Thursday, September 29, 2011

How Your Brain Reacts To Mistakes Depends On Your Mindset

“Whether you think you can or think you can’t—you’re right,” said Henry Ford. A new study, to be published in an upcoming issue of Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, finds that people who think they can learn from their mistakes have a different brain reaction to mistakes than people who think intelligence is fixed.
“One big difference between people who think intelligence is malleable and those who think intelligence is fixed is how they respond to mistakes,” says Jason S. Moser, of Michigan State University, who collaborated on the new study with Hans S. Schroder, Carrie Heeter, Tim P. Moran, and Yu-Hao Lee. Studies have found that people who think intelligence is malleable say things like, “When the going gets tough, I put in more effort” or “If I make a mistake, I try to learn and figure it out.” On the other hand, people who think that they can’t get smarter will not take opportunities to learn from their mistakes. This can be a problem in school, for example; a student who thinks her intelligence is fixed will think it’s not worth bothering to try harder after she fails a test.
For this study, Moser and his colleagues gave participants a task that is easy to make a mistake on. They were supposed to identify the middle letter of a five-letter series like “MMMMM” or “NNMNN.” Sometimes the middle letter was the same as the other four, and sometimes it was different. “It’s pretty simple, doing the same thing over and over, but the mind can’t help it; it just kind of zones out from time to time,” Moser says. That’s when people make mistakes—and they notice it immediately, and feel stupid.
While doing the task, the participant wore a cap on his or her head that records electrical activity in the brain. When someone makes a mistake, their brain makes two quick signals: an initial response that indicates something has gone awry—Moser calls it the “’oh crap’ response”—and a second that indicates the person is consciously aware of the mistake and is trying to right the wrong. Both signals occur within a quarter of a second of the mistake. After the experiment, the researchers found out whether people believed they could learn from their mistakes or not.
People who think they can learn from their mistakes did better after making a mistake – in other words, they successfully bounced back after an error. Their brains also reacted differently, producing a bigger second signal, the one that says “I see that I’ve made a mistake, so I should pay more attention” Moser says.
The research shows that these people are different on a fundamental level, Moser says. “This might help us understand why exactly the two types of individuals show different behaviors after mistakes.” People who think they can learn from their mistakes have brains that are tuned to pay more attention to mistakes, he says. This research could help in training people to believe that they can work harder and learn more, by showing how their brain is reacting to mistakes.
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HIGH SOCIAL STATUS MAKES PEOPLE MORE TRUSTING, STUDY FINDS

When you start a new job, your boss may be more likely to trust you than you are to trust him or her, a new study suggests. The reason has to with the role that social status plays in relationships.

In three separate experiments, researchers found that high-status people tended to trust people more in initial encounters than did people with lower status.  One experiment showed why: high-status people rated others as more benevolent, which led them to trust more.

