I recently heard of an experiment called the “Tube Dominance Test” and immediately thought about how copywriters could use it to their advantage.

Here’s how the test works:

Researchers put two mice in a tube, facing each other. They meet in the middle and push.

The first mouse that finds herself out of the tube, the end she came from, is determined the loser. The other mouse that pushed her out is the winner.

Image from Stanford medicine.

Image from Stanford medicine.

What’s interesting is what happens to each mouse after a win or loss.

The winners, if put back into a tube dominance test, will be statistically more likely to win a match vs. other mice.

The winners will also be more likely to win in other scenarios — like if they’re placed in a cage with no heat, the winners will dominate the space next to a heater.

What’s really interesting is that even if you help the winner win by pushing her forward, that winner will still be more likely to win in other unaltered scenarios.

The loser, even though they had no chance of winning, will now be a “loser” in other unaltered scenarios.

One theory is that the winners… no matter how they win… are benefiting from forward movement. They are pushing forward, not being pushed backwards. And that forward movement activates chemicals in their brain that help them win in other scenarios.

So… how can we use this information as copywriters?

Well, I’ve talked a lot about it before, but I think a major reason why handwriting sales copy helps copywriters is because it creates small wins.

Your brain perceives that you are moving forward, creating little hits of dopamine.

Try to sit down and write your own words… writing is a massively frustrating endeavor.

You don’t know if what you’re saying is good and will work (produce sales).

You feel like you’re moving backwards.

Handwriting, on the other hand, is an easy task that feels like forward movement. You don’t have to worry if it’s working or not. You don’t have to worry about much besides just hand copying. But when you’re done it feels like a win.

You’re like that mouse getting a free push forward.

So… once you’re out in other scenarios… like when you need to write for yourself… you’re more likely to win.

Your brain chemistry has been primed to be a winner.

Anyway, that’s just one possible explanation of why handwriting works.

If you’re feeling stuck with your own writing, like you’re going backwards, it could be because you don’t have enough “winner juice” flowing through your brain and body.

Try a little hand copying first to get some forward momentum.

Photo by Ricky Kharawala on Unsplash