Saturday, January 28, 2012

New Market Realities


Friday, January 27, 2012

Own The Future of Shopper Marketing

There are xtreme shoppers all over the world. Xtremes are defined by their attitudes &
behaviors & cross all demographic groups. Download the report from GfK by clicking here

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Next Generation Media


Tuesday, January 24, 2012

7 Business models that Got Shot in 2011


Walking and Texting at the Same Time? Think Again!

Talking on a cell phone or texting while walking may seem natural and easy, but it could be dangerous and result in walking errors and interfere with memory recall. Researchers at Stony Brook University found this to be the case in a study of young people walking and using their cell phones. The study is reported in the online edition of Gait & Posture.

Thirty-three men and women in their 20s, all of whom reported owning and using a cell phone and familiar with texting, participated in the study. To assess walking abilities, participants completed a baseline test. Each participant was shown a target on the floor eight meters away. Then, by obstructing vision of the target and floor, participants were instructed to walk at a comfortable pace to the target and stop. They repeated the same walk three times. After each walk, the amount of time it took and the position where each participant stopped was measured. 

Participants returned one week later. With vision occluded except for the ability to see a cell phone, one-third completed the exact same task; one-third completed the task while talking on a cell phone; and one-third completed the task while texting.

“We were surprised to find that talking and texting on a cell phone were so disruptive to one’s gait and memory recall of the target location,” says Eric M. Lamberg, PT, EdD, co-author of the study and Clinical Associate Professor, Department of Physical Therapy, School of Health Technology and Management, Stony Brook University.

Dr. Lamberg summarized that the changes from the baseline blindfolded walk to testing indicated that participants who were using a cell phone to text while walking and those who used a cell phone to talk while walking were significantly slower, with 33 and 16 percent reductions in speed, respectively. Moreover, participants who were texting while walking veered off course demonstrating a 61 percent increase in lateral deviation and 13 percent increase in distance traveled.

Although walking seems automatic, areas in the brain controlling executive function and attention are necessary for walking. Dr. Lamberg says that the significant reductions in velocity and difficulty maintaining course indicates cell phone use and texting impacts working memory of these tasks. 

Powerful People Feel Taller Than They Are

After the huge 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the chairman of BP referred to the victims of the spill as the “small people.” He explained it as awkward word choice by a non-native speaker of English, but the authors of a new paper published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, wondered if there was something real behind it. In their study, they found that people who feel powerful tend to overestimate their own height—they feel physically larger than they actually are.
“Maybe there’s a physical experience that goes along with being powerful,” says Jack A. Goncalo of Cornell University, who cowrote the paper with Michelle M. Duguid of Washington University. “For people who are less powerful, maybe other people and objects loom larger, and for the powerful everything else just seems smaller.” Plenty of research has shown that taller people are more likely to acquire power; taller people make more money, on average, and are more likely to be promoted. But our research is the first to show the reverse may also be true power also makes people feel taller.
In one experiment, subjects came to the lab in pairs. First they had their heights measured. Then they were given a leadership aptitude test and told that, based on their feedback, they would each be assigned to play the role of the manager or the employee. They were given fake feedback, then randomly assigned a role. After that, each person filled out a questionnaire with personal information, including eye color and height. People who had been told they would be the manager, with complete control over the work process and power to evaluate the employee, said they were taller than the actual measurement. The subject who had been told they would be the employee gave a height that was more or less the same as their real height.
Other experiments found similar results—that people who feel powerful overestimate their height. So maybe Carl-Henric Svanberg really did feel taller than the people affected by the Gulf oil spill. The results may also explain why diminutive leaders might still behave like people twice their height—they actually feel taller.
“Given that height is associated with power, raising your height may make you feel powerful,” Goncalo says—which helps explain the continuing popularity of high heels and offices on the top floor.

