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Your customer

Your customer

Your customer is a brain. All his behavior is controlled by this 1,5 kilo of cortical proteins and fats. Every decision is made by his 100 billion brain cells and 1.000 billion glial cells that interact via a 1.000 times a 1.000 billion synapses (“It’s quite complicated” ;-).

We start to learn more and more about our brain. Also because of our World Wide Valhalla for scientists. We start to understand how we are influenced by our ‘Needs & Motivations‘, how ‘Attention & Perception‘ works, how we save and use experiences in our ‘Memory‘, and how our decisions are influenced by ‘Ratio’s & Thoughts‘, as well as by ‘Emotions & Irrationalities‘.

Cognitive dissonance

“When we do something that is not in line with our beliefs, we change our beliefs”
When there’s a mismatch between our beliefs and behavior we experience what Leon Festinger calls a ‘cognitive dissonance’. And we have a strong motivational drive to reduce this dissonance.

We can’t change the displayed behavior anymore, but we can change our beliefs and cognitions. In order to reduce dissonance we simply alter our beliefs, which we actually do a lot. There are 3 ways to do so:

We lower the importance of the dissonant elements,
we add new consonant beliefs to create a consistent belief system, or

Read More AboutCognitive dissonance»

Choice-supportive bias

“I chose this option, therefore its features are the best”
We have a tendency to remember our choices as being better than they actually were. We over-attribute positive features to the options we’ve chosen. On the other hand, we do the opposite for options that we did not choose: we attribute negative features to the non-chosen options.

Scientific research example
Imagine researchers ask you several times to choose between two classic cars, each with a couple of distinctive features. After you finished, the researcher thank you and ask you to come back in 7 days.

One week later you come back. The researchers

Ambiguity Aversion

“We prefer options that are certain”
People tend to select options for which the probability of a favorable outcome is known (over an option for which the probability of a favorable outcome is unknown).

The ambiguity effect is relevant when a decision is affected by a lack of information, or “ambiguity”. The effect implies that we tend to select options for which the probability of a favorable outcome is highest. We simply have a reluctance to accept offers that are risky or uncertain.

Two remarks:

Over an initial range, women require no further compensation for the introduction of ambiguity whereas men do.
Curiosity increases

Read More AboutAmbiguity Aversion»

Belongingness & Conformity

“We prefer to behave in approval with our social groups”
Belongingness is our innate need to form and maintain strong, stable interpersonal relationships. More than we are often consciously aware, we want to be part of a peer group, community and society.

Once we feel we belong to a group, we will conform to, and internalize, the groups values and norms. In general, we conform to both injunctive norms of our groups (implied approved behavior by the group), and to descriptive norms (common behavior among group members). We may even behave adversely to groups that we do not want to be

Choice paradox

“We love either 3 or 5 options”
If we are offered one option, our choice is to either go for it, or… not. However, if we are offered two choices, we automatically start choosing between these two options. Not choosing at all becomes a much less obvious option. Therefore offering more than one option is usually more persuasive.

On the other hand, if we are offered too many choices we tend not to make a choice. Too many choices are simply too difficult for our simple ratio.

That’s the paradox of choice.
Scientific research example:
Imagine that you’re in the business of selling pens,

Read More AboutChoice paradox»


“We prefer situations that we have control over”
Autonomy is our innate and universal need to be causal agents of our own lives. Our perception of our autonomy influences our behavior. A high level of perceived autonomy comes with feelings of certainty, reduced stress and a high level of ‘intrinsic motivation’. This increases the likelihood of persistent behavior. On the other hand, taking away our autonomy (e.g. by introducing external rewards and deadlines), undermines our intrinsic motivation as we grow less interested in it.

Situations that give autonomy as opposed to taking it away also have a similar link to motivation.

Read More AboutAutonomy»

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,

Read More AboutVisual cueing»