Participants named landmarks shown on photographs. In two experimental conditions, the photographs also unobtrusively showed posters depicting the logo of either a lemon candy or a peppermint candy; in a control condition, no posters were shown. Later participants could choose between the two products as a reward. Participants who had been exposed to the lemon logo and control participants chose the lemon candy more frequently, whereas for participants who had been exposed to the peppermint logo, this preference reversed: they chose the peppermint candy more frequently.
I think that’s a great study. I am wondering, however, about the impact on current science. Does the exposure to Pubmed abstracts, listening to commercial webcasts, attending academic conferences, really leaves me a free choice of planning my next experiment?
Being too much connected to the mainstream probably increases the likelihood of being funded but decreases at the same time the probability to find something meaningful. Being unconnected to the mainstream severely decreases the likelihood of being funded and therefore also decreases the probability of finding something meaningful. So, there must be something in between … I am very much attracted by the Harnack Principle of “Promoting the Best” (at least in scientific research) that preserves the identity of researchers without being rewarded by peppermints.