These findings indicate that having high status fundamentally alters our expectations of others’ motives toward us, said Robert Lount, lead author of the study and assistant professor of management and human resources at Ohio State University’s Fisher College of Business.“People have high status because other people like and admire them.  The result is that high-status individuals come to expect that others are going to treat them well, which makes them more likely to trust,” Lount said.
“The road from high status to increased trust is one paved with positive expectations of others’ motives.”
In a workplace, that means that bosses, who generally have more status than their employees, may be more trusting during initial encounters.  Of course, levels of trust may change as people work together.“But that initial encounter is really important because it shapes future behavior,” Lount said.  “If your first signal is that you don’t fully trust someone, that could undermine future trust development.”
Of course, bosses also have more power than employees.  However, one of the experiments showed that it was status, not power, that led to the results found here.
Lount conducted the study with Nathan Petit of New York University’s Stern School of Business.  Their results are published online in the journal Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes and will appear in a future print edition.
In the first study, the researchers had 126 college students complete a “Leadership Assessment Questionnaire.”  After completing the questionnaire, the participants were told they were being assigned to work on a two-person team.  Some were told they were assigned the role of Manager (giving them high status), some were told they were given the role of Assistant (giving them low status) and some were told they were assigned the role of an Associate, working with another Associate (giving them equal status).Prior to working with their team member, participants were asked about their expectations of this person, specifically related to trust.  For example, participants were asked to rate how likely that person would be to offer to pay for repairs if he or she borrowed something of value and returned it broken.
The results showed that people assigned to be managers – giving them high status – were more likely to trust their partner than those who had low status.  Those who were given equal status fell in between the two extremes when it came to trust.A second experiment took this even further by seeing whether status affected actual trust.  In this study, some college students were asked to write about the ways in which they had relatively more status, respect and prestige than others.  Other students were asked to describe ways in which they had less status.
After the students were primed to feel like they had high or low status, they played what was described as a decision-making game with an unseen player over a computer network.  They were given $10 and told they could send as much or as little of that to their unseen partner.  The amount they sent would be tripled and the partner could then return as much or as little of that amount back to the participant.
So if the participant sent the whole $10, the partner would receive $30 and could, presumably, send half of that back – netting both of them $15.
The question for the participants, then, was how much did they trust that their unseen partner would return any of the money they sent?
The results showed that participants who were made to feel they had high status sent significantly more money –suggesting that they trusted their partner -- than did those who were made to feel they had low status.
In fact, 42 percent of the high-status students sent their full $10, compared to only 12 percent of the low-status students.
“These results were interesting because they didn’t rely on relative status – the participants had no idea whether they had higher status or lower status than their partner in this game,” Lount said.  “Regardless, how much they trusted others depended on what they felt about their own status.”
In the final experiment, college students participated in the same game as in the previous study, in which they sent money to an unseen partner.  However, in this case, students were told they were paired with a partner at another specific university.  The partner’s university had been shown in previous work to be clearly perceived as a higher or lower-status university than the participant’s.
This was done to show that the results were related to status, and not power, Lount said.  While attending a specific university may give a student higher status, there is no power dimension to this relationship.  In addition, participants were asked after the study how much status and power they believed they had relative to their partner.  While students clearly indicated status differences with their partner, they did not rate their partner as having more or less power.
Finally, the participants were asked a series of questions rating the benevolence of their partner.
Just as in the previous experiment, participants who thought they had higher status were more trusting of their partner, and offered them more money.  Crucially, the higher-status students also rated their partners as more benevolent than did students of lower status.
Their ratings of benevolence were associated with how much money they gave: the more benevolent they rated their partner, the more money they gave.
“When you have higher status, you naturally think others are more benevolent, and that allows you to trust them more,” Lount said.
The findings showed that higher-status participants didn’t think their partners had more ability or integrity than did lower-status people – showing that high status doesn’t just make people think more positively about others in general, he said.
While status plays a powerful role in how much we trust, it does so unconsciously, Lount said.
“Most people are unaware of how their personal status affects their willingness to trust others.”
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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Social Media Management Handbook

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Monday, September 26, 2011

Why We Play at Work

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Social Media is Dead

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Sunday, September 25, 2011

Changing the way we compete


Changing The Way We Compete from Luke Williams on Vimeo.o
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Saturday, September 24, 2011

Retail Innovation Trends Compilation.

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The Future of the Shopping Experience

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How neuromarketing drives stimulating conductive retail environment design



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How to Appeal to the Reptilian Brain


Neuromarketing: How to Appeal to the Reptilian... by NewsLooko
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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Psychology of Social Media

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Fishy business models in the fashion industry

