Cognitive Daily

Now that we’re settling in to our new home, we’d like to introduce a fun new feature to Cognitive Daily: Casual Fridays. Every Friday, we’ll post a quick, nonscientific survey or experiment for you to participate in.

These “studies” will be very, very short — fewer than five questions for surveys, and for experiments, the stimuli will require no more than a moment or two of your attention. But with the power of thousands of Cognitive Daily visitors, we may be able to obtain some results that approach statistical significance.

The goal is not to duplicate a laboratory experiment or a controlled study, but just to start to answer those niggling little questions we’ve always wondered about.

You’ll have until 11:59 p.m. Eastern time next Wednesday to respond (or until there have been 250 responses–whichever comes first), and we’ll do a thumbnail analysis of the results and post them next Casual Friday, along with a new “study.”

Today’s entry is a survey designed to test a hypothesis I’ve been developing during my daily run. I think I’ve noticed a pattern in the responses of people I see while I’m running, and I want to find out whether it’s a local quirk in the way people react to me, or if it’s a universal phemonemon. The question centers around who says “hi” to you while you engage in your regular outdoor fitness activity. If you’ve never thought about this before, you might want to go out for a run/skate/bike ride before you respond.

Click here to take survey.

Update: some commenters have pointed out that the “which gender is most likely to say ‘hi'” question doesn’t allow an “equally likely” response. Sorry about that — unfortunately it’s too late to update the survey, but if that’s the case with you, just skip that question.

After you take the survey, feel free to add any questions or additional observations in the comments.

Also, we’d like your help coming up with topics for future Casual Fridays. Remember, they’ve got to be quick, simple, and fun, and participants must be able to respond in survey form (e.g. we’re not going to be able to measure reaction times). Post your suggestions in the comments, or if your idea requires that participants not be aware of its purpose, then send us an e-mail using the addresses found in the “contact” tab above.


  1. #1 PZ Myers
    January 13, 2006

    Whoa…I’m in rural Minnesota. The answer to all of your questions is “everyone” (by the way, the question about what gender is most likely is biased — it should have something to say “equally likely”.

    Ever hear of the Minnesota finger wave? Drivers have their hands on the steering wheel, and as they go by they lift a finger or two or three (the number seems to vary by how well they know you).

  2. #2 pod0
    January 13, 2006

    If PZ Myers finds it a bit tiresome being said ‘hi’ to by everyone, they should try saying hello to someone in London. People look at you like you’ve just murdered their family.

    Your survey didn’t take into account quite how grumpy & unfriendly us Londoners are!

  3. #3 Mary Godwin
    January 13, 2006

    A casual Friday survey is a great bit of fun, and I’ll be watching for the results, but I’m with PZ on this one, the gender question seems predisposed – maybe an additional selection to indicate that I never paid any attention (that I noticed myself giving). Oh, and PZ … the Minnesota finger wave: I’ve seen it, given it, and love it! -mg

  4. #4 Craig Pennington
    January 13, 2006

    I took up running a little less than a year ago and I’ve thought about this very question off and on over that time. I live in a fairly densely populated area and the local paved trails are peopled even though I run before the sun rises (I saw about a dozen others before 6am today.) Generally, I say ‘hi’ (or a wave if I’m running hard and winded) to everyone I pass who returns eye contact (o if it’s too dark, mostly to let them know I’m there.) I get about an 80% response rate (some also non-verbal.) Women are as equally likely as men to respond, younger people are less likely to respond than older people. A few people never respond, and I just give a slight wave to them regardless (maybe they’re mute; maybe they’re from London — it’s hard to tell.)

  5. #5 Dave Munger
    January 13, 2006

    PZ and pod0 — I bet we could do a “who says hi” survey with geographical data and get a whole different set of results. I live in North Carolina, where lots of people say “hi,” but whenever I visit my family in Seattle, I have to remind myself that no one ever says it there. The typical response there is a glare that says “what, are you insane?”

  6. #6 Mike Ritthaler
    January 13, 2006

    Since I mostly bike, I’ve noticed that other people on bikes seem to say hi to me, whereas drivers and people using other modes of transport, (walking, running, etc) tend to ignore me. I’m not sure if that’s some sort of sense of fellowship, (biking in Albuquerque can be harrowing) or what.

  7. #7 genevieve
    January 14, 2006

    I walk with my handicapped son. People say ‘hi’ invariably when I ask him to move from the middle of the path!

  8. #8 coturnix
    January 15, 2006

    Who says “Hi” to me?

    People who are responding to me saying “Hi” to them first. I like saying Hi to people. Which, I think, tends to be more of the opposite sex, just because…(wink).
    Man-to-man is more likely to be a nod of the head. Inter-sex is more likely to be a Hi and a smile.

    [Posted from the dreaded IE, still cannot comment from Firefox]

  9. #9 May
    January 16, 2006

    I walk a dog…only other dog walkers say hello and I tend do the same…it’s a bit sad really.

New comments have been disabled.