Pure and complex

Pure and complex

Weather affects the market – how sunny (or not) shades how people trade stocks and buy products. As does the complexity of product names. But complexity has a place, says psychologist Adam Alter:

What complexity does is it acts as a cognitive roadblock. …. If you have a communication that last 30 seconds or a minute or even five minutes, if you know there’s a particular point that you really want people to pay attention to – you’ve already hooked them in, they’re interested and they’re motivated – if you introduce complexity even briefly, that changes the way people think. They go from thinking in this very shallow, very superficial way … to thinking much more deeply about whatever you say next.

You still want to keep the message simple, but if you pick that moment of complexity carefully and appropriately, you can lead people to believe whatever you say after that moment of complexity very deeply. If the message is a complicated one … that’s a really effective technique.

Super interesting. It’s not unlike how Paco Underhill describes retail landing strips or how Jeremy Denk describes intentional complexity as told through Chopin:

Chopin writes “enforced” listening moments into the piece–strangely arresting moments, like that F# held, alone, then heard against an astringent dissonance, then heard alone again, then heard against the “correct” dissonance…

Well-placed complexity has a place. If only to encourage us to think more deeply and globally about simplicity.