Monday, January 23, 2012

To “Think Outside the Box”, Think Outside the Box

Want to think outside the box? Try actually thinking outside of a box. In a study to be published in an upcoming issue of Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, researchers had students think up solutions to problems while acting out various metaphors about creative thinking and found that the instructions actually worked.
The authors of the new paper were inspired by metaphors about creativity found in boardrooms to movie studios to scientific laboratories around the world and previous linkages established between mind and body.  Angela Leung of Singapore Management University and her coauthors from the University of Michigan, Cornell University, and others wondered if the same was true of metaphors about creativity. “Creativity is a highly sought-after skill,” they write. “Metaphors of creative thinking abound in everyday use.”  Their experiments went beyond metaphors that activate preexisting knowledge and demonstrated for the first time some metaphors “work” by activating psychological processes conducive for generating previously unknown and therefore creative ideas.
People talk about thinking “outside the box” or consider problems “on the one hand, then on the other hand.” So Leung and her colleagues created experiments where people acted out these metaphors. In one experiment, each participant was seated either inside or outside of a five-by-five-foot cardboard box. The two environments were set up to be otherwise the same in every way, and people didn’t feel claustrophobic in the box. Participants were told it was a study on different work environments. Each person completed a test widely used to test creativity; those who were outside did the test better than people who were inside the box.
In another experiment, some participants were asked to join the halves of cut-up coasters before taking a test—a physical representation of “putting two and two together.” People who acted out the metaphor displayed more convergent thinking, a component of creativity that requires bringing together many possible answers to settle on one that will work. Other experiments found that walking freely generated more original ideas than walking in a set line; another found truth in “on the hand; on the other hand.”
All this suggests that there’s something to the metaphors we use to talk about creativity. “Having a leisurely walk outdoors or freely pacing around may help us break our mindset,” says Leung. “Also, we may consider getting away from Dilbert’s cubicles and creating open office spaces to free up our minds.”

Thursday, January 19, 2012

People behave socially and “well” even without rules

Millions of human interactions were assessed during the study which included actions such as communication, founding and ending friendships, trading goods, sleeping, moving, however also starting hostilities, attacks and punishment. The game does not suggest any rules and everyone can live with their avatar (i.e. with their “game character” in the virtual world) as they choose. “And the result of this is not anarchy”, says Thurner. “The participants organise themselves as a social group with good intents. Almost all the actions are positive.”
“Exactly how people tick”
The interactions were fed into an “alphabet” by the researchers, “similar to how the genetic code of DNA was decoded 15 years ago”, says Thurner. “From this we get a pattern which reflects how people tick”. However, there is quite a high potential for aggression: so, for example, if a negative action is inflicted, the probability that the player will subsequently also act aggressively shoots up more than tenfold, even to about 30 percent.
Forecasting group dynamic processes in society
Thurner and his team were also able to present by means of the pattern that the whole game is a reflection of reality. “For example, we could adopt measured values one for one for communication networks. A further measurement is that almost no one has more than 150 friends, the so-called Dunbar’s number, regardless of whether in the real or the virtual world.” The study has now been published in the specialist journal “Public Library of Science One (PLoS One)”.
The long-term aim is to detect “phase transitions in societies” early on using these measurements and the behavioural patterns researched in the virtual world in order to be able to forecast group dynamic social processes and to be able to react in the event of these cases in good time. “It is possible, for example, that through certain conditions the aggression level, that has increased tenfold, remains extensively in place and therefore systemically for a longer time, which bears comparison with a drastic radicalisation in societies. Consequently, we could react to it in good time.” A current example for such a phase transition in society has been the relatively surprising “Arab Spring” with its many protests, uprisings and revolutions, which, as is well known, were targeted against the ruling totalitarian regimes in many countries.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The benefits of gossip

