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How cell phones exert subtle mind control, plus more in this week’s news

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1:50pm, February 7, 2011

5683 is all you need
Cell phones send messages on the sly — to their owners. People who frequently call and text others with these devices unthinkingly associate keyboard numbers with their accompanying letters, says psychologist Sascha Topolinski of the University of Wurzburg in Germany. Cell slingers recognize words faster after having dialed numbers that correspond to those words, such as 5683 for LOVE, she reports in an upcoming Psychological Science. In other experiments, cell users preferred dialing numbers that denoted positive words (37326 for DREAM) over numbers signifying negative words (75463 for SLIME) and preferred companies with business-related phone numbers, such as LOVE for a dating agency, over companies without them — a result with marketing implications.  —Bruce Bower

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