Sunday, July 27, 2008

"Consumers" are well-programmed robots

Brand Names Subconsciously Afftect People's Shopping Goals (7/17/08)
Even 60 milliseconds of exposure to a brand name such as Wal-Mart or Tiffany can alter consumers’ subconscious goals, according to new research.

Authors Tanya L. Chartrand, Joel Huber (both Duke University), Baba Shiv (Stanford University), and Robin J. Tanner (University of Wisconsin) examined goals that are triggered when consumers shop. “Results suggest that simple exposure to brand names has the potential to activate goals which then influence choices,” write the authors. “This data thus opens the door to an intriguing new way to think about the role and power of brands.”

The research suggests that goals can be triggered without consciousness. In other words, passing a discount store on the way to the sporting good store might affect an eventual purchase. ...

“To the best of our knowledge, this provides the first evidence that such brands can automatically activate purchase goals in individuals and that these goals can influence consumers’ product preferences without their awareness or conscious intent,” the authors conclude.

Even though we like to think we’re in control of our choices, this research indicates that our response to some brands is deeply rooted in our subconscious.

Emphasis added.

Too bad humans can't be programmed to think rationally. But that would be counterproductive to society's real goals.

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