For centuries, gossip has been dismissed as salacious, idle chatter that can damage reputations and erode trust. But a new study from the University of California, Berkeley, suggests rumor-mongering can have positive outcomes such as helping us police bad behavior, prevent exploitation and lower stress.
“Gossip gets a bad rap, but we’re finding evidence that it plays a critical role in the maintenance of social order,” said UC Berkeley social psychologist Robb Willer, a coauthor of the study published in this month’s online issue of theJournal of Personality and Social Psychology.
The study also found that gossip can be therapeutic. Volunteers’ heart rates increased when they witnessed someone behaving badly, but this increase was tempered when they were able to pass on the information to alert others.
“Spreading information about the person whom they had seen behave badly tended to make people feel better, quieting the frustration that drove their gossip,” Willer said.
So strong is the urge to warn others about unsavory characters that participants in the UC Berkeley study sacrificed money to send a “gossip note” to warn those about to play against cheaters in economic trust games. Overall, the findings indicate that people need not feel bad about revealing the vices of others, especially if it helps save someone from exploitation, the researchers said.
“We shouldn’t feel guilty for gossiping if the gossip helps prevent others from being taken advantage of,” said Matthew Feinberg, a UC Berkeley social psychologist and lead author of the paper.
The study focused on “prosocial” gossip that “has the function of warning others about untrustworthy or dishonest people,” said Willer, as opposed to the voyeuristic rumor-mongering about the ups and downs of such tabloid celebrities as Kim Kardashian and Charlie Sheen.
In a series of four experiments, researchers used games in which the players’ generosity toward each other was measured by how many dollars or points they shared. In the first experiment, 51 volunteers were hooked up to heart rate monitors as they observed the scores of two people playing the game. After a couple of rounds, the observers could see that one player was not playing by the rules and was hoarding all the points.
Observers’ heart rates increased as they witnessed the cheating, and most seized the opportunity to slip a “gossip note” to warn a new player that his or her contender was unlikely to play fair. The experience of passing on the information calmed this rise in heart rate.
“Passing on the gossip note ameliorated their negative feelings and tempered their frustration,” Willer said. “Gossiping made them feel better.”
In the second experiment, 111 participants filled out questionnaires about their level of altruism and cooperativeness. They then observed monitors showing the scores from three rounds of the economic trust game, and saw that one player was cheating.
The more prosocial observers reported feeling frustrated by the betrayal and then relieved to be given a chance to pass a gossip note to the next player to prevent exploitation.
 “A central reason for engaging in gossip was to help others out – more so than just to talk trash about the selfish individual,” Feinberg said.  “Also, the higher participants scored on being altruistic, the more likely they were to experience negative emotions after witnessing the selfish behavior and the more likely they were to engage in the gossip.”
To raise the stakes, participants in the third experiment were asked to go so far as to sacrifice the pay they received to be in the study if they wanted to send a gossip note. Moreover, their sacrifice would not negatively impact the selfish player’s score. Still, a large majority of observers agreed to take the financial hit just to send the gossip note.
“People paid money to gossip even when they couldn’t affect the selfish person’s outcome,” Feinberg said.
In the final study, 300 participants from around the country were recruited via Craigslist to play several rounds of the economic trust game online. They played using raffle tickets that would be entered in a drawing for a $50 cash prize –-an extra incentive to hold on to as many raffle tickets as possible.
Some players were told that the observers during a break could pass a gossip note to players in the next round to alert them to individuals not playing fairly. The threat of being the subject of negative gossip spurred virtually all the players to act more generously, especially those who had scored low on an altruism questionnaire taken prior to the game.
Together, the results from all four experiments show that “when we observe someone behave in an immoral way, we get frustrated,” Willer said. “But being able to communicate this information to others who could be helped makes us feel better.”


Social Media Lifecycle


Monday, January 16, 2012

How Does 365 Days (Instead of One Year) Affect Consumer Decision Making?

How long it will take to bake a cake? Twenty-eight minutes or half an hour? According to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research, most consumers would trust the 28- minute estimate, if it comes from a reliable source.
“Consumers‟ perception of the precision and reliability of quantitative product information looms large in their decision making,” write authors Y. Charles Zhang and Norbert Schwarz (both University of Michigan). They found that consumers generally prefer more precise or “granular” information to larger units. In the case of the cake, most people perceive “28 minutes” to be more precise and therefore more reliable than “half an hour,” which sounds a bit like rounding and could presumably mean a few minutes more or less. This observation has important implications for how consumers interpret quantitative information.
“Consumers perceive products as more likely to deliver on their promises when the promise is described in fine-grained rather than coarse terms and choose accordingly,” the authors conclude. For example, “one year” and “12 months” refer to the same amount of time, but leave different impressions.
In one study, participants chose between GPS units: one was described as lasting “up to two hours” and another, which was heavier and more expensive, “up to three hours.” “When the units‟ battery life was described in hours, only 26 percent picked the „up to two hours‟ unit—they were concerned it might run out of power prematurely,” the authors write. “But when the battery was described as „up to 120 minutes,‟ more than twice as many consumers (57 percent) were happy to pick the same unit.”
The granularity effect is only effective when consumers perceive the speaker to be competent and trustworthy. If they don‟t, the speaker‟s choice of words has no influence on consumer estimates.
These findings highlight that the choice of unit needs careful consideration in product descriptions and marketing communications. “A trustworthy and cooperative communicator should be as precise as possible but not more precise than warranted,” the authors conclude. 

