Top 10 Reasons Why "Top 10" Lists are Popular and Appealing

Top 10 lists are popular and commonly used in everyday life. Sometimes the list might be for a topic in school, where the teacher wants to compile key information for a test. It might be a list of the Top 10 Restaurants in the area that you are visiting (or not visiting if the country is on lockdown). You might be bored at home and want to find something to do. Or you might just be on your device, voting and commenting on lists that may or may not have any usefulness or relevance to what you are doing, but you feel that it is a good way to pass time anyway. Whatever the reason for looking at the list in the first place, there are reasons why a list is more appealing than an essay, or other such mediums. Some of these reasons have physical relevance (such as having to read up on a topic in the 5 minutes before leaving the house) and others are phycological reasons why a list is more appealing to the human brain than a lesson, lecture or long-winded essay.
The Top Ten
1 They are easy to take in

It is easier to take in and remember information in smaller sections rather than in long chunks. This means that it is easier to take in information in a list, where the key information is in a small section. Then, if the reader wishes to gain greater knowledge on any particular section, they can read further - but they do not need to read an essay to find the essential information.

I keep misreading the title as "reason why top 10 lists are appalling".

2 They can be interesting if done well and carefully

Lists have a huge potential for good content. However, a list that is put together hurriedly in 5 minutes will not have the same quality as one where the creator has taken time and experience into their lists. If a list has been thought about carefully and in some situations been researched as well it can create a very interesting bit of content.

If only the user puts a lot of effort into it, then it becomes a interesting list. It can get featured as well.

3 They encourage debate

Normally, a list is not objective fact. This means that it is open to opinion. This difference in opinions means that it inspires debate and allows people to explain their own opinions and others to see the topic from a different point of view and possibly change their own opinion if the argument is give well.

4 It can be interesting to guess what will be on the list

When the brain reads the title of a list, the initial response is often for the person to make an internal decision about which items they believe should be highest on the list, and compare that to what actually is highest. This reaction means that people may have a stronger reaction and will positively promote their own opinion and debate in the topic.

5 They can express opinions

Having an argument with someone you know about what the best song of all time is may not always be the best way to express your opinion. Sometimes, making a list can be much more effective as you are not only saying which your top song is, you are also explaining why and comparing it to other good songs to show why you think that that song is the best, rather than why that song is good, or better than your friends.

To me, 'tis the biggest strength.

6 They are quicker to create than longer pieces of writing

If I were to write an essay about why Romeo and Juliet is a ridiculous and un-realistic play, I (being the aspergirl that I am) would end up wiring a 5-page long repetitive and extremely dull mass of writing. However, it I were to express the same information as a list, I would enable myself to select the key information and more concisely explain its importance - in a much shorter amount of time than it would otherwise have taken. Also, if the task is to write an essay, it can make the process quicker as you already have all the essential information in an easy-to-read form and you can efficiently convert it into an essay of a higher quality.

7 You can skim lists

When you only have a short time in which to find information, lists are really helpful because although they may contain a lot of information, the key information is short and concise, meaning that to find the essential information, you only need to skim read the points - the explanation only needs to be used to gain further detail on points.

8 Ten is a psychologically satisfying number
9 Lists bring order to chaos (normally)

Normally, a clear and concise list can clearly organise and present opinions tidily. Of course, lists that are highly based on opinion and less actual facts often do end up as a jumble polar opposite opinions, but normally, they do bring more order than there would other wise have been.

10 The human brain wants to be proved right

When you go onto a list, you generally have your own opinion of what you want to be no.1 on the list. And, if that item turns out to be no.1, the human brain has a conscious or unconscious sense of pride, and the belief that they are correct. For this reason, going on to a list where the items are similar to what you thought and believed they should be can actually be good for self-esteem - as you have been 'proved' to be correct

The Contenders
11 We are lazy

The human brain instinctively wants the easiest and most efficient way to complete action. The finding and learning of information is one of such actions. A list (particularly numbered ones like Top 10 lists) is a very efficient method, and therefore an environment which is comfortable and somewhat more enjoyable than others.

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