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Most common cognitive biases?

Most common cognitive biases?



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I'm an amateur student of cognitive biases and psychological traps and have been reading some of the work of Kahneman, Tversky, Gilovich et al. along with more popular books like Cialdini's "Influence." Has any work has been done on which of the cognitive biases/shortcomings are the most prevalent and widespread?

In layman's terms, I'm trying to answer the question: which behavioral traps are the most common? I'm aware that this is a loaded question in that different sociocultural influences can have a huge impact on what is "common". Any pointers much appreciated! Thanks.


This question is not answerable without having a measure of what the most common day-to-day scenarios are. However, I can try a guess: since most people interact in a public, anonymous setting on a daily basis, I would think the fundamental attribution error is most probable. This is especially true while driving -- "did that idiot just cut me off?!"

However, my estimation of fundamental attribution error as the most common cognitive bias may itself be an instance of availability heuristic.


Confirmation Bias

We tend to look for information that confirms what we believe. This is referred to as confirmation bias, and is precisely what gets us mired in our current beliefs. Our minds seek information that supports what we think, so it is hard to adopt new thoughts and beliefs. Conspiracy theorists are a perfect example of this. They often twist facts and disregard that which challenges their theories. They seek evidence that confirms their assumptions and, sure enough, they manage to find plenty of it. That said, not every conspiracy theory is automatically wrong.


Most common cognitive biases? - Psychology

Cognitive bias in marketing research is not new. However, the study of how cognitive bias impacts decision making has gained popularity in recent years thanks to publications including Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Khneman and Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely. At W5, we have to how consider cognitive bias can affect how we design, understand, and analyze data.

What Is Cognitive Bias?
A cognitive bias is a mistake in reasoning, evaluating, remembering, or other cognitive process, often occurring as a result of holding onto one’s preferences and beliefs regardless of contrary information. Psychologists study cognitive biases as they relate to memory, reasoning, and decision-making.

Business Insider rounded up the most common biases that mess up our decision making to remind us that we make thousands of rational decisions every day—or so we think. Which cognitive bias are you guilty of?

Samantha Lee/Business Insider

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For more in-depth information on pricing analyses, W5 recommends Conjoint Analysis.

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Product and Positioning Concept Testing provides insight on how a product, service, or branding can cut through competitor offerings to fit consumers’ needs and desires. Thorough and strategic testing of proposed concepts will ensure success by identifying consumers’ rationale for specific likes and dislikes.

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The identification of different consumer groups in the market is a powerful tool for identifying target audience characteristics beyond basic demographics and category behaviors. W5 views Segmentation as the study of consumers’ responses to specific attitudinal, behavioral, psychographic, and category- and brand-related questions. During analysis, consumers with similar attitudes and thought processes are bundled together to create an audience ‘segment.’

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Online Discussions are comprised of relatively new qualitative research tools that can provide broader access to participants (over both time and geographic areas) without limiting the quality or type of feedback.

These conversations can take place as Bulletin Boards, Online Journals/Diaries, or webcam-enabled IDIs or Focus Groups. The online platform incorporates rich response and reaction tools that allow participants to communicate via text, simple surveys, images, or video. This enables W5 to employ an activity-based approach to asking research questions where participants not only tell you, but show you how they behave and think.

Clients can also be more involved by observing responses in real-time, suggesting follow-up questions as they happen, contributing to an ongoing discussion among observers, and tagging responses to highlight in reporting.

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Mobile Ethnography is one of the most flexible research tools available, allowing W5 to connect with a wide array of participants spread across time zones and geography via a smartphone app or mobile platform.

Mobile Ethnography allows researchers to virtually accompany consumers in their natural environment. Throughout the process, W5 integrates mobile-enabled activities to increase consumer engagement and generate insight. This may include exploring product usage, daily rituals, shopping experiences, etc. by capturing media and providing feedback in real-time.

Mobile Ethnography is an efficient and minimally invasive way for consumers to share their thoughts and experiences―a multi-sensory landscape of a consumer’s world that can help you:

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Before your brand messaging meets the market, qualitative research can provide valuable feedback to ensure relevance. Message Development research can be conducted throughout the process to develop initial ideas, test individual ideas/campaign concepts, or evaluate campaign material or concepts for consistency.

W5 uses both online and in-person approaches to evaluate messaging. In-person approaches benefit from a flexible forum for developing ideas or exploring initial reactions, while online approaches can incorporate evaluation tools such as heat mapping that identify positive and negative associations with specific elements.

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  • Assess the clarity and resonance of specific messaging elements

In-Depth Interviewing (IDI) is an intimate conversation between a moderator and an individual or small group of participants. It is a preferred approach when research topics are sensitive or more detailed feedback is needed.

Semi-structured, the approach allows conversations to flow naturally, with the spirit of the conversation guiding the questioning and its order. W5 views IDIs as offering several methodological advantages including building a strong rapport and leading to more detailed and evocative feedback. The approach is often direct and focused, with minimal distractions, allowing for more genuine, thoughtful responses.

In-Depth Interviews can help you:

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  • Connect with unique, specialized populations to discuss a specific subject in-depth
  • Explore sensitive or emotional topics inappropriate for community discussion
  • Understand complex elements of a client product or service from the experience of a sophisticated end user

Focus Groups, a moderated discussion held with pre-recruited participants, are the most widely used and familiar qualitative research tool. They are especially powerful for conducting exploratory research, messaging evaluations, product development, or brand positioning and strategy research.

Their familiarity does not mean they are a tired approach. W5 incorporates creative exercises and activities to challenge participants to think critically and creatively about research questions. New technologies feature a host of multimedia tools that further creative thinking.

Focus Groups can help you:

  • Conduct a broad exploration of consumer opinions
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  • Test products, concepts, or campaigns to receive nuanced feedback

Executive Interviews are in-depth, one-on-one discussions with professionals, often in specialized industries or roles. Unlike consumer interviews, they require qualitative researchers attuned to industry language and practices who can approach the conversation with an understanding of their specialization and tie their perspectives back to the research goals.

W5 approaches executive or professional interviews by staying flexible in both timing and means of communication, conducted via telephone, webcam, or in-person to accommodate participants’ schedules.

Executive interviewing can help you:

  • Develop branded marketing and communications that resonate with targeted professional audiences
  • Adapt products and services to address pain points and meet market needs
  • Design new retention strategies to support long-term customer engagement
  • Outline the position of a product or service within the competitive landscape

Consumer Journey maps are tools for visualizing how people interact with your brand, most often in the realm of retail and/or online shopping experiences. These maps diagram each interaction with key behaviors, considerations, and potential barriers that lie between an initial trigger to consider and final purchase.

Qualitative research is instrumental in capturing the defining moments of the process. W5 designs Consumer Journey research to be immersive, incorporating in-person or mobile ethnographic approaches to shadow the consumer during each step in the process. The learning that comes from better understanding the experience as a whole can help you identify specific pain points and barriers and create a strategy to connect with consumers at the most opportunistic touchpoints.

Consumer Journey maps can help you:

  • Understand the myriad of touchpoints consumers encounter in an often complicated journey to purchase
  • Highlight opportunities to increase consumer satisfaction and drive future consideration

Ethnography is a qualitative research approach that produces a real-world understanding of how lifestyle, culture, behavior, subconscious motivations, and social context influence product selection and brand interaction.

Ethnography is immersive, putting researchers in the consumers’ world to observe how they behave and interact with their environment and how they feel about the experience. W5 ethnographers can expertly evaluate consumer behavior in detail, identifying meaningful patterns and themes that emerge from their explicit and implicit attitudes and needs. Ethnographic research can take place anywhere (home, store, restaurant, etc.) and employs a mix of virtual and in-person approaches.

  • Understand a specific culture or subgroup of consumers in great detail
  • Observe and identify new contexts for product use, branding, or communication
  • Identify uncommon consumer insights that are simply inaccessible without closer access and engagement with your audience

Concept Development begins with an idea and ends in your consumers’ hands as a product or service. Concept Development research ensures the final result meets their expectations and needs.

Initial exploratory research helps create empathy and understanding of consumers’ specific needs. From there, the customer can become part of your development team, providing qualitative feedback with each iteration. By embracing Concept Development qualitative research, you are embracing a customer-centric design process that will make for more successful product launches.

W5’s Concept Development and evaluation research can help you:

  • Develop new ideas or technologies
  • Better understand why specific products struggle
  • Refresh existing products to better meet customer needs

Brand Positioning is a strategy to identify competitive advantages and help your brand connect with the right people, in the right way, at the right time. It assumes your brand and competitors occupy the same “space” based on subtle differences in audiences’ rational and emotional preferences. Exploratory, iterative, and interpretive, qualitative Brand Positioning research is ideally suited for understanding these nuances. W5 can help you uncover both rational reasons for brand preferences as well as hard-to-define emotional factors.

With knowledge of your current position and what’s important to your audience, you can clarify your brand’s meaning and adopt positioning strategies that offer long-term strategic value.


The 5 cognitive psychology biases that are affecting user testing and how to avoid them

Cognitive psychology is a form of psychological study which focuses on mental processes. Within this, there are patterns of behaviour called cognitive biases. These biases negatively affect the way in which an individual acts, often leading to the creation of a more “socially acceptable” version of themselves.

When running testing with users, these cognitive biases can affect the way testers act and respond to tasks, which can affect both the data produced and any research results. This isn’t good!

To combat this, I’ve put together a list of the five most common cognitive biases that affect user testing and some simple suggestions of how to overcome them:

#1 - The Framing Effect:

The framing effect can be an easy mistake to make when conducting user testing, as it concerns the way we phrase questions. People do not like making decisions independently subsequently, they take cues from the environment to make a judgement on how they should act and respond.

