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Our desire to give back wanes rapidly with time
Why if you want people to return a favor, you need to act fast
Chuan, A., Kessler, J. B., & Milkman, K. L. (2018). Field study of charitable giving reveals that reciprocity decays over time. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 201708293.
The 25 Percent Rule
Social norms can be changed by only a quarter of the group
Why persuading just a fraction of the group can change the beliefs of everyone
Centola, D., Becker, J., Brackbill, D., & Baronchelli, A. (2018). Experimental evidence for tipping points in social convention. Science, 360(6393), 1116-1119.
Nudges can still work on us, even when told we’re being nudged
Concerns about effectiveness vs manipulation can be overcome with this new research
Bruns, H., Kantorowicz-Reznichenko, E., Klement, K., Luistro Jonsson, M., & Rahali, B. (2018). Can Nudges Be Transparent and Yet Effective? Journal of Economic Psychology, Volume 65, Pages 41-59
Category Size Bias
We're more influenced by options that are put into a relatively-large group.
Yet another bias that proves that our probability judgements are often inaccurate. Find out how you can use it to motivate behaviour change...
Isaac & Brough (2014) Judging a Part by the Size of Its Whole: The Category Size Bias in Probability Judgments. Journal of Consumer Research.
Lucky Loyalty Effect
Random rewards feel more likely, the more we spend
How consumers' warped sense of entitlement affects your promotional & loyalty strategy
Reczek, Haws, & Summers (2014) Lucky Loyalty: The Effect of Consumer Effort on Predictions of Randomly Determined Marketing Outcomes, Journal of Consumer Research
We prefer a thank-you over a small monetary reward
This important research tells us why giving customers money can actually hurt your brand...
Liu, Lamberton, & Haws (2015) Should Firms Use Small Financial Benefits to Express Appreciation to Consumers? Understanding and Avoiding Trivialization Effects, Journal of Marketing
Goal Gradient Effect
Our efforts increase as we move closer to a goal
Our hunger for task completion can be used to motivate and incentivise behaviours and habits you choose.
Kivetz, Urminsky & Zheng (2006) The Goal-Gradient Hypothesis Resurrected
When looking to our future, we tend to inflate the good stuff and downplay the bad...
Why you think you’ll be safer, smarter and more successful than you'll actually end up being...
Sharot (2011), The Optimism Bias. Current Biology.
We place a greater value on products seen as whole in shape
Find out why we eat more chocolate when it's broken into pieces than when it's given to us whole.
Sevilla & Kahn (2014) The Completeness Heuristic: Product Shape Completeness Influences Size Perceptions, Preference, and Consumption. Journal of Marketing Research.
We're more motivated to reach a goal with an uncertain reward
Why not knowing what you'll get as a reward can nudge you more successfully towards a goal...
Fisbach A, Hsee C. “The Motivating-Uncertainty Effect: Uncertainty Increases Resource Investment in the Process of Reward Pursuit.” Journal of Consumer Research, 2015.
Noble Edge Effect
Products of caring companies are seen as superior
Why when companies become morally-engaged and give back to society, their products gain a 'noble edge' over less-giving, self-serving competitors...
Chernev, Alexander and Sean Blair (2015), “Doing Well by Doing Good: The Benevolent Halo of Social Goodwill” Journal of Consumer Research
Thinking about the past makes us want to pay more now.
New research shows us how nostalgia can influence our buying behaviour by weakening the desire to hold onto our money...
Lasaleta, Sedikides & Vohs (2014) Nostalgia weakens the desire for money. Journal of Consumer Research.
Words that are easier to say are more trustworthy and valuable.
Why blandishing customers with the anomalous may be fatuous & nocuous to your brand...
Song & Schwarz (2007) If It’s Difficult to Pronounce, It Must Be Risky. Psychological Science
We’re more likely to do the hard stuff when tightly coupled with something tempting.
Want to be fitter, healthier or more successful? This amazing gem shows you how restrictive pleasure-combining will get you there...
Milkman, Minson & Volpp (2013) Holding the Hunger Games Hostage at the Gym: An Evaluation of Temptation Bundling. Management Science
The Risk of Bundling
Selling experiences in a bundle reduces their individual use.
Find out how the negative effects of bundled purchases can be reduced with this fascinating pricing bias...
Soman & Gourville (2001) Transaction decoupling: how price bundling affects the decision to consume. Journal of Marketing Research.
We're more satisfied with choices when we engage in physical acts of closure.
Discover how the simple act of closing a door or turning a lid can make you more satisfied with your final product choice...
Gu, Botti & Faro (2013) Turning the page: the impact of choice closure on satisfaction. Journal of Consumer Research.
We pay more when we can't actually see the money.
Why the shift to the digital wallet will make consumers spend more...
Soman (2003) The Effect of Payment Transparency on Consumption: Quasi-Experiments from the Field. Marketing Letters
Sunk Cost Effect
We’re reluctant to pull out of something we’d put effort into.
Find out why the more time or money we invest, the more irrational we become...
Arkes, Hal R., and Catherine Blumer, “The psychology of sunk cost”, Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Vol. 35, No. 5, December 1985, 124-140.
Social Default Bias
We copy others’ choices when we can't make informed decisions.
This gem explains why when we can't make a choice, we automatically copy others (only when they're not looking)...
Eun Huh, Vosgerau & Morewedge (2014) Social Defaults: Observed Choices Become Choice Defaults. Journal of Consumer Research.
Fresh Start Effect
We’ll more likely achieve goals set at the start of a new time period
This gem unearths why New Year resolutions are so popular...
