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  • [pleasant music]

  • - [sniffing]

  • Ah, nothing like bacon and eggs in the morning.

  • It's a hearty meal that holds you together for the whole day.

  • It's a combination so obvious that it's been around

  • for as long as both foods existed.

  • Humans naturally loved these foods together,

  • so they became a staple of breakfast.

  • Or did they?

  • What if I were to tell you that the traditional combination

  • of bacon and eggs isn't part of our natural history,

  • but is instead a corporate conspiracy

  • orchestrated by society's true puppet masters?

  • It isn't a breakfast for champions.

  • It's a breakfast for sheeple.

  • [electronic music]

  • ♪ ♪

  • We think that a lot of commonplace things

  • are the way they are because of collective free choice,

  • when in fact, sometimes,

  • one or two people alone

  • made a decision and created something

  • that is now taken for granted as part of society--

  • just part of life.

  • Here's the real story behind bacon and eggs.

  • It all begins with Sigmund Freud.

  • Or rather, his nephew, Edward Bernays.

  • Bernays is credited as the "Father of Public Relations,"

  • the product of a time when the world

  • had become just small enough

  • that you could manipulate a lot of people at once

  • because of the way that advertising, news,

  • and radio could reach a large number of people quickly.

  • Bernays took advantage of mass media

  • not with the intention to inform,

  • but with the intention to control.

  • In the 1920s, Ed Bernays asked a doctor

  • who worked at his agency whether a breakfast should be

  • heavy or light, and the doctor pretty much said,

  • "I guess heavy would be better."

  • Bernays then had that doctor

  • get 4,500 other doctors to confirm that.

  • - All of them concurred that a heavy breakfast

  • was better for the health of the American people.

  • - Then, Bernays lobbied newspapers

  • to publish that all these doctors were saying

  • you should eat a big ol' breakfast.

  • But he wasn't doing this to improve public health.

  • He was doing this because Beech-Nut Packing Company,

  • a major supplier of bacon,

  • was paying him to do it.

  • - The sale of bacon went up,

  • and I still have a letter

  • from Bartlett Arkell,

  • president of Beech-Nut Packing Company,

  • telling me so.

  • - So we collectively, as a country,

  • agreed that bacon was our breakfast meat of choice.

  • But we didn't actually make that choice at all.

  • And that's just breakfast.

  • Our lives are full of decisions that we think

  • we make of our own free will.

  • But do we?

  • [dramatic music]

  • These days, our markets are inundated

  • with products and choices.

  • But is having many choices good or bad?

  • [dreamy electronic music]

  • ♪ ♪

  • Most people say they like a lot of choices.

  • But do they really?

  • We took our cameras and a few pounds of jelly beans

  • to Venice Beach to find out.

  • First, we invited people to pick

  • one of two flavor choices.

  • - Yeah, good.

  • - Yeah, I'm happy with it. Yeah.

  • Thank you.

  • It was an easy choice to make.

  • I chose it 'cause I wanted something fresh in my mouth.

  • - I like it--I like lemon and citrus and everything like that.

  • Good taste. I'm happy with my choice.

  • - Most subjects were content with their selection

  • when it was a choice between two options.

  • But what happens when we offer more choices?

  • Will the subjects be just as happy with their decision?

  • - I see.

  • Not licorice...

  • Okay. Can I do more than one? Or just one?

  • - Oh, my goodness.

  • Mmm.

  • Mm-hmm.

  • Well, I'm kind of regretting not trying a fruit one.

  • Because with jelly beans, it's more--

  • fruit is more natural to me.

  • Like, I probably should have gone

  • for my first choice, raspberry.

  • Maybe I would have been happy.

  • - There's, um--I mean, there's a lot to choose from.

  • I'm gonna try one?

  • - Okay. Marshmallow.

  • - I don't know. Uh...

  • You're always questioning, like,

  • "Did I make the right choice," right?

  • Like, initially, I wanted to try pineapple,

  • but then I thought marshmallow,

  • I don't want to miss out on marshmallow, or peach,

  • or blueberry even.

  • If I could choose again, I would probably pick peach.

  • - All right.

  • Pineapple.

  • Very good. It's my favorite fruit.

  • Mmm, I could have had blueberry,

  • which is also one of my favorites.

  • - Uh, kind of an impulse decision.

  • I kind of wish I looked at the whole

  • thing a little bit more. - Yeah.

  • - Maybe I would have picked a better flavor.

  • - So maybe sometimes we're actually

  • happier with fewer choices?

  • In fact, researchers have been

  • exploring this idea for years.

  • According to the famous jam experiment,

  • a study by Sheena Iyengar and Mark Lepper published in 2000,

  • too many similar choices may even stop us

  • from making any choice at all.

  • The study compared two store displays:

  • one with 6 varieties of jam and one with 24.