To demonstrate, we may ask a tester: “What are the positives of this product?”. Asking in this manner leads the individual to only discuss only the favourable aspects of the product. Additionally, this can also cause a knock-on effect, with the respondent more likely to only discuss things in a more positive light for the remainder of your interaction.

A more appropriate question would be: “How do you feel about this product?”. The nature of this question enables the individual to be much more open with their feedback, and empowers an increased likelihood of yielding unbiased results.

#2 - Confirmation Bias:

This bias is a fault of the researcher. Naturally, humans are likely only to use information that supports their viewpoint.

hedgehog lab UX Researcher, Laura McKay, hard at work!

Confirmation bias can be introduced when we’re designing tests. Researchers may include leading questions (cough *framing effect* cough) in their procedure, or could even neglect to scrutinise information that goes against their hypothesis.

To avoid this, researchers must remember that their overarching aim is to learn from users. Whether results validate the researcher's initial point of view is irrelevant. Unbiased data does not lie, and researchers often find they learn more from what they hadn't thought about than what they had.

#3 - Social Desirability Bias:

Typically everyone wants to fit in with others, to make friends and create bonds with other people. However, this can cause issues in user testing, introducing the potential of research participants providing answers that are more acceptable to other testers. This prevents researchers from hearing the actual views of all taking part.

Being honest is being the hedgehog.

Social desirability bias is often prevalent in focus groups. If a question is asked which could lead to controversial opinions being aired, some participants may not wish to disclose their true feelings, and instead go with the general feeling of the group. Ultimately, this prevents the researcher from obtaining a true data set.

To overcome this, some choose only to conduct 1-to-1 interviews. However, focus groups can still be used provided that researchers reassure participants before commencing a session. They should also clearly state that there are no right or wrong answers, encouraging as many diverse opinions as possible.

#4 - Fundamental Attribution Error

This error relates to the tendency of individuals to focus on personal characteristics when something goes wrong. We have a habit of attributing blame to someone else's behaviour instead of analysing the whole situation and correctly assigning the problem.

It's important to pay attention to how users are interacting with the product.

In testing, we see this when a user tells a researcher that they made a mistake while working through the research procedure. This may then be recorded as user mistake as opposed to an issue with the tech, as it is a common misconception that issues are human error as opposed to a design problem.

To compensate for this type of cognitive bias, researchers should be vigilant to what the user is doing and provide the participant with continued reassurance. The blame of human misuse is all too common, while reports of ill-fitting design remain low. Accordingly, it is essential that the user understands they're not doing anything wrong by pointing out any issues they are having, or flaws in the design.

#5 - Clustering Illusion Bias

A final frequent cognitive bias is another that the researcher is guilty of. The clustering illusion works for the human desire to organise and group things. The bias occurs when researchers identify a pattern in the data, ignoring everything else that the data set shows.

Knowledge of psychology helps us avoid introducing bias when conducting user research.

This can be demonstrated in user research collection when the researcher assumes that, because 5 people have liked a feature, everyone will have liked it. In a sample of five this would be the case. However, from a sample of 30, the same conclusions cannot be drawn.

To avoid this bias, the researcher should ensure that they consider all evidence equally and think about the why. Are the results a factor of the sample size, demographics, questions, or any other variable? Researchers can also tackle this bias by working collaboratively when analysing data. When working as a pair, these simple groupings become less noticeable.

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Political Extremists Are Less Susceptible to Common Cognitive Bias

People who occupy the extreme ends of the political spectrum, whether liberal or conservative, may be less influenced by outside information on a simple estimation task than political moderates, according to research published in Psychological Science.

The research, conducted by psychological scientists Mark J. Brandt and Anthony Evans of Tilburg University and Jarret T. Crawford of The College of New Jersey, suggests that because political extremists hold their own beliefs to be superior to the beliefs of others, they may be more resistant to the so-called anchor bias, even for non-political information.

“Political differences really drive a wedge between people, and previous research has shown that people on the political extremes are more likely to perceive large partisan differences and political polarization and to be intolerant of people with different political beliefs,” says Brandt, who led the research.

“Some describe extremists as having some sort of mental deficiency that leads them to latch onto extreme political positions, while others describe extremists as having particularly strident and confident beliefs,” explains Brandt. “We wanted to know which one of these possibilities seemed to be more likely.”

To find out, Brandt and colleagues employed a commonly used anchoring task, in which participants are asked to make an estimate after being given an anchor number. For example, participants may be asked: “The distance between New York and San Francisco is greater than 2,000 miles. How far is it?”

Research has shown that the anchor number greatly influences participants’ estimates — that is, people work up or down from the number provided, making final guesses that are closer to the anchor. People who start with large anchor numbers end up with overly high estimates, and vice versa for people who start with small anchor numbers.

The task is politically neutral, and so it provides a tool for teasing apart the two competing characterizations of extremists. If political extremists take a relatively unthinking approach, then they’re likely to rely on heuristics in making decisions and their estimates will be close to the anchor number. If, however, extremists are especially thoughtful and confident decision makers, they should produce estimates that are farther away from the anchor.

For the first experiment, the researchers analyzed data originally collected as part of the Many Labs project, examining data from 4,846 participants drawn from 25 samples of participants in the United States. All of the participants answered four anchor-related questions — some were randomly assigned to receive low anchors (e.g., distance is longer than 1,500 miles) and others were assigned to receive high anchors (e.g., distance is shorter than 6,000 miles) for a given question.

In general, the anchors provided by the experimenters influenced participants’ estimates, in line with many previous studies.

But the data also showed that participants’ ideology and attitudes played an important role: People who were ideologically more extreme and who reported more extreme attitudes on specific political issues produced estimates that were farther away from the anchors, suggesting greater resistance to the anchor bias.

A second experiment confirmed these findings and revealed a potential mediating factor: belief superiority. People who were more extreme in ideology and political attitudes also reported stronger support for the idea that their beliefs were superior to those of others. And people who reported greater belief superiority, in turn, produced estimates that were farther from the anchor.

Importantly, the results couldn’t be explained by participants’ level of education or their so-called need for “cognitive closure.” Furthermore, the results were similar when the direction of the anchor was specified and when it was unspecified (e.g., Is the population of Chicago more less or than 200,000?).

“These findings suggest that political extremists may make more confident judgments and are not necessarily unthinkingly relying on heuristics,” says psychological scientist and lead researcher Mark J. Brandt of Tilburg University in the Netherlands.

While previous work has often found personality and cognitive differences between liberals and conservatives, this new research shows a consistent effect of political extremity.

“We aren’t sure why there are differences between liberals and conservatives in some situations, but not in others — this will be a useful puzzle to solve in the future,” says Brandt.

All data and materials have been made publicly available via the Open Science Framework and can be accessed at https://osf.io/pqf9r/ . The complete Open Practices Disclosure for this article can be found at http://pss.sagepub.com/content/by/supplemental-data .

This article has received badges for Open Data and Open Materials. More information about the Open Practices badges can be found at https://osf.io/tvyxz/wiki/view/ and http://pss.sagepub.com/content/25/1/3.full .

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For more information about this research, please contact study author:
Mark J. Brandt


20 Cognitive Biases That Affect Your Beliefs, Behavior, And Decisions

Believe it or not, we make about 35,000 decisions every single day. Many of those choices don’t seem to require much thought, but there’s a large number of biases affecting our good judgement.

Cognitive biases are ways of thinking that affect beliefs, behavior, and decision-making. Psychologists have identified a long list of these biases. Twenty of the most common ones are detailed in an infographic below, created by Business Insider.

Don’t think you experience cognitive biases? Think again. That’s a bias in itself, called “blind-spot bias,” or when you fail to realize you’re being affected.

Other cognitive biases listed on the infographic include why we ignore dangerous information, why we’re too confident in our abilities, and why we expect situations to be easier than they really are.

Four of the problems that biases help address are when there’s too much information, not enough meaning, a need to act fast, and understanding what we should remember, according to a comprehensive cheat sheet of cognitive biases.

These biases are helpful to understand our own thought processes and they are also often used as marketing techniques.

There’s hundreds of cognitive biases, but this infographic details 20 of the most common ones. Photo courtesy of Business Insider


Common theoretical causes of some cognitive biases

  • Bounded rationality – limits on optimization and rationality
  • Attribute substitution – making a complex, difficult judgment by unconsciously substituting an easier judgment [ 47 ]
  • Attribution theory, especially:
    • Salience
    • Impression management
    • Self-perception theory
    • Availability heuristic – estimating what is more likely by what is more available in memory, which is biased toward vivid, unusual, or emotionally charged examples [ 32 ]
    • Representativeness heuristic – judging probabilities on the basis of resemblance [ 32 ]
    • Affect heuristic – basing a decision on an emotional reaction rather than a calculation of risks and benefits [ 48 ]

    Heuristic Thinking

    We define a heuristic as a shortcut for active mental processes. As such, it is a measure that saves or rations our mental resources. Given that our cognitive (mental) capacity is limited, we divide up our resources. Usually we dedicate most of it to things (worries, activities, people, etc.) that take the greatest amount of mental effort.

    It is easy to go along without paying any attention. However, if the path is rough and we believe we might fall, we employ more of our cognitive resources. We pay attention and look where w’re going.


    COGNITIVE BIASES IMPACTING AUDITORS

    Research in psychology suggests that factors in the audit setting create cognitive biases that can reduce the auditor's likelihood of following up on client explanations with additional evidence. Cognitive biases represent often unconscious, systemic influences affecting how individuals gather and interpret information when forming judgments and decisions. Identifying these unconscious biases can aid professionals in counteracting the potential "pitfalls" arising during the explanation - corroboration process of the audit. While auditors are susceptible to many types of unconscious bias, we specifically focus on three that regulators and researchers suggest are common influences, increasing the likelihood that the auditor accepts an explanation without additional corroborating evidence.