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Monday, September 19, 2011

The Evolution Of The Ad Executive

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Mobile Adoption

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Sunday, September 18, 2011

Why Some Retailers Are More Successful Than Others

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Think Like a Rock Star

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Friday, September 16, 2011

On Mediaconsumtion


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Geography of Thought

Several years ago in the Psychology Department at the University of Michigan, a student said something to Richard Nisbett that changed Nisbett’s way of thinking and studying about cognition.
“There is a difference between you and me,” the student, Kaiping Peng, from China, told him. “You think the world is a line, and I think it’s a circle.” This comment led to a whole new area of research, and a new book that Nisbett has just written, The Geography of Thought: How Asians and Westerners Think Differently…and Why (Free Press, 2003). This was also the subject of his talk “Culture and Point of View” at the Eastern Psychological Association meeting in Baltimore, Maryland, March 14, 2003. Nisbett, an APS Fellow, delivered this year’s APS William James Distinguished Lecture in Psychological Science.
Most current cognitive researchers have assumed that everyone reasons and perceives things in the same way. This began with British Empiricist philosophers like Hume and Locke, who took a universalist approach and assumed that there were basic, universal cognitive and perceptual processes.
Through research and experience, Nisbett has started to realize that there may in fact be concrete differences in how people of different cultures think and perceive the world. To study this he first looked back to Ancient Greece and China, to examine differences in the ways of thinking between these two ancient cultures.
In Ancient Greece, there was a focus on the object to explain behavior. Aristotle believed that a stone falling in water has the property of gravity, while a piece of wood floating in water does not have the property of gravity. There were no unseen media or forces that could be in effect. Meanwhile, the Chinese were much more concerned with relationships. The Chinese made significant advances in understanding the moon and the changing tides, and the concept of acoustics. The Greeks were more concerned with associating objects with rules and categories, while the Chinese focused on the relationships between objects. Greek philosophy and science emphasized stability and lack of change, while the Chinese were constantly concerned with change. Nisbett gave the example of the ying-yang symbol. In this symbol there are two states of the world, ying and yang, but the “seed of the opposite state of the world is included in the current state of the world.” And philosophers expected that it would only be a matter of time before those would be reversed.
Why were there such significant differences in thinking between these two cultures? Nisbett speculates that they may have evolved from the differing occupations in Greece and China. The Chinese people were primarily agricultural, and thus harmony was more important between villagers. Farmers had to get along with each other to ensure a good crop production. The Greeks on the other hand, were employed in more professions and there were fewer confining roles and constraints on behavior. Since they had more personal control, they could be more goal-oriented, and there was less concern for relationships and more of a focus on individual objects and people. Nisbett argued that even in agriculture, the Greeks operated more as businessmen than farmers. These early, differing philosophies have led to great cultural differences between East Asians and people of European culture, or Westerners.
To study this concept of differing cognitive processes further, Nisbett ran some experiments in which subjects were asked to look at objects and then reply to questions about their attributes and the categories they belonged to. In one study by Nisbett et al, subjects were shown pictures of a panda, a monkey and a banana, and asked which two belonged together. Americans paired the panda and monkey, because they were both animals, while the Chinese paired the monkey and the banana, because monkeys eat the bananas. Westerners tend to assign objects based on rules and categories, whereas East Asians tend to assign objects based on relationships. These differences form very early in life, as one study demonstrated with mothers showing toys to their children. American mothers showed their children toys, and talked to them about their attributes (”Look at the object, attributes, and category.”) Whereas Japanese mothers emphasized social relationships like giving and taking the object, with the appropriate emotional reactions.
In another study with Taka Masuda, Nisbett showed Japanese and American students a picture of an aquarium scene. When asked about the scene, the Americans described the objects they saw and their attributes. The Japanese, on the other hand, started describing the background elements, and in fact the Japanese students remembered 60 percent more of the background elements than the Americans did. The second part of the experiment was a recognition task in which the students were given a list of objects and asked if they were in the aquarium scene. Some objects were shown with the original background, some with a new background, and some with no background at all. The experimenters wanted to know to what extent the background influenced people’s ability to correctly identify objects in the scene. For the Japanese, showing the object with the original background made a big difference, and they were much more accurate in recognition when compared to a novel background or no background at all. For the Americans though, there was very little difference in recognition between the backgrounds.
Nisbett extended his research into looking at the composition of pictures to examine differences in perception between Western and East Asian cultures. Nisbett and Yuri Miyamoto compared pictures and photographs of Western and East Asian scenes. In the American scenes the objects are “relatively distinct, discontinuous, and discrete. Japanese scenes, to the Western eye, are somewhat chaotic, with more objects, inter-penetrating substances and less structure.” Nisbett and Miyamoto compared pictures of big cities, towns, and rural villages. In comparing the big cities, the Japanese city was much more complex. The business signs overlapped, and overhead wires cut through the picture, while the photo of New York City seemed much less complex, with fewer, more distinct objects, in comparison. Then a software program schematized the pictures and counted the number of objects, and the number of pixels between lines and edges. These results reinforced the participants’ ratings of the complexity of the different scenes.
Nisbett’s results indicate fundamental differences in the ways Westerners and East Asians view the word.
And like all good psychologists who question whether their laboratory research can be applied to the real world, Nisbett ended his presentation by noting that, “These are all laboratory demonstrations, do we think it really matters in the real world? Yes, we do. We think the world looks to be a different place, on a moment-to-moment basis. I think that Westerners go through life seeing the world as protagonists doing things intentionally, because they have control. Whereas East Asians are seeing relationships including more emotional events than Westerners do.”
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Social Good

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The neuroscience of decision making: Deciphering how the brain chooses and decides

