Tuesday, December 27, 2011

100 Things to Watch in 2012

JWT: 100 Things to Watch in 2012
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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Making Social Media Pay

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Friday, December 16, 2011

The 21 most horrific social media facepalms of 2011

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Thanks Phil!o

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Do Consumers Prefer Brands that Appear on their Facebook Pages?

You are likely to identify with a brand that advertises alongside your personal information on a Facebook page (especially if you have high self-esteem), according to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research. The same ad will have less impact if you view it on a stranger’s page.
“The vast majority of marketing exposures are experienced under conditions of low attention and little cognitive involvement,” write authors Andrew W. Perkins (University of Western Ontario) and Mark R. Forehand (University of Washington, Seattle). “The current research demonstrates that brand identification can form even in these low-involvement conditions if the brand is merely presented simultaneously with self-related information.”
This concept, called “implicit self-referencing,” suggests that consumers don’t need to own, choose, or endorse a brand to identify with it. The authors believe this occurs because most consumers possess high self-esteem and when brand concepts are linked to consumers’ self-concepts, some of those positive feelings rub off onto the brands.
In one experiment, the authors asked participants to sort fictitious brand names with terms related to “self” or “other”; their attitudes toward the “self” brands were more positive. In another experiment, they found that the effect was stronger for individuals who had higher self-esteem. And in a third study, they demonstrated that the effect occurs when brands are simply presented near consumers’ personal content on a social networking site.
Participants were instructed to compare the interfaces of two social networking sites (Facebook and hi5) while fictitious car ads rotated through banner ads. Later, participants reported that they much preferred brands that had appeared (without them being conscious of it) on their own pages. “These results show that the car brands did not benefit from Facebook directly, but rather from their proximity to the consumers’ personal content.”
“Consumers are increasingly comfortable posting a wealth of personal information online, and such digital extroversion certainly creates opportunities for marketers to effectively target and embed their appeals,” the authors conclude.

The paradox of gift giving: More not better

Holiday shoppers, take note. Marketing and psychology researchers have found that in gift giving, bundling together an expensive “big” gift and a smaller “stocking stuffer” reduces the perceived value of the overall package for the recipient.
Suppose you’re trying to impress a loved one with a generous gift this holiday season, says Kimberlee Weaver, assistant professor of marketing in the Pamplin College of Business. One option is to buy them a luxury cashmere sweater. A second option is to add in a $10 gift card.
If their budget allows, most gift givers would choose the second option, as it comprises two gifts — one big, one small, Weaver says. Ironically, however, the gift recipient is likely to perceive the cashmere sweater alone as more generous than the combination of the same sweater and gift card. “The gift giver or presenter does not anticipate this difference in perspectives and has just cheapened the gift package by spending an extra $10 on it.”
Weaver is part of a research team that recently discovered, through a series of studies, what the team has called the “Presenter’s Paradox.” The paradox arises because gift givers and gift recipients have different perspectives, Weaver says. Gift givers follow a “more-is-better” logic; recipients evaluate the overall package.
“People who evaluate a bundle, such as a gift package, follow an averaging strategy, which leads to less favorable judgments when mildly favorable pieces (the gift card) are added to highly favorable pieces (the sweater). The luxury sweater represents a generous ‘big’ gift. Adding on a ‘little’ gift makes the total package seems less big.”
The same contradictory effect can be found in other situations, says Weaver, whose research article, “The Presenter’s Paradox,” co-authored with Stephen Garcia and Norbert Schwarz of the University of Michigan, has been accepted for publication in the Journal of Consumer Research.
“People who present a bundle of information assume that every favorable piece adds to their overall case and include it in the bundle they present,” she says. However, notes Garcia, associate professor of psychology and organizational studies at the University of Michigan, “this strategy backfires, because the addition of mildly favorable information dilutes the impact of highly favorable information in the eyes of evaluators. Hence, presenters of information would be better off if they limited their presentation to their most favorable information — just as gift givers would be better off to limit their present to their most favorite gift."
Weaver and her co-authors found that the paradox was strongly evident in seven studies across many product domains, from bundles of music to hotel advertisements, scholarships, and even “negative” items such as penalty structures.
When asked to design a penalty for littering, for example, those who were put in charge preferred a penalty that comprised a $750 fine plus 2 hours of community service over a penalty that comprised only the $750 fine. However, perceivers evaluated the former penalty as less severe than the latter, Weaver says. “Adding a couple of hours of community service made the overall penalty appear less harsh and undermined its deterrence value.”
The discovery of the Presenter’s Paradox sheds new light on how to best present information, says Weaver. “Whether it is a public relations expert pondering which reviews to include on a book jacket, a music producer considering which songs to include in a music album, or a legal team building up arguments for a case, they all face the important task of deciding what information to include in their presentations. So do consumers who apply for a job and homeowners who try to sell their house.”
All of them, she says, run the risk of inadvertently diluting the very message they seek to convey by their efforts to strengthen it. “Fortunately, there is a simple remedy: take the perspective of the evaluator and ask yourself how the bundle will appear to someone who will average across its components. Doing so will alert you to the fact that others will not always share your sense that more is better.”
“Prompting consumers to consider the overall picture entices them to adopt a holistic perspective, which allows them to correctly anticipate evaluators' judgments,” says Schwarz, professor of marketing and psychology at the University of Michigan. “But when left to their own devices, presenters are unlikely to notice that evaluators do not share their more-is-better rule.”

