A carrot for your thoughts

Family Feud is a game show on TV. It’s like a word association game. The host makes a statement like, “Name something that slips out of your hand easily.” The TV producers have already asked a sample of 100 people this same question and come up with the ten most popular answers. The contestants on the TV show get points if their responses match these popular responses.

I was watching the show for the first time in years last weekend. Bert Newton asked the two teams, “Name something you would put on a snowman.”

“Carrot!” I shouted.

“Carrot,” mum and dad agreed.

“Carrot,” said the first contestant who hit the buzzer.

“Let’s see how our survey said,” Bert drawled. The top box on the screen flashed the word ‘carrot’. “Yes! Carrot was the number one response!”

And so the round went on. Soon, words like ‘scarf’, ‘mouth’ and ‘buttons’ appeared on the screen. Nine of the ten boxes were now lit up. The missing response was number four. It was a popular response so in theory, should have been easy to guess. Why were we having such trouble nailing it?

“I’m going to go with ‘arms’,” the final contestant said firmly. It was her team’s last chance to snatch the round from the opposition.

BUZZZZZZZZ. “I’m sorry, it wasn’t arms!” Bert said cheerfully. “That’s too bad. Well, let’s check what that last response was…”

The fourth box flashed…’Nose’.

“Nose?!” mum said indignantly. “You can’t have ‘nose’! We’ve already got ‘carrot’!” Dad nodded. He thought it was wrong, too.

“Mum, it’s not about what’s right or logical,” I said. “You have to think about what other people would say. If you ask a hundred people what you would put a snowman, half of them will say ‘carrot’ and the other half will say ‘nose’.”

Ah, so Family Feud has a lesson for us all. The game isn’t about consistency, correctness, rationality or logic. To win Family Feud, you need to be able to put yourself in other people’s shoes.

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