Although still a young field, research in "decision neuroscience" has exploded in the last decade, with scientists beginning to decipher what exactly is happening in our brains when we are making choices, whether big or small.
In fact, early findings suggest it is possible to parse out the complexity of thinking into its individual components, and in the process determine how they are integrated as we ponder and decide.
Recently, researchers in decision neuroscience participated in a discussion about their work and the genesis of this cutting-edge field. During the dialogue, they discussed how decision neuroscience hopes to greatly advance our understanding of the brain, and in turn our understanding of mental disorders ranging from depression to schizophrenia.
"For many psychiatric disorders, patients that are symptomatic are frequently making poor decisions about numerous things throughout the day, such as how they handle their anxiety and other emotional states," said C. Daniel Salzman, MD, PhD., Department of Psychiatry and Neuroscience and Kavli Institute for Brain Science, Columbia University School of Medicine. "If you've ever had a friend or family member with depression, you can see they are not making decisions the way they normally do. So there clearly has to be dysfunction in the neurocircuits of psychiatric patients affecting their decisions, and we need to understand this better in order to come up with better treatments for mental disorders."
As pointed out by another participant in the dialogue, this research is already deepening understanding of these disorders.
"Our new knowledge about the cellular and circuit mechanisms of working memory and decision processes in the brain has already had a significant impact on clinical studies of mental illness," said Xiao-Jing Wang, PhD., Department of Neurobiology, Physics and Psychology; Director, Swartz Program in Theoretical Neurobiology; Kavli Institute of Neuroscience, Yale University School of Medicine. "For instance, addiction is fundamentally a problem of making bad choices, resulting from impaired reward signaling and decision-making circuits in the brain. Understanding these circuits has become key to linking genes and molecules with behavior in clinical studies."
Daeyeol Lee, PhD., Department of Neurobiology and Kavli Institute for Neuroscience, Yale University School of Medicine, stated one important goal is understanding the neurobiological basis for individual variability in decision making.
"When people face the same decision, they tend to make different choices," said Lee. "Some of that is due to their different experiences and learning environment. There are also fundamental genetic differences that give rise to different decision making styles. Getting a better understanding of the neurobiological basis for those individual differences in decision making will have enormous implications. It can explain a lot of problems in our society, including differences in the tendency to develop psychiatric illnesses."o
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Childhood and the driving force of fashion

Are children as young as five years old so driven by consumerism and fashion that they are in danger of ‘losing’ their childhood?
Not necessarily, according to Dr Jane Pilcher, a sociologist at the University of Leicester, whose research findings on children and fashion were recently reported in the international journal, Childhood.  
Nonetheless, her findings showed that brands and logos are highly important to some children, influenced by family attitudes, peer pressure and celebrity culture.
The desire for certain brands and logos, especially in boys’ sportswear, is something the UK has seen graphically played out in the recent riots and looting, sometimes carried out by young children.
Dr Pilcher’s research, which pre-dates the riots, was unusual in studying the influence of fashion on youngsters between the ages of five and twelve years. It was co-funded by the Economic and Social Research Council and the Arts and Humanities Research Council as part of the 5 year ‘Cultures of Consumption’ research programme.
Following the government-backed Bailey report, which came out in June this year, concerns had been expressed that young children were becoming more like teenagers in their behaviour and the ways they use fashion to create their identity.
While Dr Pilcher agrees there are worries surrounding children and fashion, she believes it would be unrealistic to expect the nature of childhood to stay the same when society itself is changing and becoming dominated by consumerism and the celebrity culture.
However, she believes that youngsters do remain children in many ways and are saved from turning prematurely into teenagers because of the greater controls and intervention exercised by their parents.
She argued:  “I would emphasize that we should be looking at what parents buy for their children and the negotiations that take place round that consumption.
“Parents might give in and buy something they don’t necessarily approve of but they can place quite heavy restrictions as to where that item of clothing can be worn.
“For instance, the child might only be allowed to wear a glittery off-the-shoulder top in the safe, monitored environment of the school disco and not anywhere else.”
Dr Pilcher’s study, conducted with colleagues at the University of Leicester, found that even very young children have a great deal of knowledge about the clothing retail sector and they know exactly which shops will sell the kind of clothing they want.  
She also found a strong association between family culture and the value children placed on brands and logos, citing two cases, ‘Robert’ and ‘Hayley’ (not their real names).
Robert came from a family where brands and designer fashions were valued, and he ‘name-dropped’ constantly about the brands of his clothes.   Hayley, on the other hand, came from a family with little disposable income, where brands and logos were of so little importance that she had difficulty in understanding what the terms meant.
Parents, however, do not have it all their own way.   Dr Pilcher commented:   “There are a variety of fashion influences on children and you can’t ignore the pressures from their peer groups, especially friends of the same sex, and their ideas of what is cool.”  
A further influence on young children is the celebrity culture, which they may wish to copy or they may reject.   The skimpy clothing of singers Beyoncé and Kylie were not always admired by girls, who thought it was rude to show so much bare skin.
Is the dependence of young children on fashion a bad thing?   Not necessarily, it seems.   The acquisition of brands that are in vogue and therefore cool can give great pleasure and act as a bonding between peers in a group.   For young people themselves, it is a matter of image rather than money.
Although consumer culture clearly has financial implications, many of the brands favoured by young people are available in high street store as very cheaply.
Children who do not participate in that culture, however, can be isolated from their peers in a form of social exclusion.   This, Dr Pilcher says, is something to be borne in mind by teachers when considering school uniform policies and by parents doing battle with their children on the shop floor.
While the recent UK riots have been presented as an extreme form of consumerism, Dr Pilcher believes it is having a negative effect on the brand images targeted by rioters.  
“The makers of those brands are now concerned because there is a damaging association in the public mind between the rioters and looters and their interest in those brands,” she said.  
“What the disturbances have shown is that if the rioters are the type of people who want these brands and they are prepared to smash a window to get them, then perhaps the brands have become tainted.”
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Thursday, September 15, 2011

