Last updated: June 24. 2014 4:36PM - 543 Views
By - ashepherd@civitasmedia.com



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Projecting a better perception of yourself to others could be as simple as popping some Wrigley’s into your mouth.


That sounds silly, right? But, hear me out.


Through my years of Facebook usage, shared videos on the social media site have provided me with a lot of food for thought.


The latest was an art installation done last October at a Buenos Aires, Argentina museum that had multiple sets of identical twins. The only difference between a set of twins was that one was chewing gum while the other was not.


And, of course, the installation was commissioned by a gum company, but who cares? It’s cool.


Behind each twin was a light on a post, and in front of them, a box with two buttons and head phones.


Museum goers who chose to participate in the experiment would be seated at the box with the buttons and put the headphones on. Through the headphones, they would hear certain questions and would choose which twin was the answer to each.


What was surprising, I thought, was the outcome.


I love to chew gum and usually have my jaws working on a piece.


That was one thing I really loved about college, you didn’t get into trouble for chewing gum in class like you did in elementary and high school.


Of course, there are times and places where chewing gum is just not appropriate.


For instance, I have witnessed many an attorney and defendant chomping away during a hearing in the common pleas courtroom.


That, to me, is not the appropriate time to be chewing gum when a person’s fate is on the line.


But nonetheless, plenty of gum chewing goes on at the defendants table.


But I digress.


The questions in the experiment asked things like which twin has more friends, which twin gets invited to more parties, and which twin has more imaginary friends.


Of the twins dressed in business suits, which twin is more likely to give you a raise, which twin is more likely to fire you for asking for one, and which one never puts money into the employee gift pool?


Of the twins dressed as police officers, which twin is more likely to give you a ticket and which one is the “bad cop.”


And at the end of the video, it’s stated that of the 481 people that took part, nearly 73 percent “favored” the twin chewing gum.


Don’t you think that’s interesting?


I know before I viewed the video, I thought the one chewing the gum would get the opposite reaction of “favored,” you know, seeming less serious and all that.


But I saw the faces and I would have made the same choices I saw made.


As I heard the questions, I was looking at the faces of the twins.


If I had been asked these questions without the ability to see the twins, I would have answered the opposite of what I did, because there’s a certain frivolity associated with gum chewing, isn’t there?


All the twins chewing gum looked more relaxed and approachable, while all the twins without the gum, just sitting there looking forward, looked stern and much less approachable.


It’s pretty cool, really.


It’s just another one of those things that has challenged a bit of a social perception that I hadn’t realized even existed.


And to all those gum companies out there, should there be an inexplicable rise in sales in Highland County, you can just send my commission check right here to the office.


I won’t hold my breath on that, though.


But I am glad to have been able to make this observation and have an interesting thing to chew on, (yes, that pun is most certainly intended) until the next little video comes along and has me thinking on something else.


Angela Shepherd can be reached at 937-402-2572 or on Twitter @ashepherdHTG.


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