Thursday, November 15, 2007

Pain acting

Children can fake being in pain or distress. Makes it hard to sort out the truth from the rest. In my experience, a bit of incentives goes a long way here. Steve Levitt thinks so too:
Apparently, they have figured out how to make needles thinner and sharper, so they slide in and out with minimal pain. At least, that’s what the nurse who gave me the shot told me. Nonetheless, my kids still cry when they get shots — at least, they do when it’s my wife’s turn to bring them to the doctor. When I’m there, I promise them a box of Nerds if they don’t cry. Lo and behold, there are never any tears. They are amazed to hear that Nerds (the candy version, that is) didn’t exist when I was a kid. Yet another example of the miracles of technology.
It is all just an application of mechanism design.