How Do Political Debates Affect Advertising?

Advertisers covet spots during political debates, which often draw large numbers of viewers. But according to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research, political debate can sometime decrease the effectiveness of subsequent ads.
“This enduring popularity generates an intense competition for the commercial slots that follow broadcast debates,” write authors Alison Jing Xu (University of Toronto) and Robert S. Wyer Jr. (The Chinese University of Hong Kong). “The fact that these commercials are widely viewed, however, does not guarantee their effectiveness.”
The authors studied (and manipulated) the mindsets of participants who were exposed to various types of persuasive communications. “We proposed and found that inducing participants to make supportive elaborations on a series of propositions activated a bolstering mindset that increased the effectiveness of an unrelated, subsequent ad,” the authors write. But the authors found that participants who activated a counterarguing mindset were less persuaded by the same ads.
In one experiment, the authors found that consumers in a bolstering mindset (people who generated thoughts about positions they already agreed with) were more likely to be persuaded by a vacation spot ad than their counterparts who were in the counterarguing mindset, which increased the number of negative thoughts toward the vacation spot.
In another study, the authors tested participants who self-categorized as Republicans, Democrats, or independents by assigning them to one of four conditions. Some watched Barack Obama’s speech on his economic plan. Others watched a speech by John McCain, a debate between the two candidates, or nothing at all. “Participants with a strong a priori preference for either candidate were motivated to bolster their preferred candidate’s speech,” the authors write. “In all cases, developing a bolstering mindset increased participants’ evaluations of the brands promoted in the commercial. However, acquiring a counterarguing mindset decreased participants’ evaluations of that brand.”
“Even though the quality of an ad plays an important role in determining its impact, the context in which is appears can sometimes decrease its effectiveness,” the authors conclude.
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When Do Products (and Money) Literally Make Your Mouth Water?

In certain situations, people actually salivate when they desire material things, like money and sports cars, according to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research.
“In multiple languages, the terms hunger and salivation are used metaphorically to describe desire for non-food items,” writes author David Gal (Northwestern University). “But will people actually salivate when they desire material things?”
The answer, Gal found, is yes. In one study, for example, Gal examined whether people salivated in response to money. “Merely being exposed to the concept of money has been shown to have dramatic effects on behavior, and it has even been argued that money can be conceptualized as a drug in that it imitates the action of biological incentives in driving behavior,” Gal writes. In the experiment, the author measured salivation by having participants put cotton dental rolls in their mouths while they gazed at pictures of money. He later weighed the rolls to measure the amount of saliva.
Before they viewed money, however, Gal primed the participants to feel powerful or to feel that they lacked power. “The main result of the experiment was that participants salivated to money (relative to baseline), but only when they were in a low-power state,” Gal writes. “This suggests that people salivate to non-food items when those are items are desired to fulfill a highly active goal.”
Next, Gal wondered whether men would salivate to high-end sports cars. Instead of looking at their perceived power, he induced some of the men to have a “mating goal,” because prior research has shown that men who want to impress women purchase conspicuous luxury goods. Gal showed the men photos of attractive women and asked them to choose one they would like to date. Gal asked the other group of men to ponder a visit to the barber. The men with the active mating goal salivated more at images of high- end sports cars than the men who had been prompted to imagine getting a haircut.
“Why do people salivate to money and to sports cars?” Gal asks. “One possibility is the increasingly well-established finding that all objects of desire, whether biological or non- biological, activate the same general reward system in the brain. Salivation might merely be the consequence of the activation of this general reward system.”
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Culturally Symbolic Products: Would You Buy a Sony Cappucchino Maker?

