By Patrick H. Zimmerman, PhD
I was second in line at the pay desk of a Dutch department store. The man in front of me was carrying four coffee mugs in his hands and approached the counter. As he was ready to pay for the mugs, the woman behind the counter told him: “You know you get a 50% discount on these mugs when you bring your own shopping bag?” The man had not brought his own shopping bag. He looked at the woman for a second, briskly put the mugs on the counter and snapped at the woman: “Here, you can keep them!” before scampering off.
By Patrick H. Zimmerman, PhD
As a researcher, one of my biggest thrills was being able to predict how someone was going to behave, especially without asking him or her. This was a learned skill, forged in the long hours of maze-running on the 11th floor of the Behavioral Science Building at the University of Utah. You see, you cannot ask a rat how he solved a maze, but with a clever design and an observant eye, you just know how he did. It was especially amazing to watch that moment of insight, of AH-HA, when he just ‘got it’ and started running perfectly. But in order to truly understand that moment, I had to have my own AH-HA moment, and it happened five thousand miles from my mazes in Utah.
Want to know where the action is? Interested in getting real-time feedback about a conference, concert, or event hotspots? At the Measuring Behavior conference in August 2014, a number of meeting participants took part in an exciting experiment in which they received real-time updates on their own smartphones about the “hotness” of several conference events. Did this information lead them to the most interesting lectures, booths, or poster sessions?
We live in a demanding world: the snort of an email, the squeal of a text, fare alerts, breaking news, SQUIRREL! What was I saying? Oh yes, we live in a distracted world. With DVRs holding thousands of hours of entertainment; phones and tablets keeping us occupied while we watch those thousands of DVRed hours, it seems that something always has our attention. But what does that really mean? The term itself is used a bit like a commodity: always demanding that we pay for it. The affectionally dubbed “Brain Bank” allows a controlled bit of withdrawal at any given moment. We are literally trapped in a world bombarded by sensory information. As you read this, you are neglecting your world in order to process these words. What do you hear right now? What sweater are you wearing? Now are you thinking about what you are going to wear tomorrow? Or what’s on your calendar? SQUIRREL! Please allow me to withdrawal a bit of currency from your Brain Bank to discuss the real cost of paying attention.
Recently, I was leaving the University of Kentucky, about to head back to my home in Cincinnati a mere 90 miles away. It was in the mid-afternoon and I had been on campus all day. Having been with the researchers in the Rodent Behavioral Core, I had no time to eat and water was not allowed in the facility. A complicating matter was the fact that I needed to get home as soon as possible to pick up the little one from school and get her to soccer practice. Needless to say, I was in a bit of a hurry and I was ravenously hungry. I didn’t want to sit down to eat, I just wanted something on the go. We’ve all been there: close to the freeway on-ramp were several choices of the usual variety. I quickly made my decision (“Oh, new grilled chicken sandwich”, I said predictably), rolled through the drive thru, picked an item from the pictures provided, and hit the freeway with my food in hand. Only when I unwrapped my package, what stared back at me was a sad excuse for the chicken sandwich I had ordered. On the menu, it was plump, juicy, full of ripe red tomatoes, crisp lettuce, and a hearty bun. What I held in my hand was a squashed bun, grease limply holding what used to be a chicken breast and some soggy lettuce. It had a dash of mayo and a puny tomato. Not exactly gourmet. It tasted the same as it looked. I was hungry, already in route, and out my sunk cost of lunch. But fool me once, shame on you.
To this day, I refuse to return. Fool me twice, shame on me. The moment at which I consumed my sandwich directly influenced my decisions of what to purchase in the future. I’m not alone in this example. It was sadly parodied in Michael Douglas-staring film, Falling Down, and recently demonstrated by CNN. It is in these moments, however, where we can understand consumer choice and its influence upon buying behavior.
You want people to choose your product. The world requires many choices and you want to win. Every time. Fast food, grocery store, internet providers, etc. But how do you win them over? Understanding that choice point is the first key to winning their business. But is that all there is to it? Of course not. Once you have them, you want to ensure to keep them coming back for more. This is the second key to ensuring a long term customer. But how do these two keys interact to unlock the consumers’ hearts (and wallets)? The goal of the present article is to highlight some of the ways Noldus Consulting can help win at the three “Moments of Truth” (MOTs). First, I will present some existing findings into MOT research, then demonstrate how Noldus solutions, and our collaborators, can help you achieve new insights into customer behavior.
The application of neuroscience methods to marketing – neuromarketing – is growing in popularity. Marketers hope that neuroscience will provide them with information that is not obtainable through conventional marketing methods such as questionnaires and focus groups. Can neuroscience be the holy grail of the study of consumer behavior?
Measuring Behavior is an international multidisciplinary conference which takes place every two years. This August it is in Wageningen, in the Netherlands. If you are a behavioral researcher, you really ought to attend. Why?
1. The diverse, multidisciplinary program. The scientific program contains contributions focusing on purely scientific aspects (issues of replicability, dynamic aspects of behavior) and applied research (animal welfare), human behavior (eye trackers in consumer research) and animal (rodent behavior), technical sessions (video tracking of social animals and recognition of human behaviors from video), sessions presenting the latest technology (3D simulators) and topics that are of relevance to everyone (eating behavior of people). The above list just scratches the surface of what promises to be a very diverse and interesting three days.
Topics: animal behavior research, emotion recognition, animal welfare, methods and techniques, Automating behavioral observations, human behavior research, consumer behavior, behavioral research, measuring behavior, conferences
Why does a customer select your product? Who uses it, and how? What are their expectations regarding taste and structure? What do they think of the experience, and how do they dispose it?
Overweight and obese individuals are at increased risk for many diseases and health conditions. By 2050, as much as 50% of the UK population could be obese at a cost of £50 billion a year, warns the National Obesity Awareness Week. To create awareness, they have organized a National Awareness Week from 13 to 19 January 2014. Their goal is twofold: putting the obesity crisis at the top of the agenda and teaching people how they can begin to tackle the problem.
In many recent research projects, the overweight and obese are the subjects under investigation. “Why do people who are overweight or are at risk of becoming overweight eat differently from thinner people?” is the question David Garcia-Burgos and Maria Clara Zamora asked. Basing their study on recent hedonic eating theories of obesity, they hypothesized that overweight individuals would be more reactive to unpleasant tasting food than lean people.
Is there a link between obesity and a dislike of bitter-tasting food?
Using facial expression analysis to study decision making processes
Where should you go this summer, who should you go with, and for how long? Which hotel or hostel to book? People around the world are currently making hotel reservations for their summer vacation. Are you one of them?