O Behave! Issue 7 (October Edition)

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October Issue of O behave! Latest insights in behavioural economics

Text of O Behave! Issue 7 (October Edition)

  • 1. O BEHAVE!Issue 7 October 2014

2. Q: How Effective are Persuasion Techniques? 3 A: Depends!Bias of the Month 4An Evening with Nicholas Christakis5Dont Feed the Trolls6The Illusion of Mental Depth7Real Life Nudge of the Month 9Upcoming Events9CONTENTS 3. Griskevicius, V., Goldstein, N. J., Mortensen, C. R., Sundie, J. M., Cialdini, R. B., & Kenrick, D. T. (2009). Fear and loving in Las Vegas: Evolution, emotion, andpersuasion. Journal of Marketing Research, 46(3), 384-395.Q: HOW EFFECTIVE ARE PERSUASION TECHNIQUES? A: DEPENDS!All marketers know that although people can be completely engaged in a TV programme, once the adverts come on many become significantly more disengaged. They start to process these adverts on a very shallow level and start making judgments and decisions using heuristics. For this reason marketers need to employ persuasive techniques that appeal to this style of judgment and decision making, two of the most popular being social proof and scarcity.Adverts that employ social proof tacticsare seeking to imply the notion that if many others are doing it then it must be good and do so by saying that a product is a top seller or most popular. Adverts that employ the scarcity persuasion techniqueare seeking to imply the product is rare and unique. What many marketers dont consider, and a new area of research, is whether the content (TV programme) surrounding the advert influences the effectiveness of the persuasive technique. Recent research from Griskevicius and colleagues (2009)has shown that in fact they do.In an experiment they showed participants a scary or romantic movie. They were then either shown an advert designed to persuade people to visit an art museum which employed a social proof message: Visited by over 1 million people this year, or the same advert but with a scarcity message: Stand out from the crowd. Results found that people who were shown the scary movie were more persuaded by the social proof ad than the scarcity ad, whereas the opposite was true for those who viewed the romantic movie.From an evolutionary perspective these results make sense. When one feels scared or in danger they seek out the company of others to stay safe, a survival technique we have developed over millions of years. Conversely, when one is in a romantic mood and wants to attract a mate, it is necessary to stick out from the crowd somehow -think of the peacock displaying its tail to attract peahens. When one is in this frame of mind they are no longer interested in fitting in, they wantto stand out, be unique and noticed. This research illustrates that marketers not only need to be clever about the types of persuasion messages they use in their adverts but also the types of shows surrounding the advert to ensure the persuasive message has the intended consequence. 4. BIAS OF THE MONTHThe Ikea EffectHave you ever had a garage sale and been completely insulted when a customer has offered an insulting price (in your opinion) for a cabinet that you once assembled?If so it is because you are experiencing the IKEA Effect.This effect explains the findings that we place disproportionately high value to self-made products and we find it hard to part with them.An experiment illustrating this by Norton and colleagues (2012) gave two groups of partipcants IKEA boxes. One group were given fully assembled boxes whereas the other were given unassembled boxes which they had to put together. In a subsequent bidding environment the second unassembled group were willing to pay significantly more for their box than the first assembled group.Marketers should take this into account and be mindful that customers will pay more for something they have put effort into rather than something ready made.Norton, M. I., Mochon, D., & Ariely, D. (2012). The IKEA effect: When labor leads to love. 5. AN EVENING WITH NICHOLAS CHRISTAKISThis month, #ogilvychangewelcomed Professor Nicholas Christakis, Yale sociologist and TED speaker, to discuss his work on social networks, how they affect us and those around us.The nature and structure of our social networks are innate and are consistent across countries and cultures. For example, the Hadza people, a hunter-gatherer society living in Tanzania, show the same social network structures as samples of Western populations. In addition, the number of friends a person has and their likelihood to introduce their friends to each other havealso been shown to be heritable traits (Fowler, Dawes & Christakis, 2009).An important part of Christakis research is how behaviourspreads through social networks; in other words, focusing not on how a particular stimulus or treatment affects one individual, but how it affects those in their network who were not in the treatment group. In a classic public goods game, Fowler and Christakis (2009)showed that one act of altruism