Welcome to Neurocepi

Posted by on Jan 6, 2017 in Blog Post, Neuromarketing

If an individual was asked sensitive and private questions in an online survey, would they be more likely to answer truthfully if:

A. The site was a clean, professional looking site with a well known name and a well designed layout?
B. The site was  called “R U BaD?” with a horribly designed unprofessional layout and random advertisements all over the page?

Remember your answer and we will get back to it soon.

Welcome to A Light in the Rain Ltd’s blog: Neurocepi. 

Our goal is to provide education and knowledge on neuromarketing techniques and research, which can be practically applied in the real world.

To begin with, we would suggest that when reading this blog you forget everything you think you know about human behaviour.  Keep an open mind.  And always remember that research isn’t absolute. Context is always important, and a large part of understanding neuromarketing is learning when to use specific techniques.

That being said, let’s get back to the question about an individual disclosing personal information…

Did you answer A? If so, you’re incorrect.

The correct answer is B.  An answer that often surprises people.

An experiment very similar to this was carried out by researchers at Carnegie Mellon University in 2009 [see The Best of Strangers].  They had university students take one of two surveys.  One was called “How BAD are U??” looking unprofessional and lighthearted, and another was called “Carnegie Mellon University Survey of Ethical Standards” looking professional and clean.  The results were very clear.  Those who took the How BAD are U survey were on average 1.7 times more likely to admit to engaging in inappropriate behaviours (like using cocaine).  For example, only 15.7% of participants in the professional survey admitted to taking nude pictures of themselves or a partner, whereas 31.8% of those who took the unprofessional and somewhat “shady” survey admitted to it.

What does it all mean!?

What we can learn from this and many other experiments, is that context plays a huge role in marketing.  By context, we mean how a website, survey, social media page, advertisement, or any other form of media, is presented.

Consider the following: You are 16, in highschool, and have just cheated on a test. Right after, a 40 year old man you have never met introduces himself to you as a researcher and asks if you just cheated, promising (in a convincing way) that you will not get in trouble if your answer is yes.  Would you answer honestly? Most teens wouldn’t, due to the man’s age and their distrust of authority figures.  But what if another 16 year old asked?  Most teens in that situation would have no problem bragging about how they just successfully cheated.

This demonstrates that context plays a role in individual decision making and rationality.  In the previous situation, the man guarantees that the student won’t get in trouble.  But the 16 year old wouldn’t trust him, even though the researcher may be legally and ethically bound not to share the information.  Regardless, due to context, most teens would only be truthful with the 16 year old, who would rationally pose a higher risk for getting caught.

So what can we learn from all this?

First: Context matters.  And if you don’t know how to properly frame things, your business may completely fail online.  Understanding your target market(s) is key to this.

Second: Humans are not necessarily rational.  And that is what this blog is all about.  We look at irrationality, why it occurs from a scientific perspective, and how we can use it to benefit your business.  By understanding human behaviour, and some of the basic neuroscience behind the scenes, you will drastically improve your company’s chances for success in a competitive world.

Sources Cited / Further Research

The Best of Strangers: Context Dependent Willingness to Divulge Personal Information – Leslie K. Jon, Allesandro Acquisti, George Loewenstein – http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1430482

Copyright A Light in the Rain Ltd. 2017