Using Contrasting Colors to Reduce Serving Sizes and Lose Weight

Choosing the right size and color of your bowls and plates could help you eat less, according to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research.
“The bigger your dinnerware, the bigger your portion. If you use larger plates, you could end up serving 9 percent to 31 percent more than you typically would,” write authors Koert van Ittersum (Georgia Institute of Technology) and Brian Wansink (Cornell University). The average size of dinner plates has increased by almost 23 percent from since 1900, the authors point out, and eating only 50 more calories a day could result in a five-pound weight gain each year.
In one lab experiment, the researchers asked 225 student participants to pour a specified amount of tomato soup into one of seven different sized bowls: three smaller, three larger, and one control bowl. Consistent with researchers’ expectations, participants served less than the target serving size of soup into the smaller bowls, and they served more into the larger bowls.
Follow-up experiments showed that the “bowl bias” is nearly impossible to eliminate with education, awareness, or practice. During two summer camps, larger bowls led people to overserve up to 31 percent more than normal.
One of the few ways to reduce bowl bias is through color––such as changing the color of a tablecloth or a plate. In a field study, participants were asked to serve white-sauce or red-sauce pasta on either a large white or a large red plate. On average, changing the color of the plate so it was high contrast reduced how much people served by 21 percent, and changing the color of the tablecloth reduced how much people served by 10 percent.
The study reinforces the little-known Delboeuf illusion, where people believe the size of a circle is much smaller when surrounded by a large circle than a small one. Likewise, when serving onto a small plate, the serving size looks relatively larger than it actually is, which leads people to underserve.
“In the midst of hard-wired perceptual biases, a straightforward action would be to simply eliminate large dinnerware––replace our larger bowls and plates with smaller ones or contrast ones,” the authors conclude. 

Why Are Wealthy Consumers Less Likely to Buy Luxuries During a Recession?

During an economic downturn, even people who are not directly affected spend less on goods and services that signal social status, according to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research.
“Even when their consumption budget is unaffected by a recession, consumers will change their expenditure patterns because some of these expenses depend on social standards that shift with economic conditions,” write authors Wagner A. Kamakura (Duke University) and Rex Yuxing Du (University of Houston).
The authors delved into a study of the “budget effect,” where consumers under pressure first reduce their expenditures on nonessentials, thus increasing the share of spending on essential goods and services. “We argue that for products/services that are visible and nonessential, consumers draw value not only from consumption per se, but also from their „positionality,‟” the authors write. Examples of “positional” goods and services are dining out, dressing up, being pampered, buying new furnishings, or flying around.
The authors analyzed U.S. household expenditure data for more than two decades, using a model that allowed them to separate budget and positionality effects. “As one would expect, we find that the share of consumption budget devoted to nonessentials (apparel, jewelry and watches, recreation, traveling) drops, while shares devoted to essentials (food at home, housing, utilities) increase during a recession due to the budget effect,” the authors write.
Wealthy consumers don‟t necessarily spend less out of empathy for those who are less well off. Instead, they perceive a reduction in others‟ expenditures on positional goods and services and feel they don‟t need to spend as much to maintain the same status relative to their peers, the authors explain.
During hard times, visible luxuries are hit twice, because people generally have less to spend and those who can consume feel less compelled to show off. “Keeping up with the Joneses is less onerous when they are not keeping up,” the authors conclude. 

