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Human Observation

In: Social Issues

Submitted By geszsikah
Words 1656
Pages 7
Wrong Number
On 26 April 2013, I completed the test phase of my human observation project. I got the idea for my project after I received a phone call from a lady who misdialed and accidently called me rather than her son. When I answered the phone she seemed surprised to hear a woman’s voice and she was extremely polite. What should have been a thirty second phone call that ended with “wrong number” was in reality almost a three minute conversation. I realized that her calm, apologetic, happy tone in her voice, encouraged me to be remain calm and tell her that it was not an inconvenience at all when in reality I was in the middle of a math test. After we finished our conversation I realized I could use this honest mistake to influence my human observation project. Due to my current state it is hard for me to get out of the house without assistance, which makes it a little difficult to observe people. I decided to call random people from the phone book and observe their response to a misdialed phone call. Have you ever watched someone who was getting a phone call from an unknown phone number? Did they answer the phone? Were they frustrated or pleasant during the unexpected call. Research has demonstrated that people are more willing to return a phone call if the unknown caller is calm and polite, also if the call was received at a reasonable hour of the day. Furthermore, the receiver of the call will reflect the attitude of the caller. A receint poll showed that 70% of people will not answer a phone call if they do not know who is calling (Daily Kos, 2011). Of the people who do not answer the phone more people will return a phone call simply to let a caller know they dialed the wrong number if the caller calls in the mid afternoon, speaks in a soft voice and is well mannered. Around 5:00 pm more people will answer their phone for an unknown caller than late in the evening such as around 11:30 pm or mid morning 9:00 am. Receivers of the misdialed phone call will reflect the caller’s attitude. If the caller is soft spoken, calm and apologetic, the receiver of the phone call will mimic that attitude. If the caller is loud and impolite the caller will become angry.
To start my observation project 30 random phone numbers were selected. These numbers were chosen by opening the phone book and calling every tenth number after the first name that started with the letter B. The first 10 phone numbers at 09:30 am on 26 April 2013.When the dialed number did not answer the phone a voice mail message was left saying “Hello, Jake Walters it’s Jess. I just wanted to catch up and see how you and the family are. I miss you guys. Lots of love. Call back when ya get the chance.” In the nicest voice I could. Jake Walters is a fictional name made up for this observation project. The odds a fellow named Jake Walters having a phone number that was randomly selected was assumed to be extremely slim. If the phone was answered; “Oh, I’m sorry I must have misdialed. Isn’t this Jake Walters’s phone?” was stated in a polite and apologetic tone. This was repeated with ten additional phone numbers at 5:00 pm and 11:30pm. As the phone calls were made a record of which numbers answered and weather they sounded upset or nice while we were on the phone was kept.
Of the 30 phone calls that were made 20 were not answered. This result shows that 66% of the selected population did not answer a phone call from an unknown number. Only 10 unknown phone calls were answered. Of the calls that were answered 3 were answered at 9:00 am, 6 were answered at 5:00 pm and 1 was answered at 11:30 pm. This result shows that 60% of unknown phone calls were answered at 5:00 pm. This is the greatest number of answered calls. Furthermore, of the 20 calls that were not answered 8 called back to say inform me that I called the wrong number, 4 of which were called at 5:00 pm. Therefore, 50% of the receivers of the wrong number called back from the 5:00 pm call. Opposed to 25% call back from the 09:30 am group and the 11:30 pm group. All the subjects who answered their phone seemed nice, the tone in their voice lead me to believe that they were not angry about the misdialed number. Some apologized that there was an issue reaching Jake Walters. This research indicated that people are more likely to answer their phone for an unknown phone number in the mid afternoon and are more likely to call back if the call was received in the mid afternoon. INSERT GRAPH
Research suggests that people are more likely to answer an unknown callers call around 5:00 pm. This study was somewhat difficult to observe the true responses to the wrong number. Conducting an observation project over the phone is not an ideal situation. People can express one thought verbally while their body language displays a completely different tone. Also, on a random Wednesday morning a lot of people are at work or school at 9:00 am, which could attribute to them not being able to answer their phone.
It was observed that people who called back or answered the phone all seemed to not be bothered by the misdial. None of the people spoken with raised their voice, or sounded angry on the phone. What happens if the person making the phone call is loud and impolite? Will this change the outcome of how many people return the phone call? Will an angry caller make the people who receive the phone call angry as well?
To answer these questions further research was conducted using the same experiment but it was slightly altered to observe the reaction of people. Whoever receives a misdialed number will not be as polite if the caller is rude. Also, less people who do not answer initially will return the call simply to state that a wrong number was dialed. The callers who do call back will be angrier than the previous people who returned the call.
People tend to become angry when they are talking to a person who seems to be angry. Less people will return the call of a misdialed number for an angry caller opposed to a nice caller. If people do call back they will not be polite.
To test this theory the same method outlined above was used to select 30 addition phone numbers. The observation began by selecting the first 10 phone numbers and calling them at 09:30 am on 25 April 2013.The next set of ten phone numbers was called at 5:00 pm and the last group was called 11:30 pm the same day. If the phone calls were not answered a voice message was left saying “Jake Walters! Call me back! Enough is enough already!”. When the calls were answered the receiver heard “Where’s Jake!?!”. When the calls were answered and when messages were left the tone in my voice was angry. Speaking fast and loud to make the receiver of the calls think I was in a bad mood. Again, a log was kept of what number was called, recording whether or not they answered and the tone in their voice when faced with the aggressive caller, also, if they returned the phone call.
On 25 April 2013, of the 30 calls made 22 were not answered. On this day only 8 calls were answered when an unknown phone number called. Of these 8, 2 answered from the 9:00 am group, 5 answered form the 5:00 pm group and only one answered at 11:30 pm. This study shows that 73% of people did not answer their phone for an unknown phone number. Also 62% of the calls that were answered were at 5:00 pm. Furthermore, of the 22 calls that were not answered 3 people called back. These three people spoke loudly and were extremely annoyed by the misdial. Again, this research indicates that people will answer their phone for an unknown number around 5:00 pm. It also shows that people are reluctant to return a call to a hostial unknown caller.
Research suggests that people are more likely to answer an unknown caller’s call around 5:00 pm. It also shows that people are reluctant to return a call to an unknown caller, if even to tell them they dialed the wrong number, when the caller seems to be angry. As with the first part of this observation project samples were taken on days of the week when people could have school or work. Also, research suggests that people will be angered by receiving a call from a person who is angry. Only a small sample was chosen for the study which can under/over represent an entire population. Also, it was assumed that most people have caller ID or their phone displays the phone number of a caller.
The results of this research indicate that people are more likely to answer an unknown phone number around 5:00 pm. Also, the amount of people who returned the phone call was much greater when the caller sounded nice than when the caller sounded angry. Which suggests that people wanted to avoid a verbal confrontation with the caller.

Works Cited
Daily Kos: POLL: Do you answer "unknown callers" on your CELLPHONE?. (n.d.). Retrieved from

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