THE WHEEL OF PERSUASION

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Attention & Perception

Attention & Perception

Facial distraction

“We can’t resist looking at faces”
When we (subconsciously) notice faces in our surroundings, we tend to first scan those faces (as shown in the picture), before looking at anything else.

Moreover, we cognitively process those faces thoroughly. Facial recognition is distinct from object recognition in terms of visual processing. There are distinctly separate parts of our brain involved (the so-called Fusiform Face Areas), and – more importantly – our brain puts a lots of complex processing in analyzing faces. Note: some visual processing of complex non-face shapes happen in this area as well.

So faces take a huge amount of cognitive

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Attentional Bias

“We pay attention to things that touch us”
The Attentional Bias is our tendency to pay more attention to emotionally dominant stimuli, and to neglect other relevant data when making decisions. So the more something touches us, the more attention we pay to it.

Classic examples of dominant emotions are i.e. pain, fear and sex. Research studying the Attentional Bias effect often involves ‘Dot Probe’ studies. In these studies a test subject has to look at the center of a screen, where two pictures with different emotions are shortly shown.

When the pictures are gone, a dot (dot probe) appears where one of

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Gaze Cueing

“We automatically focus our orientation to the same object that others are looking at”
When we’re confronted with faces, we can’t help but to intensely process the eyes and their highly expressive surrounding region. Eyes reveal otherwise secret and complex mental states such as emotions, intentions, beliefs, and desires. Research indicates that eye contact accounts for roughly 55% of the information in a face-to-face conversation!

But eyes also have the irresistible power to attract and direct our attention. The perceived gaze direction of a face shifts our visual attention as a powerful magnet in the same direction.
Scientific research example
Imagine you’re looking

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Visual cueing

“Our focus of attention is highly influenced by visual cues”
A visual cue is a signal which your brain extracts from what you see. It indicates the state of some property around you that you are interested in perceiving.

Now, only 1% of what you see actually enters through your eyes (the rest is -surprisingly correct – made up by your brain). You can only see really well with your ‘fovea’: an area in the exact center of your retina that is the size of your thumbnail on an arm-length distance).

It is therefore important to direct your customers’ fovea-attention, for example,

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Perceptual incongruence

“We automatically pay attention to things that we did not expect”
Only 1% of what you see actually enters through your eyes. Your brain itself fills in the rest. Your brain does this by using prior visual information and established assumptions about the real world. 99% of what you see is ‘computed vision’, based on highly advanced algorithms, providing you with a surprisingly accurate visual image.

Perceptual incongruence occurs when the true visual information gathered via the eye doesn’t fit visual algorithms. When this happens, parts of the brain start asking for more information (because it doesn’t necessarily fit the algorithm).

Therefore,

Focusing effect

“We can only pay attention to a few things”
Most commercial choices have way too many aspects for a normal human being to take them all into account. Therefore we have a tendency to only focus on a few of them, excluding those that are less conspicuous. Those that have noticeable differences, for example. This way we place too much importance on one aspect, causing an error in accurately predicting how happy we will be with each option.

This unequally focusing on aspects is called the focusing effect (the focusing effect is closely related to the attentional bias).
Scientific research example:
For example,

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