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

2012 Digital Trends


Battlefield 3 Management Tips


JWT Trends - the easy version


Monday, December 12, 2011

Holiday Shopping? Why Does Rubbing Elbows Turn Consumers Off?

Although holiday sales and events try to drive as many customers to retail stores as possible, a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research shows that the crowding may drive them away as well.
The issue arises when crowding results in people actually touching one another. “For managers, a stranger’s touch in the store means the money walks out of the store,” writes Brett A. S. Martin (Queensland University of Technology). He conducted a series of field experiments in stores in southern England.
While in a store, half the consumers were briefly brushed lightly by a fellow customer as they walked out of the aisle. The other half had a fellow customer stand near them but not touch them. The “fellow customers” were relatively attractive people in their 30s. When the customers left the store, their time in the store was recorded, and they completed a questionnaire on what they thought of the store and the item they were looking at when they were touched.
The belief that men like being touched by women they don’t know is not true, Martin finds. His experiments found that customers, men and women, who were touched by male or female strangers while looking at a product quickly left the store and did so with a negative view of the product they were looking at.
“Rather than cramming a store with goods and having narrow aisles, managers should think about giving people space to consider products without the risk of being bumped into by strangers,” says Martin.
“For the brand manager of the product, it is vital that how products are displayed by retailers is considered in a brand’s marketing strategy. It is not just about grabbing a customer’s attention in-store with a good display or price promotion,” Martin writes. “Brands that want to increase sales need to find ways to let customers view a product without being touched by others. If they are touched, they don’t buy, and they leave store with a bad impression of your brand.”

Why Does Stating Your Intention Lead You to Purchase Your Favorite Brand?

If you say you’re going to buy something, you’re more likely to do it. But why is that? According to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research, stating an intention leads consumers to action—and makes them more likely to purchase their preferred brands.
“Simply responding to an intention question has the potential to activate an intention,” write authors Anneleen Van Kerckhove, Maggie Geuens, and Iris Vermeir (Ghent University). “The activation of an intention next changes how easily certain brands come to mind, which then influences brand choices.”
In a series of studies the researchers had participants fill in a questionnaire on their preferences among fictitious or existing candy bar brands. Some participants answered an “intention question” (How likely are you to purchase a candy bar in the near future?), while others answered an attitude question (How positive or negative are you about the candy bars available to you?).
“Those who responded to an intention question were more likely to choose the brand they previously indicated they preferred the most, irrespective of whether they were asked immediately after the intention question to make a brand choice decision or whether there was a delay between filling in the intention question and making the brand choice decision,” the authors write.
Consumers are motivated to fulfill their intentions, and this motivation narrows their focus. “The intention puts the intention-related brand to the front of consumers’ minds and pushes other well-liked brands to the back until the consumer has accomplished the intention,” the authors write.
“To the best of our knowledge, these research findings provide the first evidence for the role of a motivational component in the occurrence of the question- behavior effect,” the authors conclude.

Online Brand Comments: How Do They Affect Consumer Decisions?