    Many audit judgments are made with significant uncertainty, and research indicates that auditors who evaluate management explanations for "reasonableness" may be less likely to follow up and corroborate with additional information. The answers are not always in a stark black - and - white format. Psychology research finds that these types of judgments open the door for motivated reasoning bias that can sway the auditor toward accepting the client's preferred conclusions.

    Motivated reasoning bias is a well - documented phenomenon describing an unconscious bias in which individuals interpret information in a manner that is consistent with their own goals. For an auditor, these goals can include improving client relations as well as trying to meet budget objectives. Suppose that an auditor is over budget in a particular area and asks a client for an explanation regarding an account fluctuation. Motivated reasoning theory suggests that in the absence of supporting evidence, auditors are more likely to convince themselves that the client's explanation is reasonable without actually finding supporting evidence. Further, the unstructured benchmark of the auditor reasonableness judgments opens the door for other factors like source credibility of the client, complex business environments, and the nature of auditors' listening activity to influence auditor judgment.

    Source credibility and complex business environments

    If an auditor considers the client highly credible, then he or she is more likely to rely on the client's explanations. In their book chapter titled "Attitude Change: Multiple Roles for Persuasion Variables," pages 323—390 found in Handbook of Social Psychology (1998), Richard Petty and Duane Wegener explain that source credibility has two components — expertise and trustworthiness — and each component has a different effect on the auditors' likelihood of accepting an explanation. Expertise relates to the messengers' level of knowledge about a particular subject. Not surprisingly, when a message source is considered trustworthy, the message becomes more persuasive.

    The auditor's vulnerability to source credibility bias may increase when the client's business environment is complex. In accordance with Professional Standards (e.g., AU - C §330, Performing Audit Procedures in Response to Assessed Risks and Evaluating the Audit Evidence Obtained), auditors are required to understand the operational aspects of their client's business and how these operations interact with the industry and the overall economy. This includes understanding how these industry and macroeconomic forces interact and flow down to the client level to affect the risk of material misstatement.

    While gaining this understanding may seem straightforward, understanding the sometimes complex interactions can be challenging. Consider, for example, a client that is a fast - growing franchising company specializing in pastries. This client often assists its franchisees with the purchase of a franchise by extending a note receivable. Further, suppose that the client's pastries become so popular that the market becomes saturated with outlets selling its products. This market oversaturation, particularly when combined with changing customer preferences, creates risk to the client as the franchisees begin to struggle to sell their product and perhaps default on loans made by the client. The financial statement impact becomes apparent as the franchisee - related notes receivable may be impaired. Additionally, rapid growth can lead to other qualitative factors, such as a decline in product quality, that also affect sales. While the risks associated with this type of growth may seem intuitive when spelled out clearly in a narrative, in the real world, the auditors would have to gather this operational information themselves and understand these risks as well as recognize how the risks affect the likelihood of material misstatement.

    The nature of the auditors' listening activity

    In "The Effect of Client Lies on Auditor Memory Resistance and False Memory Acceptance," Auditing: A Journal of Practice & Theory, Vol. 35, Issue 3, page 33 (August 2016), Billy E. Brewster (who is also a co - author of this article) finds evidence suggesting that the very nature of the audit experience can increase the auditors' susceptibility to persuasive client explanations. When auditors are trained to interview their clients, they are naturally expected to listen carefully to the explanation.

    Listening closely and carefully is taught in the classroom and suggested in Professional Standards. However, Brewster finds that when auditors do not have a well - developed understanding of the client and its operating environment, the careful listening process may actually embed client lies in the auditor's memory. Hence, not only are these auditors less likely to identify client lies when evaluating client explanations, when subsequently prompted to recall the related information, they will recall the embedded client lies instead of their own previously constructed accurate facts.


    Most Common Cognitive Biases Visualised & Explained

    There used to be a generic belief that humans are completely rational. It is easily understandable why a belief like this was popular. People want to think of themselves as rational because anything else would get them out of our comfort zones. It would be frustrating to know that our choices do not derive from a logical assumption of our personal decision making process but as an outcome of uncontrolled, unconscious processes. We want to think that we are rational because this is the rational thing to believe.

    I have used a past tense in the paragraph above because after the recent Richard Thaler’s recent Nobel prize, the field of behavioral economics has started to reach a mainstream status. It is now pretty much common knowledge that the judgements, choices and decisions we make are not always in our complete control. We make many decisions in the blink of an eye, whilst on other occasions it is external factors that affect our decision making process like for example what the majority of people thinks about a specific topic. Approximately over 90% of our decision-making takes place in the subconscious mind.

    Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky, psychologists and “fathers” of behavioral economics, were the first to develop theories about heuristics and cognitive biases. Heuristics are these subconscious mental shortcuts that form our beliefs and judgments for various instances in our daily life and cognitive biases are the systematic errors which come out as result of our heuristics. A short and representative example is the so called irrational value assessment. If you pay a lot for a bottle of wine you have never drunk before, you will probably like it much more than if you paid just a few dollars.

    I find cognitive biases one of the most interesting subjects out there. I find it extremely engaging to try to remember when was the last time that I made an irrational decision due to some “uncontrolled” factors. But most of all, it is really interesting to see the “big picture” and assess how these biases affect the decision making not only of individuals but of large scale organizations and policies.

    Below you can find the most common cognitive biases (or at least the ones that the scientific community has identified) along with some great visuals (by the amazingly talented Panagiotis Pantazis) and short descriptions.

    Anchoring: Focus On Something You Know

    Value is often set by anchors in our minds which we use as mental reference points, influencing our decision-making no matter how arbitrary the anchors may be.

    A group of people was asked to name the last 2 digits of their social security number, and then they were asked how much they would pay for a bottle of wine. Those whose last 2 digits were above 80 were willing to spend $20 more than those whose last two digits were less than 20.

    Chunking: Offer Small, Well-Defined Tasks

    Small, individual tasks are far less daunting than big ones. The way in which tasks are presented and broken down affects how motivated we are to start and finish them.

    RyanAir chunks the whole purchasing process. They lock you in with a low “seat price”, getting you excited about your trip. Then, once you have decided where to go, you begin to form a mental commitment. Once this happens, it’s very unlikely that you will change your mind about the purchase, so it’s here that they start to add the extra charges in bite-sized “chunks”. By the time you get to the full cost of your flight, you have put so much effort into the booking process, that you would rather complete the purchase at a cost significantly higher than the initial seat price.

    Commitment: The Power Of A Public Pledge

    The more public our stance, the less willing we are to change it. People will often go through with acts that they hold private reservations about if they have committed to them publicly. There are numerous cases of public figures having tweeted something and then acting in a way that conflicts with what they had said. This ALWAYS creates controversies in the public sphere.

    A Finnish cable company offered new customers a discount if they were willing to dig the trench from their home to the street for their new cable connection. Months later, they found out that those customers who had participated in digging the trench were far less likely to disconnect their cable service than control groups. Admitting that they were wrong by cutting off their service would be both psychologically and socially painful.

    Commitment: The Power Of Personal Investment

    The more involved people are in creating something, the better they feel about the end product. this can lead to self-constructed items or products being valued more highly by the person who made it.

    IKEA customers are emotionally attached with the pieces of furniture they have assembled together because they see a little piece of them in each one of them.

    Consistency: We Behave In Accordance With Our Self-Image

    We act in accordance with our beliefs about who we are. However, our self-image is not as set in stone as we would like to believe, and so by altering it, behavior can be affected too.

    Every time a new customer walks into a jewelry store, he is offered a glass of champagne. By this way, customers consider themselves as consumers of luxury products and they are much more willing to buy an expensive jewelry to match their created self-image.

    Social Proofing: The power of social influence

    We are herd animals and make decisions based on what those around us are doing. We often justify our choices like this, validating them on the basis that others were following a similar course of action.

    The phenomenon of social proofing has hundreds of applications in daily life. Especially in the social media era that we all live in, brands design their campaigns based on the notion that consumers will unconsciously follow what other users will post/tweet/upload.

    Hyperbolic Discounting: The Power Of Now

    We have an overwhelming preference for immediate payoffs over later ones. Even if, in absolute terms, the later payoff is “better”, we are addicted to “now” and we consistently choose fun things now over things that are good for us in the future.

    You can see the power of hyperbolic discounting in your daily life. Taking for example the hours you spend at your office, check how many times you have interrupted a project to check your Facebook or Twitter. You think that spending 20 seconds will do no harm and then you will be able to continue your project like before but this is utterly wrong. You will probably click on a posted link, comment on a photo, attend an event, fav a tweet etc.

    Hyperbolic Discounting: Make The First Step Easy

    People do what’s “easy now”, even if their procrastination means that they will have to suffer more down the line. Our strong preference to avoid things that are effortful now, regardless of their long-term benefit, makes it really hard to sell complex products that are of strategic, rather than immediate importance.

    Priming: The Derren Brown Method

    Our behavior is easily influenced by cues that work subconsciously and prime us to behave in particular ways.

    Half of a group of college students were asked to arrange brief sentences including at least one of the words Florida, forgetful, bald,gray, orwrinkle. The other half were presented with none of these words. After completing their task, the students were told to walk down the corridor to another room. The experimenters, unbeknownst to the subjects, recorded the time the students took to walk that short distance. Are you ready? Those students of the first group walked more slowly than those in the second group. The experiment was dubbed ‘the Florida effect.’ The unconscious association of terms commonly associated with being old affected the students’ walking pace.

    Priming: Deep Seated Values Are Highly Malleable

    We may believe our values and beliefs are stable and deep-seated, but in fact they are socially constructed, context dependent and highly malleable.

    Two groups of students were asked to take a math test. The first group was asked to write the 10 Commandments before starting the test and the students of the second group were asked to write their 10 favorite books.

