Pranks rely on our automatic response system, anchored by associative memory.
When a bearded guy dressed in a thobe and keffiyeh throws a bag at you, the automatic response is to run (flight), and who can blame those who run? The media has provided enough anchors to associate that scenario with an automatic flight reaction.
When a guy walks in on his girlfriend moaning under the sheets, he dives in with blows, only to realise it’s just the two of them in the room. Who can blame him? Movies have provided enough anchors to associate that scenario with an automatic fight reaction.
If a prank works on you, it is because you have an associative memory that triggers an automatic reaction – fight or flight.
Most pranks end with a good laugh. Some go horribly wrong. But in the end, pranks are a form of illusion.
What you see is not all there is.
– Osasu Oviawe