The Psychology of The Button | Summary and Q&A

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April 24, 2015
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The Psychology of The Button

TL;DR

Reddit's social experiment, The Button, has attracted hundreds of thousands of participants, teaching us about the psychology of delayed gratification.

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Questions & Answers

Q: What is The Button on Reddit?

The Button is a page on Reddit with a countdown timer and a clickable button. Users can only click it once, and their flair displays the time they clicked.

Q: How does The Button create a hierarchy of users?

Users with lower numbers on their flair have more bragging rights, indicating they waited longer before clicking. This hierarchy is based on delayed gratification and patience.

Q: What is the similarity between The Button and the marshmallow test?

Both The Button and the marshmallow test involve delayed gratification. The marshmallow test studied self-control in children, offering a second marshmallow if they resisted eating the first.

Q: How does the hot-and-cool system relate to The Button?

The hot system, driven by emotions and temptation, can override the cool system, which is more logical and considers delayed gratification. Some people struggle with self-control due to the hot system being easily triggered.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • Reddit created The Button, a page with a countdown timer and a clickable button, forming a social experiment on delayed gratification.

  • Participants click the button, and the timer resets, with a colored flair indicating the time they clicked.

  • A hierarchy of users with lower numbers emerged, showing the desire for delayed gratification and status.

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