If Donuts Could Talk They’d Tell You to Take the Elevator Instead of the Stairs

Humanizing a brand can influence consumer behavior in a healthy or unhealthy direction—depending on how they envision the brand, according to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research.
“This research suggests that people’s behavior will be influenced by the brands they have been asked to think about,” write authors Pankaj Aggarwal (University of Toronto) and Ann L. McGill (University of Chicago).
The authors conducted three laboratory studies where they asked half of the participants to imagine well-known brands as coming to life as a person (anthropomorphizing). Other participants were not instructed to think about brands in human terms. Anthropomorphizing participants considered some brands to be partners (working along with the consumers to achieve benefits) and others to be servants (the brand did work on behalf of the consumer).
After thinking about Kellogg’s or Krispy Kreme, participants were asked to do a second study where they were asked about day-to-day judgments. They were asked if they would take the stairs (healthy behavior) or the elevator (less healthy behavior) in their building. “Those who had earlier been thinking about a humanized Kellogg were more likely to take the stairs, consistent with the Kellogg’s image, but those thinking about Krispy Kreme were more likely to take the elevator, consistent with the Krispy Kreme image, provided they liked the brand,” the authors write.
For a “servant brand” (like Volvo, known for safety), people behaved in opposite ways from the brand’s image. “People who thought about the humanized Volvo took on more risk [in gambling], accepting less and less advantageous gambles, behavior that is the opposite of the brand reputation.”
“Whether or not people’s behavior was affected by the brand depended on how they had been asked to envision the brand, specifically, as coming to life as a person or not,” the authors write. “Then whether they acted like the brand’s image or the opposite depended on whether the brand seemed to play a role more like a partner in their lives or a servant to them, and whether they liked it or not.” 

How Does Messiness Affect Consumer Preference for Simplicity?

A clean desk might not be all it‟s cracked up to be. According to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research, messiness can lead consumers toward clearer thinking— especially political conservatives.
“Business and government managers often promote „clean desk‟ policies to avoid disorganized offices and messy desks, for the purpose of boosting work efficiency and productivity,” write authors Jia (Elke) Liu (University of Groningen), Dirk Smeesters (Erasmus University), and Debra Trampe (University of Groningen). “This practice is based on the conventional wisdom that a disorganized and messy environment can clutter one‟s mind and complicate one‟s judgments. However, not all evidence supports this conventional link between a messy environment and a messy mind.”
In a series of six studies, the authors found that individuals who were reminded of messiness via a language task, worked at disorganized desks, or shopped in a store they perceived as disorganized displayed tendencies toward simplicity in a number of ways. “They categorized products in a simpler manner, were willing to pay more for a t-shirt that depicts a simple-looking picture, and sought less variety in their choices.”
The authors found that the messiness effect didn‟t affect liberals as much as conservatives because liberals were generally less concerned about being disorganized. “Specifically, conservatives, when confronted with a messy environment (compared to a clean environment), were willing to pay more for a t-shirt with a simple-looking picture. Liberals‟ willingness to pay for this shirt was not affected by messiness,” the authors explain.
The authors‟ study shows that experiencing messiness decreases consumers‟ cognitive complexity and induces them to form simple representations of product information (heuristic information processing). “Messy desks may not be as detrimental as they appear to be, as applying heuristic approaches can rather boost work efficiency or enhance employees‟ creativity in problem solving,” the authors conclude. 

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Who’s Wealthy? Beyond Net Worth, Asset and Debt Levels Change Our Perceptions