can create a cascade of subsequent altruistic acts with a whole new group of people, spreading up to three degrees of separation; experimental evidence for the pay it forward phenomenon.Other types of behaviourhave been shown to spread through networks, from obesity and smoking to happiness and ideas. One studythat may have appeared in your Facebook newsfeed allowed people to indicate that they had voted and see who among their friends also had, during the 2010 US congressional elections. This had the direct effect of encouraging over 50,000 more people to vote, but almost 300,000 people who were notdirectly linked to the original posters also voted. This shows how just powerful our social networks can be in influencing our behaviour.Wed like to thank Nicholas for sharing his fascinating research with us!Follow him on Twitter @NAChristakisor visit www.NicholasChristakis.netand www.HumanNatureLab.netfor more information. 6. DONT FEED THE TROLLSThe headlines have been ablaze with stories about Internet trolls, particularly focusing on the McCannsand the aftermath of the media exposing Brenda Leylands identity. Trolling is defined as behaving in a deceptive, destructive or disruptive mannerfor no apparent instrumental purpose, and it is that sheer pointlessness that characterises it and distinguishes it from other forms of cyber-bullying, where often the victim and perpetrator know each other.In perhaps the best-named research paper of the year, Trolls just want to have fun, Buckels, Trapneland Paulhus(2014) explored the personality traits that correlate with engaging in onlinetrolling, focusing particularly on the Dark Tetrad: psychopathy, narcissism, Machiavellianism and sadism. Unsurprisingly, they found that participants who indicated they had spent time trolling scored more highly for these characteristics. Furthermore, they found that this effect was specifically mediated by sadism, leading to the conclusion that trolls behave the way they do simply because they enjoy causing others distress. However, it is possible that these people have created their online persona as villainous, un-empathetic and careless, which could lead them to answer these online surveys in a consistent manner. Further work needs to be done to establish whether this is a pattern that continues into peoples real lives.Buckels, E.E., Trapnell, P.D., & Paulhus, D.L. (2014). Trolls just want to have fun. Personality and Individual Differences, forthcoming.There has been debate over whether something about the Internet causes people to behave this way, or if these people really are unpleasant all the time. Internet psychologist John Suler(2004) suggests there are six featuresof the internet that cause disinhibition: People are anonymous so dont need to worry about repercussions, people are also invisible so dont need to worry about usual interpersonal cues, stop/start communication allows conversations to be put on hold and dealt with later, reading written communication means the words of others literally become voices in your head, the online world is abstract and feels imaginary, and it is also not policed in any demonstrable way. These factors can mean the Internet becomes a melting pot for people to express themselves without inhibition, but the initial findings of Buckelset al suggest that only people who are already obnoxious become trolls. 7. Nick Chateris Professor of Behavioural Science at Warwick Business School, co-founder of the research consultancy Decision Technology, and 'science advisor' and co-presenter on Radio 4's The Human Zoo. He is also on #ogilvychange'spanel of experts.His MOOC, The Mind is Flat: the Shocking Shallowness of Human Psychology, started its third run on Monday 13thOctober, and already has 12,457 registered participants.THE ILLUSION OF MENTAL DEPTHOur everyday conception of how our minds work is profoundly misleading. We are victims of an illusion of mental depth -we imagine that our thoughts and behaviours arise from hidden motives and beliefs and that we can understand ourselves by somehow uncovering these hidden forces, whether through therapy, lab experiments or brain scanning.The Mind is Flat course will show you that the very idea of these mental depths is an illusion. When this is stripped away, our understanding not only of minds, but also morality, markets and society is transformed. 8. Do you have a favourite example of mental shallowness?There are so many! One lovely study shows that men who have just walked across a high and rather scary bridge feel more attracted to women on the other side. They entirelymisinterpret the adrenaline rush as generated by attraction, not fear. What does this mean? That we can't 'look deepinside' ourselves to draw out of innerour thoughts and feelings---instead, we quite literally make them up as we go along.What originally led you down this avenue of research?My starting point was thinking about perception. The perceptualworld seems rich and detailed---but this is an illusion. As soon as I wonder, for example, about the colo