    During the test, it was obvious that students could easily cheat if they want. The second group showed a much higher propensity to cheat.

    Asymmetrically Framed Choice: Throwing In A Curve Ball

    Including an obviously inferior third option, rather than simply giving a cheap/expensive price choice, can guide consumers to choose higher-priced goods.

    A group of students were given the following price options for purchasing a magazine subscription:

    84% chose the expensive option. When the middle option was taken out, 68% chose the first choice.

    The Paradox Of Choice: You Can Have Too Much Of A Good Thing

    Offering customers more choices is not always better than offering them fewer choices. We are often paralysed by choice. When we have too many options, the likelihood that we pick the most suitable option is reduced, and so we procrastinate for fear of making a bad choice. If fewer options are presented, there is less chance of making a mistake.

    When Toyota launched its Prius model, it heavily advertised it as “the first hybrid car”. By creating a new product category, the only dilemma that Toyota created in consumers’ minds was “Should I buy a hybrid or a non-hybrid car?”. The consumers that chose to move on with a hybrid car (which became very trendy because of celebrity endorsements, which is actually the next irrationality that I am writing about) they had only one choice. Toyota Prius.

    Availability: Assessing Risk & Opportunity Through Top-Of-Mind Examples

    Our decisions are heavily swayed by objects and events that are available at the front of our minds — this may be due to the regular exposure to them. The presence of highly memorable events in our minds can influence our judgements about their likelihood of occurence.

    Lotteries do not try to sell tickets by advertising the real chance you have to win. Instead, they put forth recent winners.

    Reciprocation: Give And You Shall Receive

    People feel inclined to respond in kind to even the smallest acts of generosity or altruism.

    The freemium business model is based around the idea of reciprocation. Freemium is a business model that emerged during the rise of web services like for example Skype. Skype gives you for free the option to create an account and make calls between desktop/mobile users. When you want to make a call on a landline, you will be much more likely to use your already created Skype account (premium) because you unconsciously feel obliged towards Skype.

    Relativity: People Make Judgements Relatively, Not Absolutely

    Many people will pay $2 for tea in Costa, but not 15p for a teabag in a supermarket. The two are identical commodities and yet the environment and trappings the commodity is presented in influence its perceived relative value.

    Temptation: We routinely underestimate its effect

    We are prey to our emotions when making decisions and these emotions are easier to manipulate than we think

    Young men were asked to cross a high, dangerous bridge. Whilst on the bridge, they interacted with a female experimenter who offered them the opportunity to call her afterwards to discuss the experiment. The same happened to a number of guys who were asked to walk through a totally safe bridge, close to the ground.

    The guys of the dangerous bridge showed a higher propensity to call the woman afterwards because they confused the high state of emotional arousal with romantic attraction.

    Value perception: The Power Of Price

    Price often dictates how we value something, even when applied to identical products.

    A group of students was asked to be paid $2 each to attend a class where a professor will read poetry. 59% said yes.

    Another group of students was asked to pay $2 to attend the same class. 3% said yes.

    Then, it was announced to both groups that the class is now free. Of the first group, only 8% agreed to come, whereas 35% of the second group agreed to come.

    Framing: It’s All In How You Look At It

    Our reflexive system does not naturally check to see if rephrasing a question would produce a different answer. Framing a question or offering it in a different way often generates a new response, particularly if it changes the comparison set it is viewed in.

    Goal Dilution: We Can Only Focus On One Thing At A Time

    When multiple goals are pursued, they are less effectively achieved than goals pursued individually. The more goals attached to a single task, the lower the association between this task and each individual goal. As a result, people prefer activities, tasks and products that serve single goals.

    Halo effect: Positive Traits Spill Over

    People believe that positive or negative traits spill over, and so make generalisations about the whole based on the perceived quality of one part of it.

    When Barack Obama ran for President for first time in 2008, his behavioral scientists/consultants advised him to appear with his shirt sleeves rolled up so that he will appear like someone who is ready for work and willing to het his hands dirty. You may think that this sounds rational but it wont have a huge effect on actual votes but the tricky part is that we don’t realize this kind of things. Our unconscious System 1 processes this kind of information and prepares them for System 2 to put them in order and form a coherent opinion which is “Barack Obama seems like someone who is ready to work hard if he gets elected”.

    Loss Aversion: We Value More What We Already Have

    We will go to greater lengths to avoid the loss of something we already have than to gain something new.

    In surveys, the statement “you will lose x amount of money if you don’t insulate” is far more effective than “you will save x amount of money if you do insulate”

    (This piece was posted at my personal Tumblr approximately 4 years ago but I think it is totally worth posting it in a much more powerful platform like Medium. At the end of the day, who still keeps a Tumblr page in 2017?

    This story is published in Noteworthy, where 10,000+ readers come every day to learn about the people & ideas shaping the products we love.

    Follow our publication to see more product & design stories featured by the Journal team.


    20 Cognitive Biases That Affect Your Beliefs, Behavior, And Decisions

    Believe it or not, we make about 35,000 decisions every single day. Many of those choices don’t seem to require much thought, but there’s a large number of biases affecting our good judgement.

    Cognitive biases are ways of thinking that affect beliefs, behavior, and decision-making. Psychologists have identified a long list of these biases. Twenty of the most common ones are detailed in an infographic below, created by Business Insider.

    Don’t think you experience cognitive biases? Think again. That’s a bias in itself, called “blind-spot bias,” or when you fail to realize you’re being affected.

    Other cognitive biases listed on the infographic include why we ignore dangerous information, why we’re too confident in our abilities, and why we expect situations to be easier than they really are.

    Four of the problems that biases help address are when there’s too much information, not enough meaning, a need to act fast, and understanding what we should remember, according to a comprehensive cheat sheet of cognitive biases.

    These biases are helpful to understand our own thought processes and they are also often used as marketing techniques.

    There’s hundreds of cognitive biases, but this infographic details 20 of the most common ones. Photo courtesy of Business Insider


    The 5 cognitive psychology biases that are affecting user testing and how to avoid them

    Cognitive psychology is a form of psychological study which focuses on mental processes. Within this, there are patterns of behaviour called cognitive biases. These biases negatively affect the way in which an individual acts, often leading to the creation of a more “socially acceptable” version of themselves.

    When running testing with users, these cognitive biases can affect the way testers act and respond to tasks, which can affect both the data produced and any research results. This isn’t good!

    To combat this, I’ve put together a list of the five most common cognitive biases that affect user testing and some simple suggestions of how to overcome them:

    #1 - The Framing Effect:

    The framing effect can be an easy mistake to make when conducting user testing, as it concerns the way we phrase questions. People do not like making decisions independently subsequently, they take cues from the environment to make a judgement on how they should act and respond.

    To demonstrate, we may ask a tester: “What are the positives of this product?”. Asking in this manner leads the individual to only discuss only the favourable aspects of the product. Additionally, this can also cause a knock-on effect, with the respondent more likely to only discuss things in a more positive light for the remainder of your interaction.

    A more appropriate question would be: “How do you feel about this product?”. The nature of this question enables the individual to be much more open with their feedback, and empowers an increased likelihood of yielding unbiased results.

    #2 - Confirmation Bias:

    This bias is a fault of the researcher. Naturally, humans are likely only to use information that supports their viewpoint.

    hedgehog lab UX Researcher, Laura McKay, hard at work!

    Confirmation bias can be introduced when we’re designing tests. Researchers may include leading questions (cough *framing effect* cough) in their procedure, or could even neglect to scrutinise information that goes against their hypothesis.

    To avoid this, researchers must remember that their overarching aim is to learn from users. Whether results validate the researcher's initial point of view is irrelevant. Unbiased data does not lie, and researchers often find they learn more from what they hadn't thought about than what they had.

    #3 - Social Desirability Bias:

    Typically everyone wants to fit in with others, to make friends and create bonds with other people. However, this can cause issues in user testing, introducing the potential of research participants providing answers that are more acceptable to other testers. This prevents researchers from hearing the actual views of all taking part.

    Being honest is being the hedgehog.

    Social desirability bias is often prevalent in focus groups. If a question is asked which could lead to controversial opinions being aired, some participants may not wish to disclose their true feelings, and instead go with the general feeling of the group. Ultimately, this prevents the researcher from obtaining a true data set.

    To overcome this, some choose only to conduct 1-to-1 interviews. However, focus groups can still be used provided that researchers reassure participants before commencing a session. They should also clearly state that there are no right or wrong answers, encouraging as many diverse opinions as possible.

    #4 - Fundamental Attribution Error

    This error relates to the tendency of individuals to focus on personal characteristics when something goes wrong. We have a habit of attributing blame to someone else's behaviour instead of analysing the whole situation and correctly assigning the problem.

    It's important to pay attention to how users are interacting with the product.

    In testing, we see this when a user tells a researcher that they made a mistake while working through the research procedure. This may then be recorded as user mistake as opposed to an issue with the tech, as it is a common misconception that issues are human error as opposed to a design problem.

    To compensate for this type of cognitive bias, researchers should be vigilant to what the user is doing and provide the participant with continued reassurance. The blame of human misuse is all too common, while reports of ill-fitting design remain low. Accordingly, it is essential that the user understands they're not doing anything wrong by pointing out any issues they are having, or flaws in the design.

    #5 - Clustering Illusion Bias

    A final frequent cognitive bias is another that the researcher is guilty of. The clustering illusion works for the human desire to organise and group things. The bias occurs when researchers identify a pattern in the data, ignoring everything else that the data set shows.

    Knowledge of psychology helps us avoid introducing bias when conducting user research.

    This can be demonstrated in user research collection when the researcher assumes that, because 5 people have liked a feature, everyone will have liked it. In a sample of five this would be the case. However, from a sample of 30, the same conclusions cannot be drawn.