Certain brands bring to mind particular cultures, and consumers react more positively to brand extensions when products match expectations about cultures, according to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research. That’s why a Budweiser barbecue sauce might be a more successful product than a Sony cappuccino maker.
“Many well-known brands become symbols or icons of the cultures or countries with which they are associated,” write authors Carlos J. Torelli and Rohini Ahluwalia (both University of Minnesota). Examples of culturally symbolic brands include Budweiser (American), Sony (Japanese), or Corona (Mexican). The authors look at what happens when a culturally symbolic brand extends its product line by creating new products.
The authors focus on a part of consumer deliberation that is based on cultural congruity—the extent to which a brand and its product automatically bring to mind knowledge about a culture. “This process operates independently of consumers’ perceptions of fit between the brand associations and the product attributes, or their inferences about the brand’s manufacturing expertise due to its country-of-origin associations, and can influence extension evaluations independently of these factors,” the authors explain.
In short, when a brand associated with a culture fits into personal understanding of the culture (cultural schema), consumers have an easier time processing and therefore accepting a new product.
The authors found that participants had positive feelings for culturally congruent extensions (like a Sony electric car), while they had less positive feelings about a Sony toaster oven; they found the idea of a Sony cappuccino-macchiato maker even less appealing. The authors say the effects emerged only when both the brand and the product were culturally symbolic.
“A brand’s cultural symbolism can be a liability or an asset, and to harness it profitably, a manager needs to understand the cultural symbolism of the potential extension categories under consideration,” the authors conclude.
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Downwardly Mobile: When Consumer Decisions are Influenced by People with Lower Socioeconomic Status

People assume that consumers are influenced by celebrities and high-status individuals, but according to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research, it may be the janitor or the security guard who makes you want to run out and purchase the latest gadget.
“Consumers from a lower socioeconomic status are not usually considered ideal influencers for higher status customers. After all, people accept influence from those they identify with—those who are similar to them or people who they aspire to be like,” write authors Edith Shalev (Israel Institute of Technology) and Vicki G. Morwitz (New York University). Because people usually do not aspire to obtain a lower socioeconomic status, it seems unlikely that people would become interested in the same products as people with less status.
However, the authors discovered that under certain circumstances higher status consumers are more likely to emulate the choices of lower status people, a phenomenon called the “low status user effect.” For example, observing a janitor using the latest tech gadget may lead a person of higher status to question his own technological innovativeness. “This scenario might lead the observer to think: if a lower socioeconomic status person owns the latest tech gadget and I don’t, what does this mean about my relative technological innovativeness?” The authors found that the low status user effect only occurs when the product symbolizes a clear and desirable trait and when the observer is unconfident about her relative standing on that trait.
One study found that research participants showed more interest in a sophisticated T-shirt when a grocery packer wore it than when a college student donned it. Another study found the same effect for a wireless charger (used by a security guard or an architect). But the effect was found only among participants who considered technological innovativeness to be an important part of their self-definition.
Other counter-stereotypical consumers may have influence in the marketplace, the authors explain. “A consumer who observes an elderly lady wearing professional running shoes might infer that people in general have become more athletic than before,” the authors write. “In an attempt to restore a sporty self-image he may purchase new running shoes.”
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Engaging with people in social media

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It’s All about Autonomy: Consumers React Negatively When Prompted to Think about Money

Whether they are aware of it or not, consumers dislike being reminded of money—so much that they will rebel against authority figures, according to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research.
“When consumers are reminded of money, do they conform, shrug it off, or react against others’ attempts to influence them?” ask authors Jia (Elke) Liu (University of Groningen), Dirk Smeesters (Erasmus University), and Kathleen D. Vohs (University of Minnesota). The researchers found that money reminders lead consumers to react against people who would normally influence their decisions.
In three studies, participants were subtly reminded of money by either working on a computer with a hard currency screensaver or by formulating sentences using money- related words. “Because money reminders boost the importance of consumers’ autonomy, those subtly reminded of money perceived the authority commands and off- handed peer opinions as threats to their autonomy, which did not occur among those not reminded of money,” the authors write.
Specifically, the participants who were reminded of money reacted in opposite ways from authority figures or peers when it came to evaluating products. Conversely, participants who were not reminded of money followed commands or suggestions of authorities and peers.
“This reactance to social influences only occurs when money-reminded consumers made decisions for themselves,” the authors write. “When these consumers were asked to make decisions for a relatively intimate other, they were indifferent to social influences (i.e., the unsolicited opinion of another consumer).”
“This research highlights money’s ability to stimulate a longing for freedom, and has potential implications for interpersonal communication, advertisers, and markets,” the authors write. “Money cues are frequently present in the social environment (e.g., televisions spots mentioning savings or discounts, in-store signage with dollar signs, billboards advertising the state lottery). These money cues may function in the same way as money primes in our studies and lead consumers to retaliate against perceived influences on their behavior.”
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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Is This the Future of Retail?