Dai, Milkman & Riis (2013) The Fresh Start Effect: Temporal Landmarks That Motivate Aspirational Behaviour. The Wharton School Research Paper No.51
Bottom Dollar Effect
We rate products negatively when they exhaust our budgets
Find out how your product rating will be affected if it eats up your consumer’s remaining budget...
Soster, Gershoff & Bearden (2014) The Bottom Dollar Effect: The Influence of Spending to Zero on Pain of Payment and Satisfaction. Journal of Consumer Research
Faced with a set of products, we prefer the one in the middle.
Discover how horizontal & vertical product placement can affect your customer’s decision-making, both in-store and on your website...
Rodway, Schepman & Lambert (2012). Preferring the One in the Middle: Further Evidence for the Centre‐stage Effect.
We value something more once we feel we own it
Read why 'perceived ownership' is so powerful, and how you can use it to dramatically improve demand for your product...
Kahneman, Knetsch & Thaler (2009). Experimental Tests of the Endowment Effect and the Coase Theorem.
How we frame a product’s price & features greatly affects its perceived value.
New research shows us how price framing can be used to increase product satisfaction and reduce feelings of regret after purchase.
Lee & Zhao (2014) The Effect of Price on Preference Consistency Over Time. Journal of Consumer Research.
We’re intellectually lazy, avoiding hard questions where possible
Our inherent desire to cut corners has massive implications for your product strategy. Read why here...
Neys, Rossi & Houd (2013) Bats, balls, and substitution sensitivity: cognitive misers are no happy fools. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review
Reading the word ‘bye’ makes us more likely to buy.
Find out how to encourage certain behaviours through the use of seemingly-unrelated words with this fascinating new bias...
Davis & Herr (2014) From Bye to Buy: Homophones as a Phonological Route to Priming
Top Ten Effect
We break down ordered lists into smaller ones ending in 0 or 5
Understand why we act irrationally to lists, and the knock-on implications for your marketing budget...
Isaac & Schindler (2014) The Top-Ten Effect: Consumers’ Subjective Categorization of Ranked Lists
Our status is elevated when we share our VIP treatment
In direct conflict with economic theory, find out why reducing scarcity may actually increase your product's value...
McFerran & Argo (2014) The Entourage Effect, Journal of Consumer Research, Vol. 40, No. 5
We tend to justify a purchase by overlooking any faults seen
Consumers' built-in desire to feel great about their poor decisions offers you some unique marketing opportunities...
Cohen & Goldberg (1970). The Dissonance Model in Post-Decision Product Evaluation. Journal of Marketing Research.
What we want now is not what we aspire to in the future
Consumers' short-term desires and longer term wishes differ wildly. Find out what these differences are, and how best to cater for them...
Milkman, Rogers & Bazerman (2009). Ice cream soon and vegetables later: A study of online grocery purchases and order lead time.
We place disproportionately-high value on self-made products.
Find out how you can dramatically raise your product's value perception by fostering creativity in the sales process...
Norton, Mochon & Ariely (2012) The IKEA effect: When labor leads to love. Journal of Consumer Psychology.
Restricting pleasure increases pleasure
This fascinating study suggests that we shouldn't always give consumers exactly what they say they want...
Leif & Meyvis (2009) Enhancing the Television-Viewing Experience Through Commercial Interruptions, Journal of Consumer Research
Experiences are mostly judged by their end or peaks
Find out why the highs and lows of your product experience are so critical, and what you should change as a result...
Kahneman, D. (1999) Well-Being: The Foundations of Hedonic Psychology
Inaction Inertia Effect
Missing an offer means you're less likely to buy in the future
Why missing an opportunity to buy during that promotion can be so damaging for your brand...
van Putten, M et al. (2013) How consumers deal with missed discounts: Transaction decoupling, action orientation and inaction inertia
Too much choice will lead to indecision and lower sales
Find out why offering more variety may indeed harm both profits and the perception of your brand...
Iyengar, S; Lepper, M (2000) When Choice is Demotivating Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 2000, Vol. 79
Uncompleted tasks stick in your mind more than completed ones
Increased conversion rates, better educational results, and stronger promotions. Read more to find out how the Zeigarnik effect can help you achieve all these...
Zeigarnik, B (1927) Über das Behalten von erledigten und unerledigten Handlungen, Psychologische Forschung
We tend to rely too heavily on the first piece of information seen
Find out how you can greatly control and affect decision-making using this powerful psychological technique...
Sugden, R; Zheng, J & Zizzo, D (2013) Not all anchors are created equal. Journal of Economic Psychology 39 (2013) 21-31
We’ll accept smaller payoffs now over larger payoffs later on
Find out why our short-termism and desire for immediate rewards trumps commonsensical thinking, and how you should change your product strategy as a result...
Hardman (2009). Judgment and decision making: psychological perspectives. Wiley-Blackwell.
Round Pricing Preference
We perceive round numbers as more trustworthy and representing higher quality
Bewildering consumers with a complex pricing strategy may come back to bite you. Find out why here...
Lynn, Flynn, & Helion (2013) Do Consumers Prefer Round Prices? Journal of Economic Psychology
Von Restorff Effect
Items that stand out from their peers are more memorable
Creating a product strategy that promotes uniqueness is essential, but doing so in the right way is vital. Find out why...
Von Restorff, H. (1933) The effects of field formation in the trace field
We've a greater recall of the unpleasant over the positive
You must have a strategy in place for when things go terribly wrong for your customer journey. Find out why here...
Nguyena & Claus (2013) Good news, bad news, consumer sentiment and consumption behaviour, Journal of Economic Psychology
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