Sunday, April 24, 2011

An Unusual Study on the Great Salt Lake

So this topic marginally fits in with Geology but I found it interesting and it does involve learning so I will write is up here. Recently all over Salt Lake City, and even through large parts of Utah, there have been these billboards popping up (see picture below) that state that Jim Bridger discovered the Great Salt Lake with a website below it:
Sorry for the blurry picture, I was trying to snap it while waiting for a light.
So, what really irritated me about this was that this is akin to stating that I discovered the Great Salt Lake because really, how many countless Native Americans lived and "found" the Great Salt Lake before any "white-man" was ever even here. Well I went to the website and they actually got me with what they were trying to do. It turns out this is part of a study done by the billboard company - Reagan Outdoor.

What they did is run a study to see how many of Utahns knew which non-Native American discovered the Great Salt Lake. They then ran this billboard advertising campaign for a few months to see if they can increase the number of people who know this. They will then run a second survey to see if this number increases at all (if they haven't already).

Since they called out (at least on the website) that they are looking specifically for non-Native Americans who discovered the lake, I think this is a very cool study. Not only for a billboard company, but it is a great scientific study on how people perceive all that freaking advertisements that are all around. Do we register it? Or does it all go beyond us and we couldn't care less what was on that billboard on our way home from work?

This is even applicable to geology because most people pass geology everyday on their way somewhere. Do non-geologists even register what they see or is it just a pretty landscape to them? Do geologists even register what they pass? If it isn't what they are currently studying do they care? (This is a rhetorical question, I assume they do but wanted to shoot that out there.)

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