Why do people love to make lists?

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Data pix.

HOUSTON, TX - How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.

Lists! you find them everywhere, especially online. People seem to love them. We make them. We read them. There are good ones and there are bad ones. Lists are really just data that has been sliced, diced and then dumbed-down into bite-sized chunks. According to psychiatrist Dr. Daniela White, most people like lists because our society has a short attention span and list are a good way to get a lot of information in a short time.

Lists, surveys and rankings are just another way for folks to make sense of the world around them. By collecting and corralling stats (and then placing them in some kind of order) the human mind can easily make comparisons between a collection of related things. They are like shortcuts for sizing things up. Sounds good, but then there are surveys that just seem foolish. Like, do we really need a survey to tell us "whatever" is the most annoying word in the English language?

So the lists we make to organize our chaotic lives can be very helpful. But in today's world, where everyday new surveys are being served up as the latest, greatest, definitive list of anything and everything, can we really count on them? Probably not.



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