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Social Media: Present and Future

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Monday, September 12, 2011

Consumer Behavior On Facebook

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Friday, September 9, 2011

Making Products Viral

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Spend Shift and the new era of consumerism

Bestselling author John Gerzema speaks about his latest book Spend Shift and the rise of values based consumerism in North America:

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Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Seeing Isn’t Believing




Pay attention! It’s a universal warning, which implies that keeping close watch helps us perceive the world more accurately. But a new study by Yale University cognitive psychologists Brandon Liverence and Brian Scholl finds that intense focus on objects can have the opposite effect: It distorts perception of where things are in relation to one another. The findings will be published in an upcoming issue of Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.
“Figuring out where objects are in the world seems like one of the most basic and important jobs the brain does,” says Liverence, a graduate student. “It was surprising to discover that even this simple type of perception is warped by our minds.” The researchers studied such distortions when people had to focus their attention on some objects, but not others. When they did this, Liverence explains, the “attended objects” were seen as closer together than they really were, while the other objects were seen as farther apart than they really were.
To test this phenomenon, the researchers had people—10 in each of three experiments—complete simple visual tasks. In the one with the most striking results, participants watched four circles as they moved around on a computer monitor while rapidly changing colors. Before the movement began, two of the circles flashed several times; these were the “targets.” During the ensuing motion, the participants had to press a key whenever either of those targets turned red or blue. Then, after several seconds of motion, all of the circles disappeared, and the participants clicked with a mouse on the locations they’d last seen the circles.
The subjects located the objects with high accuracy—good news, says Liverence, for people trying to cross the street. But their errors were not random.  Instead, the researchers discovered two distortions—one expected, one surprising. As in past research, the reported locations of the circles were all compressed slightly toward the center of the display, as if the mind’s representation of the world were slightly shrunk. Beyond this global distortion, though, subjects remembered the two target circles as closer to each other than they actually were (as if they were attracting each other), and reported the other two circles as farther apart than they’d been (as if they were repelling each other).
The findings add to a growing body of cognitive psychology that destabilizes our trust in what we think we know for sure and how we think we can know it more surely. “Attention is the way our minds connect with things in the environment, enabling us to see, remember, and interact with those things,” says Liverence. “We tend to think that attention clarifies what’s out there. But it also distorts.”
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Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Why Do They Leave Your Website

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No touching, please


A Stranger’s Touch: Effects of Accidental Interpersonal Touch on Consumer Evaluations and Shopping Time, written by Brett A. S. Martin, professor of marketing at the Queensland University of Technology, examines an unexplored area of consumer research - the effect of accidental interpersonal touch (AIT) from a stranger on consumer evaluations and shopping times. The research presents a field experiment in a retail setting. This study shows that men and women who have been touched by another consumer when examining products report more negative brand evaluations, negative product beliefs, less willingness to pay, and spend less time in-store than their control (no touch) counterparts. The findings indicate that the AIT effect is especially negative for touch from a male stranger for both men (same-sex touch) and women (opposite-sex touch). 

Researchers approached nearly 150 men and women, in a retail district, saying they were interested in general attitudes toward shopping. They asked the shoppers to browse in a luggage store and to evaluate one small bag in particular. As the shopper looked at the bag, a male or female confederate of the researchers walked closely past him or her. Half the time, the confederate brushed lightly against the shopper’s right shoulder blade.
Consumers who were touched rated the brand of the bag only 3.3, on a 7-point scale, while those who were not touched gave it a 4.9. Shoppers who were grazed also spent roughly half the time in the store (82 seconds) as those who weren’t (158 seconds). A male touch had stronger negative effects than a female touch.


Download the study by clicking here
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Monday, September 5, 2011

Social Media Revolution



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The Social Marketing Funnel


The Social Marketing Funnel
View more presentations from Mike Lewis
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Sunday, September 4, 2011

Avatarology


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Why we crave creativity but reject creative ideas