Consumer reactions to online comments depend on the number of comments and the reader’s orientation (whether it’s positive or negative), according to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research.
“How individuals make decisions is influenced by their self-regulatory goals,” write authors Yeosun Yoon (KAIST Graduate School of Management), Zeynep Gürhan-Canli, and Gülen Sarial-Abi (both Koc University). “According to regulatory focus theory, promotion-focused individuals are likely to be sensitive to gain-related information that involves the presence or absence of positive outcomes. On the other hand, prevention-focused individuals are likely to be sensitive to loss-related information that involves the presence or absence of negative outcomes.”
In the authors’ first two studies, participants read either two or six consumer commentaries responding to a news story about a newly introduced fictitious brand of MP3 player. The participants then responded with their overall attitude toward the brand, indicating the extent to which they relied on negative and positive commentaries.
When provided with a large number of mixed commentaries, promotion- and prevention-oriented individuals were biased in expected ways, positively or negatively. Under high information loads, individuals’ processing capacity was limited so they relied on only a subset of available information to simplify the judgment process. But this changed when only a few commentaries were provided. “When information load is low, individuals have higher cognitive capacity to process inconsistent information,” the authors write.
The authors also found that brand names affect consumers’ motivational orientation. Favorable brands, like Sony and Sylvania, activated promotion orientation, while less-favorable brands triggered prevention orientation.
“When individuals are provided with few commentaries, they are likelier to process information that is inconsistent with their motivational orientation,” the authors write. “We suggest that when consumers read commentaries by others they pay attention to the extent to which they selectively focus on positive or negative information.”

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Interactive mirror

Reveal Project - Personal Data Mirror from NYT R&D on Vimeo.o

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Download this McKinsey paper by clicking here.o

Scary Market Forecast...

Grantham Qtrly Lettero

The Changing Face of Risk Management

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2012 Trends


Friday, December 2, 2011

The Moment of Truth


Would you kill one person to save five?

Imagine a runaway boxcar heading toward five people who can’t escape its path. Now imagine you had the power to reroute the boxcar onto different tracks with only one person along that route.
Would you do it?
That’s the moral dilemma posed by a team of Michigan State University researchers in a first-of-its-kind study published in the research journal Emotion. Research participants were put in a three dimensional setting and given the power to kill one person (in this case, a realistic digital character) to save five.
The results? About 90 percent of the participants pulled a switch to reroute the boxcar, suggesting people are willing to violate a moral rule if it means minimizing harm.
“What we found is that the rule of ‘Thou shalt not kill’ can be overcome by considerations of the greater good,” said Carlos David Navarrete, lead researcher on the project.
As an evolutionary psychologist, Navarrete explores big-picture topics such as morality – in other words, how do we come to our moral judgments and does our behavior follow suit?
His latest experiment offers a new twist on the “trolley problem,” a moral dilemma that philosophers have contemplated for decades. But this is the first time the dilemma has been posed as a behavioral experiment in a virtual environment, “with the sights, sounds and consequences of our actions thrown into stark relief,” the study says.
The research participants were presented with a 3-D simulated version of the classic dilemma though a head-mounted device. Sensors were attached to their fingertips to monitor emotional arousal.
In the virtual world, each participant was stationed at a railroad switch where two sets of tracks veered off. Up ahead and to their right, five people hiked along the tracks in a steep ravine that prevented escape. On the opposite side, a single person hiked along in the same setting.
As the boxcar approached over the horizon, the participants could either do nothing – letting the coal-filled boxcar go along its route and kill the five hikers – or pull a switch (in this case a joystick) and reroute it to the tracks occupied by the single hiker.
Of the 147 participants, 133 (or 90.5 percent) pulled the switch to divert the boxcar, resulting in the death of the one hiker. Fourteen participants allowed the boxcar to kill the five hikers (11 participants did not pull the switch, while three pulled the switch but then returned it to its original position).
The findings are consistent with past research that was not virtual-based, Navarrete said.
The study also found that participants who did not pull the switch were more emotionally aroused. The reasons for this are unknown, although it may be because people freeze up during highly anxious moments – akin to a solider failing to fire his weapon in battle, Navarrete said.
“I think humans have an aversion to harming others that needs to be overridden by something,” Navarrete said. “By rational thinking we can sometimes override it – by thinking about the people we will save, for example. But for some people, that increase in anxiety may be so overpowering that they don’t make the utilitarian choice, the choice for the greater good.”

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Why Do Some People Never Forget A Face?