    To avoid this bias, the researcher should ensure that they consider all evidence equally and think about the why. Are the results a factor of the sample size, demographics, questions, or any other variable? Researchers can also tackle this bias by working collaboratively when analysing data. When working as a pair, these simple groupings become less noticeable.

    • 01/ Generator Studios, Trafalgar Street, Newcastle Upon Tyne, NE1 2LA.
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    ©2021 hedgehog lab - hedgehog lab Limited is a private limited company registered in England and Wales with company registration number 05993194. The registered office is at at Generator Studios, Trafalgar Street, Newcastle Upon Tyne, NE1 2LA.


    Heuristic Thinking

    We define a heuristic as a shortcut for active mental processes. As such, it is a measure that saves or rations our mental resources. Given that our cognitive (mental) capacity is limited, we divide up our resources. Usually we dedicate most of it to things (worries, activities, people, etc.) that take the greatest amount of mental effort.

    It is easy to go along without paying any attention. However, if the path is rough and we believe we might fall, we employ more of our cognitive resources. We pay attention and look where w’re going.


    COGNITIVE BIASES IMPACTING AUDITORS

    Research in psychology suggests that factors in the audit setting create cognitive biases that can reduce the auditor's likelihood of following up on client explanations with additional evidence. Cognitive biases represent often unconscious, systemic influences affecting how individuals gather and interpret information when forming judgments and decisions. Identifying these unconscious biases can aid professionals in counteracting the potential "pitfalls" arising during the explanation - corroboration process of the audit. While auditors are susceptible to many types of unconscious bias, we specifically focus on three that regulators and researchers suggest are common influences, increasing the likelihood that the auditor accepts an explanation without additional corroborating evidence.

    Many audit judgments are made with significant uncertainty, and research indicates that auditors who evaluate management explanations for "reasonableness" may be less likely to follow up and corroborate with additional information. The answers are not always in a stark black - and - white format. Psychology research finds that these types of judgments open the door for motivated reasoning bias that can sway the auditor toward accepting the client's preferred conclusions.

    Motivated reasoning bias is a well - documented phenomenon describing an unconscious bias in which individuals interpret information in a manner that is consistent with their own goals. For an auditor, these goals can include improving client relations as well as trying to meet budget objectives. Suppose that an auditor is over budget in a particular area and asks a client for an explanation regarding an account fluctuation. Motivated reasoning theory suggests that in the absence of supporting evidence, auditors are more likely to convince themselves that the client's explanation is reasonable without actually finding supporting evidence. Further, the unstructured benchmark of the auditor reasonableness judgments opens the door for other factors like source credibility of the client, complex business environments, and the nature of auditors' listening activity to influence auditor judgment.

    Source credibility and complex business environments

    If an auditor considers the client highly credible, then he or she is more likely to rely on the client's explanations. In their book chapter titled "Attitude Change: Multiple Roles for Persuasion Variables," pages 323—390 found in Handbook of Social Psychology (1998), Richard Petty and Duane Wegener explain that source credibility has two components — expertise and trustworthiness — and each component has a different effect on the auditors' likelihood of accepting an explanation. Expertise relates to the messengers' level of knowledge about a particular subject. Not surprisingly, when a message source is considered trustworthy, the message becomes more persuasive.

    The auditor's vulnerability to source credibility bias may increase when the client's business environment is complex. In accordance with Professional Standards (e.g., AU - C §330, Performing Audit Procedures in Response to Assessed Risks and Evaluating the Audit Evidence Obtained), auditors are required to understand the operational aspects of their client's business and how these operations interact with the industry and the overall economy. This includes understanding how these industry and macroeconomic forces interact and flow down to the client level to affect the risk of material misstatement.

    While gaining this understanding may seem straightforward, understanding the sometimes complex interactions can be challenging. Consider, for example, a client that is a fast - growing franchising company specializing in pastries. This client often assists its franchisees with the purchase of a franchise by extending a note receivable. Further, suppose that the client's pastries become so popular that the market becomes saturated with outlets selling its products. This market oversaturation, particularly when combined with changing customer preferences, creates risk to the client as the franchisees begin to struggle to sell their product and perhaps default on loans made by the client. The financial statement impact becomes apparent as the franchisee - related notes receivable may be impaired. Additionally, rapid growth can lead to other qualitative factors, such as a decline in product quality, that also affect sales. While the risks associated with this type of growth may seem intuitive when spelled out clearly in a narrative, in the real world, the auditors would have to gather this operational information themselves and understand these risks as well as recognize how the risks affect the likelihood of material misstatement.

    The nature of the auditors' listening activity

    In "The Effect of Client Lies on Auditor Memory Resistance and False Memory Acceptance," Auditing: A Journal of Practice & Theory, Vol. 35, Issue 3, page 33 (August 2016), Billy E. Brewster (who is also a co - author of this article) finds evidence suggesting that the very nature of the audit experience can increase the auditors' susceptibility to persuasive client explanations. When auditors are trained to interview their clients, they are naturally expected to listen carefully to the explanation.

    Listening closely and carefully is taught in the classroom and suggested in Professional Standards. However, Brewster finds that when auditors do not have a well - developed understanding of the client and its operating environment, the careful listening process may actually embed client lies in the auditor's memory. Hence, not only are these auditors less likely to identify client lies when evaluating client explanations, when subsequently prompted to recall the related information, they will recall the embedded client lies instead of their own previously constructed accurate facts.


    Common theoretical causes of some cognitive biases

    • Bounded rationality – limits on optimization and rationality
    • Attribute substitution – making a complex, difficult judgment by unconsciously substituting an easier judgment [ 47 ]
    • Attribution theory, especially:
      • Salience
      • Impression management
      • Self-perception theory
      • Availability heuristic – estimating what is more likely by what is more available in memory, which is biased toward vivid, unusual, or emotionally charged examples [ 32 ]
      • Representativeness heuristic – judging probabilities on the basis of resemblance [ 32 ]
      • Affect heuristic – basing a decision on an emotional reaction rather than a calculation of risks and benefits [ 48 ]

      Most common cognitive biases? - Psychology

      Cognitive bias in marketing research is not new. However, the study of how cognitive bias impacts decision making has gained popularity in recent years thanks to publications including Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Khneman and Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely. At W5, we have to how consider cognitive bias can affect how we design, understand, and analyze data.

      What Is Cognitive Bias?
      A cognitive bias is a mistake in reasoning, evaluating, remembering, or other cognitive process, often occurring as a result of holding onto one’s preferences and beliefs regardless of contrary information. Psychologists study cognitive biases as they relate to memory, reasoning, and decision-making.

      Business Insider rounded up the most common biases that mess up our decision making to remind us that we make thousands of rational decisions every day—or so we think. Which cognitive bias are you guilty of?

      Samantha Lee/Business Insider

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      W5 can support your team to identify market opportunities and leverage strengths to create meaningful differentiation. Whitespace Innovation initiatives combine primary research to understand current consumer perceptions as well as strategic initiatives to brainstorm future opportunity.

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      W5 produces and edits research videos that illuminate consumers’ lives through stories and scenes, with a goal of encouraging consumer empathy and understanding translating into better products, communication, and stronger brand equity.

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      W5 can create a complete picture of the competitive landscape, highlighting current category trends and alerting you to future developments. W5 leverages multiple methodologies to assess the Category Landscape, including social media synthesis, online trend analysis, expert interviews, and primary marketing research.

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      Artifacts and Installations include any method of communicating research findings that goes beyond the standard research report. These elements challenge expectations through novel presentations and unexpected media.

      W5 creates deliverables that can take many forms, custom designed to integrate into internal spaces and attract stakeholder attention.

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      The marketplace is constantly evolving and there are times in every industry when it is necessary to assess your pricing strategy. Price Sensitivity research is valuable in gaining perspective into the optimal price-value balance. W5 typically uses the Van Westendorp pricing model to efficiently evaluate client pricing.

      The Van Westendorp technique applies four simple questions regarding a product or service, requiring survey respondents to rate each price in context with product/service offerings and perceived benefits. This method yields clear and intuitive data that identifies the range of acceptable price points, providing a solid basis to assess pricing strategy.

      Understanding consumers’ price sensitivity can help you:

      • Identify the optimal price point for a product or service
      • Model the range of acceptable prices driven by consumer purchase intent and in the context of brand equity, offerings, and benefits
      • Assess consumer demand above and below the pricing range to understand market implications

      For more in-depth information on pricing analyses, W5 recommends Conjoint Analysis.

      A Brand Health Assessment includes evaluation of consumer awareness, consideration, and engagement with a brand to generate insights on market positioning. Through a quantitative survey featuring validated brand metrics plus custom questioning, the “health” of the brand is measured and compared to key competitors.

      Through a W5 Brand Health Assessment you gain perspective into your consumers’ relationships with the brand beyond awareness, to explore their past, present, and future experiences with the brand.

      Brand Health Assessment can help you:

      • Measure your brand health (awareness, consideration, usage, recommendation)
      • Understand your brand positioning and opportunities relative to competitors
      • Profile different audiences’ relationship with your brand

      Brand Equity is focused on consumers’ perceived value of a brand, beyond just their opinions of products or services. To understand brand value, an exploration of brand equity includes more than an assessment of current brand health and image. A forward-looking perspective is necessary to guide business strategy.

      W5 Brand Equity Explorations include brand health (i.e., awareness, consideration, engagement) and brand perceptions (i.e., overall image, brand performance on valued attributes, etc.) but also the call-to-action of the brand. The call-to-action assessment often includes personal (i.e., consumer research, purchasing) and social (i.e., recommendation, social media advocacy) aspects.

