Tag: psychology

  • ‘Locked’ Value, and Paying for Everything Twice

    How to account for the true cost and value of our possessions? In the same vein as Thoreau, who wrote in Walden: “the cost of a thing is the amount of what I will call life which is required to be exchanged for it, immediately or in the long run”, David Cain suggests that everything…

  • Perceptions of Probability and Numbers

    Back in 2011 I wrote about “words of estimative probability“; the quantitative ranges we apply to ambiguous words and phrases, based on Sherman Kent’s research for the CIA in the 1960s. In 2015, Reddit user zonination duplicated the study using /r/samplesize. His resulting post in /r/dataisbeautiful made the longlist for the 2015 Kantar Information is…

  • Congestion Tolling at the Supermarket

    To help explain¬†why toll lanes might not be the great solution to traffic congestion many believe them to be, Timothy Lee goes to an unexpected place to draw parallels: your local supermarket. Supermarkets are a good analogy, suggests Lee, because they operate in a free market, are ruthlessly efficient, intensely competitive, and employ ‘lanes’ (checkout…

  • Cialdini’s Principles of Persuasion and the Importance of Recognising “Enforced Compliance”

    Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion is Robert Cialdini’s 1984 book discussing what he calls the six fundamental psychological principles of compliance: consistency, reciprocation, social proof, authority, liking and scarcity. The conclusion to Cialdini’s book points out why, in this increasingly complex world, resisting attempts at “enforced compliance” (deception) through these key principles is as important…

  • The Licensing Effect and the Unhealthy Habit of Vitamin Supplements

    The licensing effect is the phenomenon whereby positive actions or decisions taken now increase negative or unethical decisions taken later. I’ve written about this previously, before I was aware of a general effect: Just considering ordering a salad at a restaurant increases unhealthy orders. Purchasing ‘green’ products increases unethical behaviour such as cheating and stealing.…

  • Long Reads and the Stockholm Syndrome

    Since reading one of the¬†longest novels¬†I have shied away from other lengthy tomes despite thoroughly enjoying my 1000-page adventure. When considering this choice, I frame my decision as defending against a type of literary¬†post-purchase rationalisation: after investing such an enormous amount of time in reading a book, will I be able to objectively consider both…

  • Apple’s Implementation of the Duration-of-Exposure Effect: Screens at 70ňö

    Hours after writing about the duration-of-exposure effect¬†(whereby merely touching an unowned object increases our attachment to it and how much we value it), a post came into my feed reader pointing out how Apple Inc. take advantage of this effect in their “painstakingly calibrated” stores. Carmine Gallo, providing a glimpse into his upcoming book,¬†The Apple…

  • Increasing Attachment and Valuation Through Touch

    The endowment effect is old news: the amount that we value an object increases once we take ownership of it. The ‘extended version’ shows that the impact of the endowment effect increases with time: our valuation of an object increases more and more as the amount of time that we own it also increases. This…

  • The Zeigarnik Effect and the Force of Incomplete Tasks

    Why do unresolved issues linger in our mind, making us ponder them for days on end? Why are cliffhangers so successful in getting viewers to tune in to the next episode? How can we overcome procrastination? These questions can be answered by learning about the psychological concept/theory known as the Zeigarnik effect. ‘Discovered’ by Soviet…

  • A “Felt Need” Is What Makes Us Buy

    A “felt need” is what differentiates a vitamin from an aspirin: when we crave something (relief from pain), a product that satisfies that desire becomes a must-have rather than a nice-to-have. Realising this and re-framing a product in terms of this craving is an important step in ensuring a product’s success, say Dan and Chip…