“Face recognition is an important social skill, but not all of us are equally good at it,” says Beijing Normal University cognitive psychologist Jia Liu. But what accounts for the difference? A new study by Liu and colleagues Ruosi Wang, Jingguang Li, Huizhen Fang, and Moqian Tian provides the first experimental evidence that the inequality of abilities is rooted in the unique way in which the mind perceives faces. “Individuals who process faces more holistically”—that is, as an integrated whole—“are better at face recognition,” says Liu. The findings will appear in an upcoming issue of Psychological Science, a journal published by the Association for Psychological Science.
In daily life, we recognize faces both holistically and also “analytically”—that is, picking out individual parts, such as eyes or nose. But while the brain uses analytical processing for all kinds of objects—cars, houses, animals—“holistic processing is thought to be especially critical to face recognition,” says Liu.
To isolate holistic processing as the key to face recognition, the researchers first measured the ability of study participants—337 male and female students—to remember whole faces, using a task in which they had to select studied faces and flowers from among unfamiliar ones.
The next two tasks measured performance in tasks that mark holistic processing. The composite-face effect (CFE) shows up when two faces are split horizontally and stuck together. It’s easier to identify the top half-face when it’s misaligned with the bottom one than when the two halves are fitted smoothly together. “That’s because our brain automatically combines them to form a new”—and unfamiliar—“face,” says Liu: evidence of holistic processing. The other marker of holistic processing is the whole-part effect (WPE). In this one, people are shown a face, then asked to recognize a part of it—say, the nose. They do better when the feature is presented within the whole face than when it stands on its own among other noses: again, we remember the nose integrated into the whole face. The researchers also assessed participants’ general intelligence.
The results: Those participants who scored higher on CFE and WPE—that is, who did well in holistic processing—also performed better at the first task of recognizing faces. But there was no link between facial recognition and general intelligence, which is made up of various cognitive processes—a suggestion that face processing is unique.
“Our findings partly explains why some never forget faces, while others misrecognize their friends and relatives frequently,” says Liu. That’s why the research holds promise for therapies for that second category of people, who may suffer disorders such as prosopagnosia (face blindness) and autism. Knowing that the mind receives a face as one whole thing and not as a collection of individual parts, “we may train people on holistic processing to improve their ability in recognizing faces,” Liu says.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Impatient People Have Lower Credit Scores

Is there a psychological reason why people default on their mortgages? A new study, which will be published in an upcoming issue of Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, finds that people with bad credit scores are more impatient – more likely to choose immediate rewards rather than wait for a larger reward later.
The new paper is by two economists who were working at the Federal Reserve’s Center for Behavioral Economics and Decisionmaking in Boston at the time they did the research. People at the Fed are very interested in understanding how the default crisis came about. “Most often, the reasons economists put forward are, maybe there was not enough screening for mortgage applicants, or securitization, or other institutional reasons,” says Stephan Meier, who is now at Columbia University. His coauthor, Charles Sprenger, is at Stanford University. ”That’s definitely important, but in the end humans make those repayment decisions. So there must be more psychological factors that explain how people make those decisions to default or not?”
During tax season, Meier and Sprenger recruited 437 low-to-moderate income people at a community center in Boston that was offering tax preparation help. Each person was given a questionnaire in which they made choices between a smaller, immediate reward and a larger reward later. This is a common test for seeing if people are willing to delay gratification. The questions offer different time periods and different amounts. The participants also agreed to let the researchers access their credit scores.
Impatient people had lower credit scores. A low credit score can indicate some problems with credit in the past, like failing to pay bills or defaulting on a mortgage. “Conceptually, it does make sense that how people discount the future, i.e. how impatient they are, affects their decision to default on their loans,” Meier says. “Individuals accumulate debt and then have to decide whether to repay the money or use the money for something else?” If they don’t pay off their debt, they will have short-term benefits – any cash on hand is available for something else – but the costs/problems come much later, when a landlord, mortgage lender, or someone else sees their bad credit report.
Meier acknowledges that defaulting on a loan isn’t always a deliberate choice. People may default because they lose their job, for example. “But there is a little bit of strategic defaulting going on, where some people make this cost-benefit analysis” – those individuals rather have more money now and deal with the repercussions later.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

China: The Most Valuable Social Commerce Market in the World?

Read the report from Boston Consulting Group by clicking here.o

Thursday, November 24, 2011

The Other Side of Things - Why Social Media is Shit


Future of Shopping


Monday, November 21, 2011

Always On Women

Always On Women: A survey of how women are using technology today - download the AdAge Insights report by clicking here.

Men Are Funnier Than Women


How Shopping Malls Make You Buy


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Another Day Older and Deeper in Debt: Why Do Events Seem More Important When Consumers Think About Weight?