      Brand Equity research can help you:

      • Assess brand health in terms of awareness and engagement
      • Understand how the brand is perceived by consumers, particularly on qualities that drive their brand selection
      • Identify ways in which the brand inspires future engagement, including sales

      Product Development is rarely a straight line and can present stops and starts throughout the process. Product Development research can be leveraged to evaluate initial renderings or ideas, test prototypes, optimize features and benefits, test products in natural contexts, and gauge related communications.

      W5 works with clients to employ both online and in-person approaches. In-person approaches are appropriate for hands-on elements or testing functionality and form factor, while online approaches can help narrow options and gauge overall reactions to attributes, design, and messaging.

      Product Development research can help you:

      • Narrow options around product features and design
      • Identify potential usages or pain points early in the process
      • Clarify areas of confusion or uncertainty
      • Create a differentiated product that stands out from competitors
      • Eliminate false starts or development mistakes

      Audience Identification and Profiling research paints a detailed picture of a core market―their demographics, basic category behaviors and attitudes, psychographics underlying those behaviors and attitudes, and opinions of the marketplace. This method is a critical step when introducing a new brand or product and can be a cost-efficient alternative to a segmentation.

      Beyond basic statistical profiling, W5 explores the relationship of consumer lifestyles, life stages, beliefs, and habits to define their potential engagement with the brand and/or product. Audience Identification and Profiling is best used to identify a target audience for a product, service, or message. This strategic market insight will help you:

      • Identify a core market within a broader target
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      • Inform strategic brand or product positioning
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      Attitudes and Usage (A&U or AAU) research answers essential questions of “what?,” “where?,” “why?,” and “how?” around consumers’ decision making within and across market categories. W5 A&U studies provide a robust and reliable snapshot of consumer sentiment and behaviors at a moment in time but can also be conducted to inform future strategy. They are a valuable tool for market hypotheses, exploring brand and product appeal and opportunity, and identifying the impact of recent or forthcoming marketplace changes.

      Attitudes and Usage research can help you:

      • Identify nuances of consumer behaviors in the category
      • Understand consumer rationale for category perceptions and decisions
      • Gauge your competitive positioning
      • Resolve hypotheses and assumptions of consumer behaviors and mindsets

      Product and Positioning Concept Testing provides insight on how a product, service, or branding can cut through competitor offerings to fit consumers’ needs and desires. Thorough and strategic testing of proposed concepts will ensure success by identifying consumers’ rationale for specific likes and dislikes.

      There are many ways to accomplish a concept test―monadic testing, paired comparison, proto-monadic evaluation, concept screening, etc.―however, not all techniques are applicable in every situation. W5 builds a custom approach based on the number of concepts, depth of presentation, selected audiences, and needs for comparative insight. A strategically designed research study will reveal resonant winners and relative losers and can help you:

      • Understand perceived benefits and shortcomings of each concept
      • Determine which concepts should be developed and refined and those to leave behind
      • Identify areas of improvement to integrate into an optimized offering

      The Message Testing process begins with creative stimuli and copy and ends with a refined message. Quantitative research plays an important role to ensure message effectiveness by eliciting consumer feedback on appeal, relevance, and call-to-action.

      W5’s approach to Message Testing provides multiple viewpoints on stimuli through a proto-monadic survey design where copy variations are assessed independently and randomly before comparative questions are asked. The result is dual perspectives on clarity, appeal, relevance, and call-to-action of each stimulus providing context and support for winning concepts.

      The goal of Message and Copy Testing is to illuminate the best path forward for marketing and advertising. Armed with this insight, you are better positioned to:

      • Select a message or set of messages that will resonate based on a reliable, robust analysis of a large set of target consumers
      • Inform nuanced creative decisions around specific copy, imagery, media channels, etc.
      • Address hypotheses and outstanding questions about how best to communicate brand strengths, differentiation, and relevance

      The identification of different consumer groups in the market is a powerful tool for identifying target audience characteristics beyond basic demographics and category behaviors. W5 views Segmentation as the study of consumers’ responses to specific attitudinal, behavioral, psychographic, and category- and brand-related questions. During analysis, consumers with similar attitudes and thought processes are bundled together to create an audience ‘segment.’

      Segmentation is beneficial for those seeking a reliable understanding of consumers based on stable, real-world criteria. W5 leverages a mix of applied approaches to ensure resulting segments are actionable and capable of informing product/service refinement, brand positioning, and communications strategies.

      W5’s approach to custom, strategic segmentation research will:

      • Determine which consumer segments exist and reveal the relative size of each
      • Evaluate the potential economic value of each segment
      • Identify the behaviors, attitudes, needs, and underlying psychographics of each segment and how these differ from one another

      Conjoint Analysis explores the value consumers place on your products or services and their features. Through a series of conjoint (two or more parallel) questions in an online survey, consumers evaluate different sets of attributes (and the various attribute options, or levels) and make “trade-offs” between services or features. Response across scenarios generates a robust data set processed using sophisticated modeling techniques. W5 can then gauge your consumers’ priorities, identify optimal bundles with market relevance, and explore demand and price sensitivity related to variations in marketplace offerings.

      Conjoint Analysis can help you:

      • Understand the unique contribution each attribute and level of that attribute brings to a product or service
      • Determine minute differences between a series of nuanced product offerings
      • Inform development of customized product offerings to specific target audiences
      • Model and explore consumer demand and price sensitivity based on a robust and reliable primary research data set

      Strategic Tracking research monitors a brand’s perception and strength over time through industry-specific metrics. Through a periodic or continuously-fielded quantitative survey, consumer insights are measured and compared to track changes and guide decisions based on past activity and predictions for future activity. Strategic Tracking supports decision making by examining market changes from one measured period to another.

      W5’s approach to Strategic Tracking goes beyond measuring brand and advertising awareness to explore an evolving marketplace, bringing depth and context to consumer behavior and attitudes. Strategic Tracking research reveals understanding of the relative health of your brand and scratches below the surface to determine its fit in the marketplace.

      This in-depth ‘state-of-the-brand’ understanding can help you:

      • Measure and monitor brand health (awareness, consideration, usage, advocacy, etc.)
      • Understand which brand strengths contribute to overall performance
      • Understand brand positioning and opportunities relative to competitors
      • Assess the impact of branding initiatives, advertising campaigns, and other marketing communications
      • Profile different audiences’ relationship with your brand and advertising

      Shopper Insights reveal how consumers interact with products and brands within retail environments, both online and in-store. It focuses on every aspect of the shopping experience, from store selection to purchase decision. W5 views shopper insights as a nuanced and complex study of the retail environment, in-store behaviors, in-aisle decisions, and messaging.

      Understanding shopper needs and motivations can transform your approach to products, packaging, displays, promotions, experiences, and interpersonal interactions for both brick-and-mortar and online/mobile shopping. W5 leverages a mix of ethnographic techniques to capture insights throughout the consumer journey.

      Exploring Shopper Insights can help you:

      • Better position your products within the retail environment
      • Create new value propositions for your brand(s)
      • Overcome barriers to product adoption and consideration
      • Build loyalty post-purchase

      Online Discussions are comprised of relatively new qualitative research tools that can provide broader access to participants (over both time and geographic areas) without limiting the quality or type of feedback.

      These conversations can take place as Bulletin Boards, Online Journals/Diaries, or webcam-enabled IDIs or Focus Groups. The online platform incorporates rich response and reaction tools that allow participants to communicate via text, simple surveys, images, or video. This enables W5 to employ an activity-based approach to asking research questions where participants not only tell you, but show you how they behave and think.

      Clients can also be more involved by observing responses in real-time, suggesting follow-up questions as they happen, contributing to an ongoing discussion among observers, and tagging responses to highlight in reporting.

      Online discussions can help you:

      • Leverage longitudinal responses to better understand behavior and attitude in the context of real life
      • Gather frank and honest responses in a largely anonymous forum
      • Collect layered, highly personal responses from consumers in the context of their own environments and day-to-day lives

      Mobile Ethnography is one of the most flexible research tools available, allowing W5 to connect with a wide array of participants spread across time zones and geography via a smartphone app or mobile platform.

      Mobile Ethnography allows researchers to virtually accompany consumers in their natural environment. Throughout the process, W5 integrates mobile-enabled activities to increase consumer engagement and generate insight. This may include exploring product usage, daily rituals, shopping experiences, etc. by capturing media and providing feedback in real-time.

      Mobile Ethnography is an efficient and minimally invasive way for consumers to share their thoughts and experiences―a multi-sensory landscape of a consumer’s world that can help you:

      • Identify fallacies in reported versus observed behaviors
      • Capture first impressions of new products or services
      • Facilitate understanding of how, when, and why a product or service is used in its natural environment
      • Chart the moments a consumer engages with a product or brand on a daily basis
      • Identify pain points and moments of delight in the in-store or online environment

      Before your brand messaging meets the market, qualitative research can provide valuable feedback to ensure relevance. Message Development research can be conducted throughout the process to develop initial ideas, test individual ideas/campaign concepts, or evaluate campaign material or concepts for consistency.

      W5 uses both online and in-person approaches to evaluate messaging. In-person approaches benefit from a flexible forum for developing ideas or exploring initial reactions, while online approaches can incorporate evaluation tools such as heat mapping that identify positive and negative associations with specific elements.

      Message Development research can help you:

      • Ensure a message or campaign remains consistent in various media (i.e., web banner, print ad, television spot, etc.)
      • Identify essential, need-to-know information for communication about a product, brand, or service
      • Create a unique and memorable voice that rises above digital and visual clutter
      • Assess the clarity and resonance of specific messaging elements

      In-Depth Interviewing (IDI) is an intimate conversation between a moderator and an individual or small group of participants. It is a preferred approach when research topics are sensitive or more detailed feedback is needed.

