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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‘.

Endowment effect

“When we own goods, we value them higher than when we don’t”
How we value items depends on whether or not it is ours. The effect (also known as ‘divestiture aversion’) is that when there are two identical products, we especially value the one we own.

In other words: we want more money if we sell a product, than what we are willing pay when buying it.
Scientific research example:
The prototypical studies into the endowment effect involve mugs and other equally priced products.

Imagine Nobel-prize winner Daniel Kahneman gives you such a mug. You say “thank you”. Daniel than asks you if you

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“We are more likely to perform actions when we believe in our own competence”
Self-efficacy is a person’s belief in his/her own competence. According to Albert Bandura – who defined self-efficacy theory – this personalized belief in our ability to succeed affects our behavior. The more competent we think we are (a high level of perceived self-efficacy), the greater our intrinsic motivation to act is.

There are at least 3 types of information that enhance our self-efficacy online:

Our own behavior: when we are successful, we become convinced that we will be successful again.
The behavior of others: when we see others being

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Base rate neglect & Base rate fallacy

“We’re really bad with numbers”
We have a tendency to base judgments on known specific numbers and percentages, ignoring necessary general statistical information. This way we often erroneously over evaluate options with high numbers and percentages, ignoring what subset or base these numbers apply to…

Scientific research example:
Imagine you’re the major of a city with 1 million inhabitants, with 100 known criminals. Your citizens want you to decrease crime rate. Your Police Chief suggests installing a surveillance camera with automatic facial recognition software. The software has a failure rate of only 1%.

Is installing the camera a good idea? Most of the

Self-generation memory effect

“If we think of it ourselves, we find it easy to remember”
We remember information better if it is generated by our own mind, moreso than when we read or hear it from someone else. So if you want your customer to remember something, a highly effective strategy is to have him generate the information himself.
Scientific research example:
Imagine that you’re given a list of simple multiplication problems. Some calculations include the answers, for others the answer is absent. For calculating the missing answers you can use your head, or a calculator. You are asked to remember as many of the

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).


Status quo bias

“We have a tendency to do nothing”
We have an irrational preference for the current state of affairs. Even when offered a new option or choice, we tend to stick to the default option.

The status quo bias is closely related to loss aversion and anchoring & adjustments, since the default option is taken as a reference point. Any change from that baseline is perceived as a loss.
A real-life example:
In Europe different countries use different policies regarding organ donation. Ben Saunders (2012) found that there are typically two types of countries. There are countries where a minority (4% – 28%) participates

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“We have a strong need to be consistent in our views and behavior”
We have a strong need to be consistent in all areas of life — in our words, opinions, beliefs and behavior. Therefore, once we make a decision or perform an action, we are very likely to make all future behavior match this past behavior. Changing our viewpoints or behavior creates a fear of being perceived as a flip-flopper.

When there’s a mismatch between our belief and behavior we experience what Leon Festinger calls a ‘cognitive dissonance’. And we have a strong need to solve this dissonance. So when

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