook status with a question -
A sweet smile costs nothing. Does it?
Here are my thoughts on it - 

Suppose a smile costs nothing and everyone knows it. By default , everyone smiles at every one else. In such a scenario, the smile will have no value for the person receiving it - since he knows that to the smiler it costs nothing and everyone smiles at everyone else by default. Basically, it means that sending the same signal all the time is sending no signal at all. 

But, this is not the case. People assign a non-zero value to a smile, so it must cost something to the one smiling. And that cost is the Opportunity Cost of smiling. i.e. the value one would have gained had they not smiled. This value can be positive in many cases. e.g. the cost of smiling at everyone on the streets of a city like Delhi can be quite huge - especially for girls. 
Cost of a SmileSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Thursday, November 4, 2010


"Thanks for your love, support and belief. The large scale experiment I started 20 years ago to study behavioral, social and psychological factors affecting credulity of people is now over. I have collected all the necessary data and will shortly be publishing the results. You can now stop believing me as a man of God." said Swami Ji - actually an undercover behavioral scientist - to a gathering of his perplexed followers.
UndercoverSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend