Open v closed people

August 4, 2016



Interesting article in this week’s Economist (‘Drawbridges up’ 30/7-5/8/16) arguing that the divide in rich countries is now not between ‘left and right’ but between ‘open and closed’.

We are either ‘drawbridge up’ or ‘drawbridge down’. Are you someone who feels your life is being encroached upon by criminals, gypsies, spongers, asylum-seekers, Brussels bureaucrats? Do you think the bad things will all go away if we lock the doors? Or do you think it’s a big beautiful world out there, full of good people, if only we could all open our arms and embrace each other? Stephan Shakespeare

The cite Donald Trump, the UK Brexit vote, Marine Le Pen, Hungary’s and Poland’s Governments, etc. as examples, and see economic dislocation and demographic change as two of the key drivers of this trend.

But this set me thinking about how open v closed people affect what we do (i.e. UX research). I have a sneaking suspicion that we inadvertently recruit lots more open than closed people. You notice it when trying to recruit people on the phone. Some people are simply more suspicious and think there is a catch in what we are asking them to do – even when we are paying them! Others are just much more open, and less concerned that something bad will happen if they get involved. I don’t know why this is, it seems to be independent of socio economic group – personal confidence perhaps?

Do I think ‘open v closed’ affects how people behave on websites – I don’t think so, but if we are only recruiting open people how can I know?