6 ways to reveal someone’s true colours

Adelphi-neuroscienceWhy do people’s decisions so often surprise us? What they tell us suggests they view the options one way, yet their actions belie this narrative.

1) Understand the reality of decision-making

By using techniques based on neuroscience approaches we can better understand some of the fast intuitive, System 1 processing we all use to make decisions. This is processing that we are not consciously aware of and therefore unable to explain. These approaches add value to traditional market research exploration, helping to explain the gap between what people tell us and what we can see they really feel.

2) Apply heuristics to drive decisions

The behavioural economics’ framework references numerous biases and heuristics that drive behaviour. Behavioural Economist, Nick Southgate describes some of them in their simplest terms as; “People just do what everyone else does (or what they think everyone else does). People do what they did last time. People do whatever is easiest. People do what is offered, not what they want.”

Designing market research with heuristics top of mind, aids our ability to dig deeper and uncover more accurate findings from respondents. It also helps us to interpret those gaps where respondents tell us one thing but clearly feel, think or do another.

3) Understand the symbolism using semiotics

Every topic comes with a cultural context, semiotics helps us to unravel the signs and symbols associated with brands and schools of thought. Both by understanding the cultural framework surrounding a topic and by looking at visual signs and symbols used to represent it we can understand the rich cultural tapestry within which decisions sit. We can identify potential barriers and levers that might not be obvious when looking at a respondent’s responses and reactions in isolation.

4) Reveal system 1 thinking via facial coding

Facial coding lets us uncover what people are really feeling before they consciously respond and tell us what emotions they think are invoked. By capturing subliminal facial movements on video and analysing them in slow motion, we can understand participants’ initial innate reactions to visual stimuli, before System 2 responses kick-in. Thus providing a unique insight into the emotions that visuals stimulate.

5) Make research more rewarding and engaging

Using gamification approaches in research helps us to access the automatic System 1 thinking which is thought to be responsible for such a high proportion of our decision making. We apply five key principles of gamification: 1) Set rules, 2) Set goals, 3) Frame questions, 4) Give feedback & rewards, 5) Engage through imagery. Our research shows these approaches can lead to better quality responses that better reflect the reality of decision making.

6) Tap into inherent motivations using NLP

Long a favourite of sales forces, neurolinguistics programming helps us to understand the way people think about a given topic. Do they need a structure for their decision making (process) or do they want to feel they have free choice (options)? Do they need consistency (sameness) or are they looking for a novel twist on a tried and tested approach (sameness with difference)? By understanding what hits their hot buttons we can tailor communications to optimise the impact we have on them on the given topic.

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