Toting a heavy item around may cause you to judge an issue to be more important, according to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research. But, interestingly, so does thinking about the concept of weight.
“Prior research has shown that the physical experience of carrying weight can influence people’s judgment in unrelated domains such as the importance of an event,” write authors Meng Zhang (Chinese University of Hong Kong) and Xiuping Li (National University of Singapore). “In this research we investigate how such an influence happens and when it will happen.”
In their research the authors measured consumer responses to actually carrying weight as well as their reactions to being primed to think about the concept of weight. The authors found that the metaphorical associations people form are just as important as the physical weight they carry.
In one study, the authors asked some participants to hold shopping bags full of water bottles. Others read a paragraph that described a heavy-duty crane, which included weight-related terms (“heavy,” “tons,” and “loaded”). They asked participants to give an opinion on an unrelated topic: whether it was important to list nutritional information on products. The participants who were primed to think about weight responded much like the people who actually carried weight. They thought the issue was more important than participants who weren’t weighed down—metaphorically or literally.
In another experiment, participants who carried heavy loads were instructed to think about light objects, like balloons and feathers. When they did so, the effect of the physical weight experience on their judgment was eliminated.
“The physical experience can directly cause the mental state or abstract judgment,” the authors write. “The results of our five experiments, however, show that weight experience relies on people’s subjective inference to exert its effect.”

Do Consumers Purchase Interesting Products with Credit and Boring Products with Cash?

People who pay cash focus on different aspects of products than people who use credit cards, according to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research.
“Our research suggest that, when it comes to product evaluation, beauty truly lies in the eyes of the cardholder,” write authors Promothesh Chatterjee (University of Kansas) and Randall L. Rose (University of South Carolina).
Although previous research has already proven that consumers are willing to pay more when they use credit cards instead of cash, the authors found that consumer perception of products is also affected when thinking about paying with one or the other.
In the experiments, the authors induced people to think about either credit cards or cash as means of payment. They then examined the ways participants evaluated different product attributes. “We find that people attend more to product benefits when concepts related to credit cards are highlighted in their minds as compared to cash concepts,” the authors write. “On the other hand, when cash concepts are primed, people tend to focus more on product costs (monetary and non-monetary).”
The authors note that consumers develop mental associations about credit cards and cash from early ages. Credit card advertising, for example, links the use of credit cards with highly desirable products and lifestyles and immediate gratification. Cash, on the other hand, is closely linked to the pain of payment.
“While convenient, credit cards do not encourage consumers to deliberate over their spending behavior,” the authors write. “Our findings suggest that marketers may be affecting not just the amount of money consumers are willing to spend but also the nature of the goods and services that find their way into consumers’ market baskets.”
“The effects of credit cards go far beyond increasing consumer spending power and shifting consumption from the future to the present; fundamental product perceptions are affected as well,” the authors conclude.

If Consumers Are Close to Their Fitness Goals, Do They Prefer a Larger or Limited Variety of Related Products?

Consumers who believe they are making progress toward their goals are motivated by limited product variety, unlike people who think they are further from their goals, according to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research.
“Consumers often buy products to help them pursue their goals,” write authors Jordan Etkin and Rebecca K. Ratner (both University of Maryland). “For example, if someone has a goal to be physically fit, the person may buy a variety of protein supplements (bars, powder, shakes) to help achieve a fitness goal. We investigate how the amount of variety within a set of goal-related products impacts consumers’ motivation toward pursuing their goals.”
The authors conducted five experiments on a college campus. In each experiment, they varied whether participants evaluated low-variety or high-variety sets of products to pursue goals. For example, in one study, they asked participants to write down a fitness goal and then induced either a high or low sense of progress toward achieving that goal. They next showed the participants a set of six protein bars, differing in flavor only (low variety) or in form (a protein bar, protein shake, etc.; the high-variety set). Finally, they measured participants’ motivation to achieve their fitness goals.
“We found that when goal progress was low, people reported being more motivated to achieve their fitness goal when presented with a high-variety set of six different types of protein supplements rather than the low-variety set of six different flavors of protein bars,” the authors write. The pattern reversed when goal progress was high: Those participants reported that they were more motivated to achieve their goals when they were presented with less variety.
Stores may want to note what kind of customers they cater to when they develop marketing plans, the authors explain; they may want to highlight or minimize the perceived variety among product offerings. “For example, stores like GNC that cater primarily to consumers who have already invested time and energy in being fit may wish to de-emphasize the variety of their product offerings,” the authors write. “Alternatively stores like Walmart that might cater to consumers who have made less progress toward a goal of being physically fit may wish to highlight the variety among their product offerings.”

Put Yourself in Someone Else’s Shoes: What Type of Perspective Makes Consumers Self-Conscious?