Will borrowing money to buy a new car make you feel richer? It depends on your net worth, says a new study inPsychological Science, a journal published by the Association for Psychological Science. “People’s perceptions of wealth vary not only as a function of their net worth, but also of the amount of assets and debt they have,” says Princeton University psychology graduate student Abigail B. Sussman, who wrote the study with Princeton professor Eldar Shafir. In fact, increasing your assets by taking on debt affects perceived wealth in opposite ways for people who are in the red (their debt outweighs their assets), or in the black (their assets outweigh their debt).
The studies recruited participants from the online platform Mechanical Turk. All were U.S. residents, average age 36, with average household incomes from $50,000 to $75,000. In six experiments, subjects considered pairs of financial profiles. In each pair, both profiles had equal positive or negative net worth, but one indicated lower debt and lower assets, while the other had relatively higher debt and assets. The first experiment tested perceptions: Participants were asked which person or household was financially better off. Whether shown brief, hypothetical descriptions or the detailed finances of actual households—including stocks, home values, student loans, and mortgages—the results were the same. When net worth was positive, more respondents called those with less debt wealthier than those with higher debt and more assets. By contrast, those in the red were perceived as wealthier when they had higher assets, even though accompanied by higher debt.
Do such perceptions lead to different decisions? Considering similar profile pairs, subjects were asked whether they’d borrow to buy something they couldn’t pay for outright—a luxury like a motorcycle or a necessity like bathroom repairs—or whether, as a loan officer, they’d lend to someone to do so. Again, positive-net-worth people with low debt and negative-net-worth people with high assets were more likely to borrow or be seen as credit worthy.
Why these fickle responses?  “People generally like assets and dislike debt, but they tend to focus more on one or the other depending on their net worth,” says Sussman.  “We find that if you have positive net worth, your attention is more likely to be drawn to debt, which stands out against the positive background.” On the other hand, “when things are bad, people find comfort in their assets, which get more attention.”
These findings challenge classical theories that net worth matters most in people’s feelings about their financial situations. And, says Sussman, understanding the nuances the study reveals can help predict economic behavior that otherwise appears puzzling.  A person deep in debt may borrow to buy a new car, while a person with positive net worth may skip the loan and the car.  And both are likely to feel wealthier for doing so.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Feeling blue? New insight to predicting consumer emotions

It's no secret that emotions influence peoples' decisions about what, when and how they buy. Whether choosing between a movie and a play, deciding whether to attend a sporting event shortly before an important event or selecting an indulgent breakfast treat in anticipation of a tough day at work, consumers' choices are often guided by how they expect their purchase will make them feel. New research by Jane Ebert, a professor of marketing at the University of Minnesota's Carlson School of Management, reveals that how we go about predicting our emotions can lead to very different outcomes.
In a series of four studies, Ebert and co-authors Daniel Gilbert (Harvard) and Timothy Wilson (University of Virginia) use methods of prediction called forecasting and backcasting to show how they lead to quite different outcomes. Consumers can predict their feelings following an event by forecasting--first imagining their feelings when the event occurs ("I'll be very unhappy if I see the Red Sox lose today") and then considering how those feelings might change over time ("…but I'll probably feel better in a few days, in time for my birthday party"). Alternatively, they can predict their feelings following an event by backcasting-first imagining their feelings in a future period ("I'm going to be happy in a few days because my birthday party is coming up") and then considering the effects of the event ("…and if I see the Red Sox lose today it won't change that much").
For example, a person who sees an ad for a Caribbean Cruise in the dead of winter would expect to enjoy the trip more if the copy read, "Winter getting you down? How's it going to feel after three more weeks of this? Wouldn't a sun-filled tropical vacation help? Book one today," than if the ad simply touted the trip before invoking the customer's feelings. By first getting buyers to think ahead to more winter, the advertisement actually makes them consider the effects of the vacation on their feeling more then if they just think about the vacation.
People make a lot of decisions based on how they expect their choices to make them feel. "We found that we can easily change a consumer's expectations of those feelings," said Ebert. The differences in the information that forecasters and backcasters consider and the predictions that they make suggest that simply changing the order in which consumers think about a potential consumption event and how they expect to feel in the future can markedly change expectations about their feelings as a result of the event.o

