Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Seen and heard

* "Prevention is the quintessential non-event because you cannot easily prove why an infection did not occur."
-Sharon LaFraniere, New York Times South Africa correspondent, on NY Times World View podcast, commenting on why financial donors often find treatment programs more attractive than prevention efforts.

* How to make sense of online user product ratings: Farhad Manjoo of Salon reports on efforts to help would-be consumers navigate the problem of "response bias" inherent in product reviews, such as Amazon's five star system. Manjoo writes that, "Purchasing bias thus suggests some helpful advice when you're looking at online ratings: The more expensive a product, Pavlou says, the more you should discount its high reviews."
Does that mean we should discount Porshche's place at the top of the JD Power initial quality rankings? Would the owner of a new Porsche be more or less likely to report problems after spending so much on the sweet new ride?
I remember reading somewhere recently that people are more likely to read advertising for a product after they've purchased it because advertising, obviously, highlights the product's positive qualities. The article/book called it "confirmation bias," which, according to Wikipedia, seems to be what Manjoo is actually talking about--"response bias," by contrast, occurs when "respondents answer questions in the way they think the questioner wants them to answer," but Amazon customers write rosie reviews not to appease survey questioners, but to appease themselves!

6 comments:

Rob said...

http://www2.wwnorton.com/catalog/backlist/030738.htm

Wake_Up_Everybody said...

Regarding treatment and prevention and such issues, Paul Farmer talks about how some organizations want everyone in Haiti to be tested for HIV/AIDS. And actually said that often there are many tests and testing centers available. However, many people don't get tested. Why? Because there's often no treatment available. Without having effective drugs and other treatments available, life looks pretty bleak if you know you have HIV/AIDS.

Here's a PDF of a spectacular lecture that he gave at the U of Utah:
www.tannerlectures.utah.edu/lectures/Farmer_2006.pdf

Rodrigo said...

Oi, achei teu blog pelo google tá bem interessante gostei desse post. Quando der dá uma passada pelo meu blog, é sobre camisetas personalizadas, mostra passo a passo como criar uma camiseta personalizada bem maneira. Até mais.

David Archer said...

It's on my shelf, Rob.
Thanks for the comment and the link, Pete.
As for Rodrigo: I thought I'd finally cracked the elusive Portuguese readership, but alas, he's trying to sell me personalized T-shirts, according to Babel Fish.

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