The result isn't really that surprising, but it's still an interesting finding. According to a recent Dutch experiment, it turns out that the power of suggestion once again can make unsuspecting test subjects talk themselves into seeing something that isn't there—literally, in this case.
The study used a TV set that was accompanied by a super-thick cable running to it and promotional materials hung on the walls. The flyers and posters supported what half the participants were told: that the video clip they were about to watch would have a clearer, sharper image thanks to high-def technology. The other half were told that they were going to see a video clip from a standard-definition DVD. As you might expect, everyone saw the same non-HD clip, and as you might also expect, the half who were told they were seeing a crisp, clear HD image believed, in fact, that they saw a higher-quality image.
Granted that screen size and viewing distance can impact the perception of image quality, the finding might nonetheless help explain why so many people buy HDTVs and yet don't realize they need HD content (via high-def cable or satellite programming, a Blu-ray player, or even over-the-air local HD channels) to get the real benefits from the set. We probably all know someone that falls into that category—if you do, let us know about it in the TalkBack section.
[Via New Scientist]