People Mimic Each Other, But We Aren’t Chameleons

It’s easy to pick up on the movements that other people make—scratching your head, crossing your legs. But a new study published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, finds that people only feel the urge to mimic each other when they have the same goal.
It’s common for people to pick up on each other’s movements. “This is the notion that when you’re having a conversation with somebody and you don’t care where your hands are, and the other person scratches their head, you scratch your head,” says Sasha Ondobaka of the Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour at Radboud University Nijmegen in the Netherlands. He cowrote the paper with Floris P. de Lange, Michael Wiemers, and Harold Bekkering of Radboud and Roger D. Newman-Norlund of the University of South Carolina. This kind of mimicry is well-established, but Ondobaka and his colleagues suspected that what people mimic depends on their goals.
“If you and I both want to drink coffee, it would be good for me to synchronize my movement with yours,” Ondobaka says. “But if you’re going for a walk and I need coffee, it wouldn’t make sense to be coupled on this movement level.”
Ondobaka and his colleagues devised an experiment to see how much of a pull people feel to mimic when they have the same or different goals from someone else. Each participant sat across from an experimenter. They played a sort of card game on a touch screen embedded in the table between. First, two cards appeared in front of the experimenter, who chose either the higher or the lower card. Then two cards appeared in front of the participant. This happened 16 times in a row. For some 16-game series, the participant was told to do the same as the experimenter—to choose the higher (or lower) card. For others, they were told to do the opposite. Participants were told to move as quickly and as accurately as possible.
When the participant was supposed to make the same choice as the experimenter, they moved faster when they were also reaching in the same direction as the experimenter. But when they were told to do the opposite of the experimenter—when they had different goals—they didn’t go any faster when making the same movement as the other person. This means having different goals got in the way of the urge to mimic, Ondobaka says.
The researchers think that people only copy each other’s movements when they’re trying to accomplish the same thing. The rest of the time, actions are more related to your internal goals. “We’re not walking around like chameleons copying everything,” Ondobaka says. If you’re on a busy street with dozens of people in view, you’re not copying everything everybody does—just the ones that have the same goal as you. “If a colleague or a friend is going with you, you will cross the street together.”

Monday, January 9, 2012

People Don’t Just Think with Their Guts; Logic Plays a Role Too

For decades, science has suggested that when people make decisions, they tend to ignore logic and go with the gut. But Wim De Neys, a psychological scientist at the University of Toulouse in France, has a new suggestion: Maybe thinking about logic is also intuitive. He writes about this idea in the January issue of Perspectives on Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.
Psychologists have partly based their conclusions about reasoning and decision-making on questions like this one:
“Bill is 34. He is intelligent, punctual but unimaginative and somewhat lifeless. In school, he was strong in mathematics but weak in social studies and humanities.
Which one of the following statements is most likely?
(a) Bill plays in a rock band for a hobby.
(b) Bill is an accountant and plays in a rock band for a hobby.”
Most people will let their stereotypes about accountants rule and pick (b). But, in fact, we have no idea what Bill does for a living—he could be a politician, a concert pianist, or a drug dealer—so it’s more likely that only one random possibility, the rock band, is true, than that both (a) and (b) would happen to be true.
This line of research has suggested that people don’t use logic when making decisions about the world. But the truth is more complicated, De Neys says. When most people read a question like the one above, there’s a sense that something isn’t quite right. “That feeling you have, that there’s something fishy about the problem—we have a wide range of ways to measure that conflict,” De Neys says. For example, he has shown with brain imaging that when people are thinking about this kind of problem, a part of their brain that deals with conflict is active. “They stick to their gut feeling and don’t do the logical thing, but they do sense that what they are doing is wrong,” De Neys says.
De Neys thinks this sense, that something isn’t quite right with the decision you’re making, comes from an intuitive sense of logic. Other scientists have found that children start thinking logically very early. In one study, 8-month-old babies were surprised if someone pulled mostly red balls out of a box that contained mostly white balls, proof that babies have an innate sense of probability before they can even talk. It makes sense, De Neys says, that this intuitive sense of logic would stick around in adults.
This research deals with the basics of how we think, but De Neys says it may help explain more complex decision-making. If you want to teach people to make better decisions, he says, “It’s important to know which component of the process is faulty.” For example, if you want to understand why people are smoking, and you think it’s because they don’t understand the logic—that smoking kills—you might put a lot of energy into explaining how smoking is bad for them, when the actual problem is addiction. It’s a long way from a question about Bill’s career to understanding something like why someone decides to get married, for example; but research like this should help,” De Neys says.

15 Trends that matters in 2012


Goodbye Kodak!

The lifecycle of any product, company or brand has an end. Kodak filed for bankruptcy recently and the question is which brands will follow it´s example during 2012. 

Here are a few predictions from Business here.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Texting is so 2011