  • Although fewer consumers stopped to sample jam

  • at the display with limited choices,

  • a full 30% of them made a purchase.

  • By contrast, only 3% of the consumers

  • at the more extensive display

  • actually bought a jar of jam.

  • This is called "Choice paralysis."

  • But life is all about choices.

  • We like having choices.

  • Don't we?

  • Or are we happier

  • when we have no choice at all?

  • [static]

  • Hello, and welcome to "Tea Time Word Scrambles,"

  • the game show where the competition is steep

  • and trouble is always brewing?

  • Some of our contestants will be given a choice

  • of caffeinated black tea or soothing herbal tea.

  • And the others will be given no choice at all.

  • Once the tea takes effect,

  • they'll be asked to unscramble some words.

  • Which contestants will be happier with their performance?

  • Those who have their choice of tea, or those who don't?

  • Let's find out. It's "Tea Time."

  • My name is Michael Stevens, your host today.

  • Let's meet our contestant, Gisele.

  • - Yay! - Nice to meet you, Gisele.

  • - Nice to meet you too.

  • - Tell me a little bit about yourself.

  • - I'm from New York, and I've lived in LA for al--

  • [bell dinging] - Ooh!

  • Gisele, you know what that sound means.

  • - What? - That means it's Tea Time.

  • - Yay! - Go ahead and take a seat

  • in the Tea Seat. - Okay.

  • I like tea.

  • - Well, you're in for a treat, Gisele.

  • - Okay. - Because today you are going

  • to be unscrambling words. - Uh-oh.

  • - A task that requires energy-- - Yeah.

  • - Because there's a time limit, but it also requires focus.

  • - Mm-hmm. Okay. - Steady, calm nerves.

  • - Got it. - And patience.

  • - Yeah. - So,

  • today the choice is yours.

  • You can either have

  • some herbal tea that will keep you calm and focused...

  • - Okay. - Or you can have

  • some black tea that's caffeinated

  • and will give you some energy.

  • - Hmm.

  • I'm gonna go with black. - Black tea?

  • - Yeah. - All right.

  • Go ahead and pour some black tea--

  • you know what? I'll have some too.

  • Mmm, wonderful.

  • Now, what made you pick black tea?

  • - Um, I want to be energized.

  • - Okay. - Yeah.

  • - Here's to you. - Cheers.

  • - Cheers.

  • Mmm. [bell dinging]

  • Whoa, you know what that sound means.

  • It's word scrambling time. - Okay.

  • - Remember, this subject had a free choice

  • of which tea to drink.

  • Will freedom of choice bring her

  • happiness and satisfaction?

  • Gisele, these are your words.

  • - Oh, my God. When do I start?

  • - Well, we're gonna put three minutes on the clock.

  • - Okay. - Go ahead.

  • You can use these steps

  • to access the letters.

  • The goal here is to solve

  • as many as possible within the three minutes.

  • - Got it. - And...go!

  • - [sighs]

  • [playful music]

  • - Starting with word number five.

  • ♪ ♪

  • Gisele has kitten.

  • That looks like it could be the right answer.

  • ♪ ♪

  • - Oh, yeah. - Vacuum.

  • - Uh...

  • Um... - Hearth.

  • Looking good.

  • - Oh, I don't know what this is.

  • Um...

  • [bell dinging] - Oh!

  • And time is up, Gisele. Come on down.

  • And let's take a look at how you did.

  • - Oh. Oh, no. [laughs]

  • - For number one, you got vacuum,

  • which is correct, very good job. - Yay!

  • - Very good job. For number two, hearth.

  • Correct, very good job. - Yay!

  • - Now, number three, you have "Taffrid."

  • - [blows raspberry] - It's a very good word,

  • but it's not one.

  • The actual answer is adrift.

  • - Oh, I was so stuck on that.

  • - Number five, you have kitten.

  • That was the first one you solved, and kitten is correct.

  • - Yay! - Very good job.

  • Now, down here at the bottom,

  • uh, the answer is lounge.

  • You have "Lougne."

  • - Oh! I spelled it wrong! [buzzer blares]

  • - No, we can't accept "Lougne," unfortunately.

  • Well, Gisele, you received

  • one, two, three points. [bell ringing]

  • So, how do you feel you did?

  • - I should've probably had the other tea

  • because then it would have calmed my nerves.

  • I should have chose the other tea.

  • - This subject clearly regrets her choice.

  • The fact that she chose the tea herself

  • gives her the opportunity to second-guess her decision.

  • What about the other subjects

  • who were given freedom of choice?

  • "Noric," we were looking for ironic.

  • - Isn't that ironic? - No, it is not.

  • What we were looking for was hearth.

  • - Hearth? - Adrift.

  • Shroud. - Are these words--

  • actual, real words? - Yeah, they are.