      Semi-structured, the approach allows conversations to flow naturally, with the spirit of the conversation guiding the questioning and its order. W5 views IDIs as offering several methodological advantages including building a strong rapport and leading to more detailed and evocative feedback. The approach is often direct and focused, with minimal distractions, allowing for more genuine, thoughtful responses.

      In-Depth Interviews can help you:

      • Explore individual concerns for a product, concept, or idea
      • Assess independent decision making and behavior among a specific consumer audience
      • Connect with unique, specialized populations to discuss a specific subject in-depth
      • Explore sensitive or emotional topics inappropriate for community discussion
      • Understand complex elements of a client product or service from the experience of a sophisticated end user

      Focus Groups, a moderated discussion held with pre-recruited participants, are the most widely used and familiar qualitative research tool. They are especially powerful for conducting exploratory research, messaging evaluations, product development, or brand positioning and strategy research.

      Their familiarity does not mean they are a tired approach. W5 incorporates creative exercises and activities to challenge participants to think critically and creatively about research questions. New technologies feature a host of multimedia tools that further creative thinking.

      Focus Groups can help you:

      • Conduct a broad exploration of consumer opinions
      • Inspire initial ideas to develop into more cohesive concepts
      • Test products, concepts, or campaigns to receive nuanced feedback

      Executive Interviews are in-depth, one-on-one discussions with professionals, often in specialized industries or roles. Unlike consumer interviews, they require qualitative researchers attuned to industry language and practices who can approach the conversation with an understanding of their specialization and tie their perspectives back to the research goals.

      W5 approaches executive or professional interviews by staying flexible in both timing and means of communication, conducted via telephone, webcam, or in-person to accommodate participants’ schedules.

      Executive interviewing can help you:

      • Develop branded marketing and communications that resonate with targeted professional audiences
      • Adapt products and services to address pain points and meet market needs
      • Design new retention strategies to support long-term customer engagement
      • Outline the position of a product or service within the competitive landscape

      Consumer Journey maps are tools for visualizing how people interact with your brand, most often in the realm of retail and/or online shopping experiences. These maps diagram each interaction with key behaviors, considerations, and potential barriers that lie between an initial trigger to consider and final purchase.

      Qualitative research is instrumental in capturing the defining moments of the process. W5 designs Consumer Journey research to be immersive, incorporating in-person or mobile ethnographic approaches to shadow the consumer during each step in the process. The learning that comes from better understanding the experience as a whole can help you identify specific pain points and barriers and create a strategy to connect with consumers at the most opportunistic touchpoints.

      Consumer Journey maps can help you:

      • Understand the myriad of touchpoints consumers encounter in an often complicated journey to purchase
      • Highlight opportunities to increase consumer satisfaction and drive future consideration

      Ethnography is a qualitative research approach that produces a real-world understanding of how lifestyle, culture, behavior, subconscious motivations, and social context influence product selection and brand interaction.

      Ethnography is immersive, putting researchers in the consumers’ world to observe how they behave and interact with their environment and how they feel about the experience. W5 ethnographers can expertly evaluate consumer behavior in detail, identifying meaningful patterns and themes that emerge from their explicit and implicit attitudes and needs. Ethnographic research can take place anywhere (home, store, restaurant, etc.) and employs a mix of virtual and in-person approaches.

      • Understand a specific culture or subgroup of consumers in great detail
      • Observe and identify new contexts for product use, branding, or communication
      • Identify uncommon consumer insights that are simply inaccessible without closer access and engagement with your audience

      Concept Development begins with an idea and ends in your consumers’ hands as a product or service. Concept Development research ensures the final result meets their expectations and needs.

      Initial exploratory research helps create empathy and understanding of consumers’ specific needs. From there, the customer can become part of your development team, providing qualitative feedback with each iteration. By embracing Concept Development qualitative research, you are embracing a customer-centric design process that will make for more successful product launches.

      W5’s Concept Development and evaluation research can help you:

      • Develop new ideas or technologies
      • Better understand why specific products struggle
      • Refresh existing products to better meet customer needs

      Brand Positioning is a strategy to identify competitive advantages and help your brand connect with the right people, in the right way, at the right time. It assumes your brand and competitors occupy the same “space” based on subtle differences in audiences’ rational and emotional preferences. Exploratory, iterative, and interpretive, qualitative Brand Positioning research is ideally suited for understanding these nuances. W5 can help you uncover both rational reasons for brand preferences as well as hard-to-define emotional factors.

      With knowledge of your current position and what’s important to your audience, you can clarify your brand’s meaning and adopt positioning strategies that offer long-term strategic value.


      Confirmation Bias

      We tend to look for information that confirms what we believe. This is referred to as confirmation bias, and is precisely what gets us mired in our current beliefs. Our minds seek information that supports what we think, so it is hard to adopt new thoughts and beliefs. Conspiracy theorists are a perfect example of this. They often twist facts and disregard that which challenges their theories. They seek evidence that confirms their assumptions and, sure enough, they manage to find plenty of it. That said, not every conspiracy theory is automatically wrong.


      Political Extremists Are Less Susceptible to Common Cognitive Bias

      People who occupy the extreme ends of the political spectrum, whether liberal or conservative, may be less influenced by outside information on a simple estimation task than political moderates, according to research published in Psychological Science.

      The research, conducted by psychological scientists Mark J. Brandt and Anthony Evans of Tilburg University and Jarret T. Crawford of The College of New Jersey, suggests that because political extremists hold their own beliefs to be superior to the beliefs of others, they may be more resistant to the so-called anchor bias, even for non-political information.

      “Political differences really drive a wedge between people, and previous research has shown that people on the political extremes are more likely to perceive large partisan differences and political polarization and to be intolerant of people with different political beliefs,” says Brandt, who led the research.

      “Some describe extremists as having some sort of mental deficiency that leads them to latch onto extreme political positions, while others describe extremists as having particularly strident and confident beliefs,” explains Brandt. “We wanted to know which one of these possibilities seemed to be more likely.”

      To find out, Brandt and colleagues employed a commonly used anchoring task, in which participants are asked to make an estimate after being given an anchor number. For example, participants may be asked: “The distance between New York and San Francisco is greater than 2,000 miles. How far is it?”

      Research has shown that the anchor number greatly influences participants’ estimates — that is, people work up or down from the number provided, making final guesses that are closer to the anchor. People who start with large anchor numbers end up with overly high estimates, and vice versa for people who start with small anchor numbers.

      The task is politically neutral, and so it provides a tool for teasing apart the two competing characterizations of extremists. If political extremists take a relatively unthinking approach, then they’re likely to rely on heuristics in making decisions and their estimates will be close to the anchor number. If, however, extremists are especially thoughtful and confident decision makers, they should produce estimates that are farther away from the anchor.

      For the first experiment, the researchers analyzed data originally collected as part of the Many Labs project, examining data from 4,846 participants drawn from 25 samples of participants in the United States. All of the participants answered four anchor-related questions — some were randomly assigned to receive low anchors (e.g., distance is longer than 1,500 miles) and others were assigned to receive high anchors (e.g., distance is shorter than 6,000 miles) for a given question.

      In general, the anchors provided by the experimenters influenced participants’ estimates, in line with many previous studies.

      But the data also showed that participants’ ideology and attitudes played an important role: People who were ideologically more extreme and who reported more extreme attitudes on specific political issues produced estimates that were farther away from the anchors, suggesting greater resistance to the anchor bias.

      A second experiment confirmed these findings and revealed a potential mediating factor: belief superiority. People who were more extreme in ideology and political attitudes also reported stronger support for the idea that their beliefs were superior to those of others. And people who reported greater belief superiority, in turn, produced estimates that were farther from the anchor.

      Importantly, the results couldn’t be explained by participants’ level of education or their so-called need for “cognitive closure.” Furthermore, the results were similar when the direction of the anchor was specified and when it was unspecified (e.g., Is the population of Chicago more less or than 200,000?).

      “These findings suggest that political extremists may make more confident judgments and are not necessarily unthinkingly relying on heuristics,” says psychological scientist and lead researcher Mark J. Brandt of Tilburg University in the Netherlands.

      While previous work has often found personality and cognitive differences between liberals and conservatives, this new research shows a consistent effect of political extremity.

      “We aren’t sure why there are differences between liberals and conservatives in some situations, but not in others — this will be a useful puzzle to solve in the future,” says Brandt.

      All data and materials have been made publicly available via the Open Science Framework and can be accessed at https://osf.io/pqf9r/ . The complete Open Practices Disclosure for this article can be found at http://pss.sagepub.com/content/by/supplemental-data .

      This article has received badges for Open Data and Open Materials. More information about the Open Practices badges can be found at https://osf.io/tvyxz/wiki/view/ and http://pss.sagepub.com/content/25/1/3.full .

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      For more information about this research, please contact study author:
      Mark J. Brandt


      Most Common Cognitive Biases Visualised & Explained

      There used to be a generic belief that humans are completely rational. It is easily understandable why a belief like this was popular. People want to think of themselves as rational because anything else would get them out of our comfort zones. It would be frustrating to know that our choices do not derive from a logical assumption of our personal decision making process but as an outcome of uncontrolled, unconscious processes. We want to think that we are rational because this is the rational thing to believe.

      I have used a past tense in the paragraph above because after the recent Richard Thaler’s recent Nobel prize, the field of behavioral economics has started to reach a mainstream status. It is now pretty much common knowledge that the judgements, choices and decisions we make are not always in our complete control. We make many decisions in the blink of an eye, whilst on other occasions it is external factors that affect our decision making process like for example what the majority of people thinks about a specific topic. Approximately over 90% of our decision-making takes place in the subconscious mind.

      Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky, psychologists and “fathers” of behavioral economics, were the first to develop theories about heuristics and cognitive biases. Heuristics are these subconscious mental shortcuts that form our beliefs and judgments for various instances in our daily life and cognitive biases are the systematic errors which come out as result of our heuristics. A short and representative example is the so called irrational value assessment. If you pay a lot for a bottle of wine you have never drunk before, you will probably like it much more than if you paid just a few dollars.