Certain emotions are heightened when we view ourselves from a first-person perspective, while others amplify when we observe ourselves from the outside, according to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research.
“People often feel various emotions when they recall past events or visualize future ones,” write authors Iris W. Hung (National University of Singapore) and Anirban Mukhopadhyay (Hong Kong University of Science and Technology). “For example, one might feel excited about going to a rock concert, but at the same time guilty about not studying for an important exam; proud about winning an award, but also embarrassed about tripping en route to the podium.”
The authors found that people who are “in the moment” (also called an “actor’s perspective”) experience emotions such as joy, sorrow, or excitement more strongly than people who use an observer’s perspective—as if they were watching a movie of themselves—which heightens self-conscious emotions like pride, guilt, and embarrassment.
In one experiment, the authors asked half of the participants to imagine choosing to attend a concert instead of studying for an important exam. The other half imagined choosing to study rather than going to the concert. The participants were instructed to use either an actor’s perspective or an observer’s perspective.
“Actors felt more happiness but less guilt than observers when imagining themselves choosing going to the concert over studying for the exam,” the authors write. “In contrast, actors felt more sadness but less pride than observers when imagining themselves studying for the exam over going to the concert.”
The authors found similar results across a variety of situations, both real and imagined. They also discovered that actors were more likely than observers to focus on situational circumstances (how much they want something), whereas observers were more likely to focus on how others might evaluate them.
“Emotions people feel are often influenced by the information they attend to,” the authors write. “Hedonic emotions get amplified if we view the situation in the first person. In contrast, self-conscious emotions are amplified if we view the same situation in the third person.”

Tell the Story

Joe Gebbia: The Power of Story from Piers Fawkes on Vimeo.o

The Brain Acts Fast To Reappraise Angry Faces

If you tell yourself that someone who’s being mean is just having a bad day—it’s not about you—you may actually be able to stave off bad feelings, according to a new study which will be published in an upcoming issue of Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.
Having someone angry at you isn’t pleasant. A strategy commonly suggested in cognitive-behavioral psychotherapy is to find another way to look at the angry person. For example, you might tell yourself that they’ve probably just lost their dog or gotten a cancer diagnosis and are taking it out on you. Stanford researchers Jens Blechert, Gal Sheppes, Carolina Di Tella, Hants Williams, and James J. Gross wanted to study the efficiency and the speed of the process of reappraising emotions. “You can see this as a kind of race between the emotional information and the reappraisal information in the brain: emotional processing proceeds from the back to the front of the brain, and the reappraisal is generated in the front of the brain and proceeds toward the back of the brain where it modifies emotional processing” Blechert says.
Blechert and his colleagues came up with two experiments to study this process. Participants were shown several series of faces and tested on their reactions. For example, in one set, they were told to consider that the people they’d seen had had a bad day, but it’s nothing to do you with you. “So we trained the participants a little bit, not to take this emotion personally, but directed at someone else,” Blechert says.
They found that, once people had adjusted their attitude toward someone, they weren’t disturbed by that person’s angry face the next time it appeared. On the other hand, when participants were told to just feel the emotions brought on by an angry face, they continued to be upset by that face. In a second study, the researchers recorded electrical brain activity from the scalp and found that reappraising wiped out the signals of the negative emotions people felt when they just looked at the faces.
Psychologists used to think that people had to feel the negative emotion, and then get rid of it; this research suggests that, if people are prepared, it’s actually a much faster and deeper process.
“If you’re trained with reappraisal, and you know your boss is frequently in a bad mood, you can prepare yourself to go into a meeting,” says Blechert, who also works as a therapist. “He can scream and yell and shout but there’ll be nothing.” But this study only looked at still pictures of angry faces; next, Blechert would like to test how people respond to a video of someone yelling at them.

Monday, November 14, 2011

How Women Are Using Technology Today

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Thursday, November 10, 2011

‘Digital waste’ pollutes the online world as brands fail to listen to what people want

Businesses are wasting time and money trying to reach people online without realising many resent big brands invading their social networks – according to findings from a global study launched by today by TNS, a Kantar company and part of WPP [NASDAQ:WPPGY].
The findings were revealed by TNS’s Digital Life study, the most comprehensive view of how more than 72,000 consumers in 60 countries behave online and why they do what they do – an interactive data visualisation of the key findings can be found at www.tnsdigitallife.com.
The race online has seen businesses across the world develop profiles on social networks, such as Facebook or YouTube, to speak to customers quickly and cheaply – but TNS’s research reveals that if these efforts are not carefully targeted, they are wasted on half of them.
It found that 57 per cent of people*** in developed markets* do not want to engage with brands via social media – rising to 60 per cent in the US and 61 per cent in the UK. Instead, misguided digital strategies are generating mountains of digital waste, from friendless Facebook accounts to blogs no one reads. This is being combined with ever-increasing content produced by consumers – the study shows 47 per cent of digital consumers now comment about brands online.

