Pop psychology research reveals the secret of Eurovision success

Call it pop psychology, but research indicates that our chances of winning the Eurovision song contest are influenced by whether we appear in the semi-final and where we lie in the running order.

In fact, researcher Derek Laffan believes enlisting the help of a psychologist may in fact boost our chance of winning Europe’s biggest cheesefest.

Mr Laffan will present his case at the annual conference of the Psychological Society of Ireland in Kilkenny under the heading ‘We’re the best at it, but we don’t care about it: The not-so-loving relationship between Irish psychology and the Eurovision Song Contest’.

Mr Laffan, a cyber-psychology researcher at Dún Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design and Tech-nology, said his analysis of psychology in the Euro-vision found the “mere exposure effect” was beneficial for performers.

Countries who appeared in the semi-final triggered a more favourable reaction among viewers and voters in the grand final because they were more familiar with the song by then.

“If we’ve seen something before, we react more favourably next time,” Mr Laffan said.

By this argument, bigger countries such as France, Spain, Italy, and Britain, able to buy their way into the final by contributing towards the cost of staging the competition, were in fact doing themselves a disservice, he said.

Being in the second rather than the first semi-final also appeared to be an advantage, Mr Laffan said, based on an analysis of results since the semi-final has been staged over two nights. This may be linked to the fact that the second semi-final tends to have higher viewership figures.


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