      I find cognitive biases one of the most interesting subjects out there. I find it extremely engaging to try to remember when was the last time that I made an irrational decision due to some “uncontrolled” factors. But most of all, it is really interesting to see the “big picture” and assess how these biases affect the decision making not only of individuals but of large scale organizations and policies.

      Below you can find the most common cognitive biases (or at least the ones that the scientific community has identified) along with some great visuals (by the amazingly talented Panagiotis Pantazis) and short descriptions.

      Anchoring: Focus On Something You Know

      Value is often set by anchors in our minds which we use as mental reference points, influencing our decision-making no matter how arbitrary the anchors may be.

      A group of people was asked to name the last 2 digits of their social security number, and then they were asked how much they would pay for a bottle of wine. Those whose last 2 digits were above 80 were willing to spend $20 more than those whose last two digits were less than 20.

      Chunking: Offer Small, Well-Defined Tasks

      Small, individual tasks are far less daunting than big ones. The way in which tasks are presented and broken down affects how motivated we are to start and finish them.

      RyanAir chunks the whole purchasing process. They lock you in with a low “seat price”, getting you excited about your trip. Then, once you have decided where to go, you begin to form a mental commitment. Once this happens, it’s very unlikely that you will change your mind about the purchase, so it’s here that they start to add the extra charges in bite-sized “chunks”. By the time you get to the full cost of your flight, you have put so much effort into the booking process, that you would rather complete the purchase at a cost significantly higher than the initial seat price.

      Commitment: The Power Of A Public Pledge

      The more public our stance, the less willing we are to change it. People will often go through with acts that they hold private reservations about if they have committed to them publicly. There are numerous cases of public figures having tweeted something and then acting in a way that conflicts with what they had said. This ALWAYS creates controversies in the public sphere.

      A Finnish cable company offered new customers a discount if they were willing to dig the trench from their home to the street for their new cable connection. Months later, they found out that those customers who had participated in digging the trench were far less likely to disconnect their cable service than control groups. Admitting that they were wrong by cutting off their service would be both psychologically and socially painful.

      Commitment: The Power Of Personal Investment

      The more involved people are in creating something, the better they feel about the end product. this can lead to self-constructed items or products being valued more highly by the person who made it.

      IKEA customers are emotionally attached with the pieces of furniture they have assembled together because they see a little piece of them in each one of them.

      Consistency: We Behave In Accordance With Our Self-Image

      We act in accordance with our beliefs about who we are. However, our self-image is not as set in stone as we would like to believe, and so by altering it, behavior can be affected too.

      Every time a new customer walks into a jewelry store, he is offered a glass of champagne. By this way, customers consider themselves as consumers of luxury products and they are much more willing to buy an expensive jewelry to match their created self-image.

      Social Proofing: The power of social influence

      We are herd animals and make decisions based on what those around us are doing. We often justify our choices like this, validating them on the basis that others were following a similar course of action.

      The phenomenon of social proofing has hundreds of applications in daily life. Especially in the social media era that we all live in, brands design their campaigns based on the notion that consumers will unconsciously follow what other users will post/tweet/upload.

      Hyperbolic Discounting: The Power Of Now

      We have an overwhelming preference for immediate payoffs over later ones. Even if, in absolute terms, the later payoff is “better”, we are addicted to “now” and we consistently choose fun things now over things that are good for us in the future.

      You can see the power of hyperbolic discounting in your daily life. Taking for example the hours you spend at your office, check how many times you have interrupted a project to check your Facebook or Twitter. You think that spending 20 seconds will do no harm and then you will be able to continue your project like before but this is utterly wrong. You will probably click on a posted link, comment on a photo, attend an event, fav a tweet etc.

      Hyperbolic Discounting: Make The First Step Easy

      People do what’s “easy now”, even if their procrastination means that they will have to suffer more down the line. Our strong preference to avoid things that are effortful now, regardless of their long-term benefit, makes it really hard to sell complex products that are of strategic, rather than immediate importance.

      Priming: The Derren Brown Method

      Our behavior is easily influenced by cues that work subconsciously and prime us to behave in particular ways.

      Half of a group of college students were asked to arrange brief sentences including at least one of the words Florida, forgetful, bald,gray, orwrinkle. The other half were presented with none of these words. After completing their task, the students were told to walk down the corridor to another room. The experimenters, unbeknownst to the subjects, recorded the time the students took to walk that short distance. Are you ready? Those students of the first group walked more slowly than those in the second group. The experiment was dubbed ‘the Florida effect.’ The unconscious association of terms commonly associated with being old affected the students’ walking pace.

      Priming: Deep Seated Values Are Highly Malleable

      We may believe our values and beliefs are stable and deep-seated, but in fact they are socially constructed, context dependent and highly malleable.

      Two groups of students were asked to take a math test. The first group was asked to write the 10 Commandments before starting the test and the students of the second group were asked to write their 10 favorite books.

      During the test, it was obvious that students could easily cheat if they want. The second group showed a much higher propensity to cheat.

      Asymmetrically Framed Choice: Throwing In A Curve Ball

      Including an obviously inferior third option, rather than simply giving a cheap/expensive price choice, can guide consumers to choose higher-priced goods.

      A group of students were given the following price options for purchasing a magazine subscription:

      84% chose the expensive option. When the middle option was taken out, 68% chose the first choice.

      The Paradox Of Choice: You Can Have Too Much Of A Good Thing

      Offering customers more choices is not always better than offering them fewer choices. We are often paralysed by choice. When we have too many options, the likelihood that we pick the most suitable option is reduced, and so we procrastinate for fear of making a bad choice. If fewer options are presented, there is less chance of making a mistake.

      When Toyota launched its Prius model, it heavily advertised it as “the first hybrid car”. By creating a new product category, the only dilemma that Toyota created in consumers’ minds was “Should I buy a hybrid or a non-hybrid car?”. The consumers that chose to move on with a hybrid car (which became very trendy because of celebrity endorsements, which is actually the next irrationality that I am writing about) they had only one choice. Toyota Prius.

      Availability: Assessing Risk & Opportunity Through Top-Of-Mind Examples

      Our decisions are heavily swayed by objects and events that are available at the front of our minds — this may be due to the regular exposure to them. The presence of highly memorable events in our minds can influence our judgements about their likelihood of occurence.

      Lotteries do not try to sell tickets by advertising the real chance you have to win. Instead, they put forth recent winners.

      Reciprocation: Give And You Shall Receive

      People feel inclined to respond in kind to even the smallest acts of generosity or altruism.

      The freemium business model is based around the idea of reciprocation. Freemium is a business model that emerged during the rise of web services like for example Skype. Skype gives you for free the option to create an account and make calls between desktop/mobile users. When you want to make a call on a landline, you will be much more likely to use your already created Skype account (premium) because you unconsciously feel obliged towards Skype.

      Relativity: People Make Judgements Relatively, Not Absolutely

      Many people will pay $2 for tea in Costa, but not 15p for a teabag in a supermarket. The two are identical commodities and yet the environment and trappings the commodity is presented in influence its perceived relative value.

      Temptation: We routinely underestimate its effect

      We are prey to our emotions when making decisions and these emotions are easier to manipulate than we think

      Young men were asked to cross a high, dangerous bridge. Whilst on the bridge, they interacted with a female experimenter who offered them the opportunity to call her afterwards to discuss the experiment. The same happened to a number of guys who were asked to walk through a totally safe bridge, close to the ground.

      The guys of the dangerous bridge showed a higher propensity to call the woman afterwards because they confused the high state of emotional arousal with romantic attraction.

      Value perception: The Power Of Price

      Price often dictates how we value something, even when applied to identical products.

      A group of students was asked to be paid $2 each to attend a class where a professor will read poetry. 59% said yes.

      Another group of students was asked to pay $2 to attend the same class. 3% said yes.

      Then, it was announced to both groups that the class is now free. Of the first group, only 8% agreed to come, whereas 35% of the second group agreed to come.

      Framing: It’s All In How You Look At It

      Our reflexive system does not naturally check to see if rephrasing a question would produce a different answer. Framing a question or offering it in a different way often generates a new response, particularly if it changes the comparison set it is viewed in.

      Goal Dilution: We Can Only Focus On One Thing At A Time

      When multiple goals are pursued, they are less effectively achieved than goals pursued individually. The more goals attached to a single task, the lower the association between this task and each individual goal. As a result, people prefer activities, tasks and products that serve single goals.

      Halo effect: Positive Traits Spill Over

      People believe that positive or negative traits spill over, and so make generalisations about the whole based on the perceived quality of one part of it.

      When Barack Obama ran for President for first time in 2008, his behavioral scientists/consultants advised him to appear with his shirt sleeves rolled up so that he will appear like someone who is ready for work and willing to het his hands dirty. You may think that this sounds rational but it wont have a huge effect on actual votes but the tricky part is that we don’t realize this kind of things. Our unconscious System 1 processes this kind of information and prepares them for System 2 to put them in order and form a coherent opinion which is “Barack Obama seems like someone who is ready to work hard if he gets elected”.

      Loss Aversion: We Value More What We Already Have

      We will go to greater lengths to avoid the loss of something we already have than to gain something new.

      In surveys, the statement “you will lose x amount of money if you don’t insulate” is far more effective than “you will save x amount of money if you do insulate”

      (This piece was posted at my personal Tumblr approximately 4 years ago but I think it is totally worth posting it in a much more powerful platform like Medium. At the end of the day, who still keeps a Tumblr page in 2017?

      This story is published in Noteworthy, where 10,000+ readers come every day to learn about the people & ideas shaping the products we love.

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