Most people view creativity as an asset — until they come across a creative idea. That’s because creativity not only reveals new perspectives; it promotes a sense of uncertainty.
“How is it that people say they want creativity but in reality often reject it?” said Jack Goncalo, assistant professor of organizational behavior at the Cornell University ILR School and the co-author of the research, which will be published in an upcoming issue of the journal Psychological Science.
This bias against creativity compels the rejection of creative ideas even if creativity is a stated goal. “To explain this paradox, we propose that people can hold a bias against creativity that is not necessarily overt, and which is activated when people experience a motivation to reduce uncertainty,” Goncalo and his co-authors write in the study, “The bias against creativity: Why people desire but reject creative ideas.” 
“Our findings imply a deep irony,” wrote the authors, who also include Jennifer Mueller of the University of Pennsylvania and Shimul Melwani of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.  “Revealing the existence and nature of a bias against creativity can help explain why people might reject creative ideas and stifle scientific advancements, even in the face of strong intentions to the contrary.”
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Advertising in Violent Video Games Results in Poor Recall, Negative Brand Perception


Embedding advertisements in violent video games leads to lower brand recall and negative brand attitudes suggesting advertisers should think twice about including such ads in a media campaign, according to researchers at The University of Texas at Austin.
Women in particular responded negatively to ads placed in violent video games.
The study, the first to confirm the link between increased video game violence and impaired in-game ad effectiveness, was authored byCollege of Communication researchers Seung-Chul Yoo, a doctoral candidate in the Department of Advertising, and Jorge Peña, assistant professor in the Department of Communication Studies. It appears in the July/August issue of Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking.
"Although violent video games are very popular and can reach a young, highly engaged audience, their effectiveness as an advertising medium is questionable," said Peña. "Our study demonstrates that featured violence diminishes brand memory and primes more negative attitudes toward the brand."
As part of the study, participants played one of two video games with embedded advertisements. The violent video game featured computer-operated avatars holding guns and shooting at the participant as he or she navigated through virtual rooms drenched in blood. In contrast, the non-violent video games featured the same avatars holding nothing and the virtual rooms were soaked in water.
The video games were identical in every detail except for the presence or absence of violent cues, such as avatars holding guns. After navigating the game, participants were asked to recall some of the brands advertised in the games and to share their perceptions of those brands.
Brand recall and recognition, and attitude were significantly lower for participants who navigated violent video games compared to those who navigated the non-violent video games.
Women that played the violent video game developed even more negative brand attitudes than women exposed to the non-violent video game (11.29 percent decrease in brand liking). This could be attributed to women typically having less experience playing violent video games, or men — who typically play more violent video games — being desensitized to the violence and not noticing it, according to the study.
Yoo and Peña believe violent content in video games not only draws players' attention, but diverts it from other sources of information in the game, thus limiting players' mental capacity to process in-game ads. Additionally, the suggestion of violence in the form of blood and gore results in players subconsciously linking negative attributes to in-game ads. This echoes the way violent TV programs hamper ad recall relative to nonviolent TV programs, according to previous studies.
"Advertising campaign planners would do better to spend their budget on ads embedded in nonviolent video games than in ads placed within violent video games; particularly if they are trying to reach women," said Yoo.
The popularity of video games — nearly all American teens and half of all American adults play computer, console or mobile phone games — makes them an attractive advertising medium. According to eMarketer Inc., U.S. video game advertising spending is expected to reach $1 billion next year.
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Saturday, September 3, 2011

The Power of 140 Characters


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Thursday, September 1, 2011

Online activity grows in a similar pattern to those of real-life networks


Model in European Physical Journal B  says activity of online communities does not grow in line with the number of users
The activity of online communities does not grow in line with the number of users, according to a model recently published in the European Physical Journal B.
The Internet has given rise to its own sorting devices. Among these, tagging consists of assigning user-chosen keywords to a piece of information (such as a digital image) to facilitate searches. Lingfei Wu, a researcher at the City University of Hong Kong’s Department of Media and Communication, used the tagging behaviour of social media application users to study the growth of online communities’ activity.  
Wu focused on two social media sites: Flickr and Delicious, in which a faster growth of overall tagging activity than of user population was observed. This phenomenon is called accelerated growth and confirms that tagging activity is not correlated in a linear way to the number of social media users using tagging. In this study, Wu suggests that the accelerating growth pattern originates from the effect of the community size on individual tagging behaviour. He found that despite the fluctuation in the number of tags and of the population, communities have a heterogeneity (in terms of individual tagging activity) that remains constant over time, but differs across systems. Given this time-invariant heterogeneity, the average individual activity will grow as the system expands, leading to the accelerating growth of overall activity.
Previous studies focusing on real-world examples such as cities and biological networks exhibited similar growth pattern.  This study shows that there are also accelerating growth patterns in the virtual world.
Immediate applications of modelling the online activity growth include predicting the server capacity required for social media sites on the basis of historical data. Future work will focus on devising a unified model that explains the regularity governing the scaling up of both real-life systems (e.g. biological species and cities) and virtual communities.
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