The result is huge volumes of noise, which is polluting the digital world and making it harder for brands to be heard – presenting a major challenge for businesses trying to enter into dialogue with consumers online.
“Winning and keeping customers is harder than ever,” said Matthew Froggatt, Chief Development Officer, TNS. He continued, “The online world undoubtedly presents massive opportunities for brands, however it is only through deploying precisely tailored marketing strategies that they will be able to realise this potential. Choosing the wrong channel, or simply adding to the cacophony of online noise, risks alienating potential customers and impacting business growth.”

TNS’s Digital Life study asked consumers around the world whether they actually want to engage with brands on social networking websites – either to find out more or to make a purchase.

Although 54 per cent of people*** admit social networks are a good place to learn about products, the research shows brands must harness digital more carefully if they are to use it to their advantage and deepen relationships with customers and prospects.
The study also reveals big geographic contrasts which highlight the risks of brands employing a catch- all approach that doesn’t take the needs of different consumers into consideration.Fast growth markets** were found to be far more open to brands on social networks. Just 33 per cent of Colombians*** and 37 per cent of Mexicans*** said they don’t want to be bothered by them, while 59 per cent of people*** across fast-growing countries see social networks as a good place to learn about brands. However, even here brands must still plan and manage online engagement carefully to avoid alienating consumers and doing more harm than good, according to TNS.
Matthew Froggatt explains: “Digital waste is the accumulation of thousands of brands rushing online without thinking who they want to talk to – and why. Many brands have recognised the vast potential audiences available to them on social networks; however they are failing to understand that these spaces belong to the consumer and their presence needs to be proportionate and justified.”

“The key is to understand your target audience and what they want from your brand – social networks aren’t always the right approach. If consumers in one market don’t want to be talked to, can you use an alternative online method – creating owned digital media platforms, targeted sponsorship or search campaigns – to engage in an appropriate way that will achieve business results, without adding to the digital waste pile?”

TNS’s Digital Life study also sheds vital light on why people do engage with brands online. 46 per cent of those motivated to post comments on companies do so for the simple desire to impart advice – with Romanians the most helpful online (55 per cent).
Findings showed that more people like to praise than complain online (13 per cent vs 10 per cent). The Spanish are the least likely to praise online, with just one in ten people saying that they would do this, and Argentineans are the most likely to complain about brands online (12.5 per cent).
However, motivations of online commentators can be self-serving. 61 per cent of consumers are driven to engage with brands online by a promotion or special offer.

When examining global contrasts, TNS found that consumers in fast growth markets are incredibly keen to spend more time and money online than they currently do – presenting major growth opportunities for brands.

There are, however, infrastructure challenges still to be overcome in these countries before businesses can really tap into the enthusiasm for the digital world. 48 per cent of people already online in fast growth markets would use the internet more if it was less expensive – rising sharply in Africa, to 81 per cent of people in Ghana, 71 per cent in Nigeria and 68 per cent in Kenya.
Likewise, while just a quarter of people*** in developed markets see social networks as a place to buy products, this rises to 48 per cent across fast growth markets. Some of the most eager online consumers are found in India, where 59 per cent see social networks as a good place to buy products from brands.

And when it comes to online shopping habits, Asian consumers are leading the adoption of group buying and purchase via mobile. Almost half (46 per cent) of digital consumers in China already use
group buying tools - in stark contrast to Europe where adoption rates are as low as 6 per cent in Sweden and Finland.
Adoption of shopping via mobile is also high in the region – 34 per cent of mobile internet users in China and South Korea shop on their phone, falling to just two per cent in Egypt.

Matthew Froggatt adds: “There is a huge appetite for increased internet access and mobile services among consumers in fast growth markets. Digital Life shows that as online communities mature, brands that can cut through the digital noise have fantastic potential to drive rapid growth from this nascent consumer base.”

*Developed markets: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Singapore, Slovak Republic, Spain, Switzerland, Sweden, Taiwan, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States.
** Fast growth markets: Argentina, Brazil, Chile, China, Columbia, Egypt, Estonia, Ghana, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Malaysia, Mexico, Morocco, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Tanzania, Thailand, Turkey, Uganda, Ukraine, Vietnam.
***This refers to Social Network Users only.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

A Brief History of Sharing


Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Which Way You Lean—Physically—Affects Your Decision-Making

