-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!