We’re not always aware of how we are making a decision. Unconscious feelings or perceptions may influence us. Another important source of information—even if we’re unaware of it—is the body itself.
“Decision making, like other cognitive processes, is an integration of multiple sources of information—memory, visual imagery, and bodily information, like posture,” says Anita Eerland, a psychologist at Erasmus University Rotterdam in the Netherlands. In a new study, Eerland and colleagues Tulio Guadalupe and Rolf Zwaan found that surreptitiously manipulating the tilt of the body influences people’s estimates of quantities, such as sizes, numbers, or percentages. The findings will appear in an upcoming issue of Psychological Science, a journal published by the Association for Psychological Science.
When we count, we think of smaller numbers to the left and larger ones to the right. The researchers surmised that leaning one way or the other—even imperceptibly—might therefore nudge people to estimate lower or higher. To test this hypothesis, study participants—33 undergraduates—stood on a Wii Balance Board that imperceptibly manipulated their posture to tilt left or right or stay upright while they answered estimation questions appearing on a screen. The participants were told they probably didn’t know the answers and therefore would have to estimate; they were also instructed to stand upright throughout the trials. A representation on the screen, below the question, of the person’s posture showed it to be upright even when it was not.  The participants answered the questions one by one verbally.
In the first experiment, the estimations were of different kinds of quantities—e.g., the height of the Eiffel Tower or percentage of alcohol in whiskey. In the second, the quantities were all of the same kind—How many grandchildren does Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands have? How many Number 1 hits did Michael Jackson have in the Netherlands? The answers were all between 1 and 10.
As expected, participants gave smaller estimations when leaning left than when either leaning right or standing upright. There was no difference in their estimates between right-leaning and upright postures.
The researchers point out that body posture won’t make you answer incorrectly if you know the answer. “Your body posture may nudge your estimates in a particular direction,” says Zwaan. Adds Eerland: “Posture doesn’t overwrite knowledge.”
Still, says Zwaan, we should not mistake our cognitive processes as perfectly and consciously rational. “Decision-making is not a pristine process.  All sources of information creep into it, and we are just beginning to explore the role of the body in this.”

Monday, October 31, 2011

Social Shopping Study


Sunday, October 30, 2011

Future Vision of Mobile


Saturday, October 29, 2011

The myth of small packages

If you believe that good things always come in small packages, University of Alberta researcherJennifer Argo’s new study may change your mind—especially this close to Halloween.
In an article forthcoming in the Journal of Marketing, Argo explores how our consumption behaviours change when it comes to treats like chocolates and candies are placed in smaller packages. She says that people eat more of a product when it is placed in small packages rather that a regular-sized packages. However, she said, those with low-appearance self-esteem—the term researchers use to describe people who are concerned about their body, weight or physical appearance—tend to consume more than the average population, especially when certain conditions seemed favourable.
“The low-appearance self-esteem people ate the most when they were told that the caloric information was favourable (low in calories), when the caloric information was on the front of the package and when the product was visible (clear packaging),” said Argo. “People in the high-appearance self-esteem category—those who did not indicate concerns about weight or physical appearance—still ate more, but there was a big jump in the consumption quantity for [those with low self-esteem].”
Giving in to the dark chocolate side
Argo says that information contained on the packages in the study samples did have an effect on the low-appearance self-esteem participants. This group tended to eat less when the product wasn’t visible, the caloric information was missing or they believed there were more calories in the small packages than what they expected.
She said elements such as a visible product and content labeling information served as cues to the group’s susceptibility, which Argo noted gave this group a false sense of belief that the package would help them manage consumption and help them achieve potential weight-management goals.
While this might be true if only a single small package is present, Argo says that, in reality, small packaged goods are often sold in multiples and her study showed that these helpful, small packages are detrimental to consumers’ waistlines.
“These consumers are basically saying, ‘this package is going to protect me; it’s going to help me achieve my goal,’ and so they relinquish control to the package,” she said. “They throw up their hands and say, ‘I don’t have to worry because the package is taking care of everything for me.’ As soon as they’ve given up initial control, they have no control to deal with that next package that’s presented to them.”
Self-defense against small packages
Argo says that buying the regular-sized packages of these types of snacks and exercising portion control will not only reduce calories, but also save money as well, although she says that some people may still opt to buy the small packages out of convenience. For this group, she counsels that they retake control and limit the number of packages they take out at any one time. And especially with the seductive call of leftover Halloween candies around the corner, Argo says the old adage of “watch what you eat” may not be a bad idea.
“Relinquishing control to small packages is “a very cognitive process; people are purposefully doing this,” she said. “(In the study) we found that if we interrupt the participants, if we distracted them with a task, they don’t fall prey (to overeating).
“When it’s a small package, distractions are actually beneficial in some respects.”