Sunday, September 22, 2013
The researchers asked student participants to hold either a hot or iced cup of coffee and then to imagine the personality traits of a fictitious person. Those holding the hot coffee rated the person as more generous, sociable, and good-natured than those who held the cold coffee - all of which are characteristics psychologists associate with warmth. Taking the research a step further, the researchers had other student volunteers briefly hold one of those heat or ice pads sold in drugstores for pain, allegedly as part of product-testing. The students later were given the option of a small gift as a thank you for participating: they could choose either an ice-cream coupon or bottled drink for themselves, or one for a friend. Students who held the hot pad were more likely to choose a reward for a friend, whereas those who held the ice pad were more likely to choose a reward for themselves.
It's interesting to consider the consumer behavior and marketing implications of the research. According to Williams, free food samples distributed in grocery stores probably entice more shoppers if they are warm. Consider also that there already are relatively inexpensive hand warmers on the market - little sacs that you heat in water prior to going out in the cold, which you can then put in your coat pockets and use as a handy way of keeping your hands nice and toasty (assuming they effectively work). Perhaps a new product tagline: 'Warm your hands and your heart at the same time.' And as Paris commuters shift more and more from hard-copy books, newspapers, and magazines to electronic versions, perhaps as their portable devices warm up through use, so too will my fellow countrymen.
"Experiencing physical warmth promotes interpersonal warmth" by Lawrence E. Williams and John A. Bargh. Science, 2008, vol. 322, no. 5,091.
Monday, September 9, 2013
I couldn't help but be intrigued by this headline making the rounds in a research press release:
'Shopping in High Heels Could Curb Overspending'
Now check out this little checklist:
When shopping for a big ticket item, such as a television, there is a checklist of things you should always do:
- Read reviews
- Compare prices
- Wear high heels
The bigger picture here pertains to the relationship between physical sensations and decision making, and reveals that people should be aware of how physical forces can change the way they think about things. As Billeter suggests, "We need to sit back for a minute and consider, 'Is this really what I want, or are the shoes I'm wearing influencing my choice?' We need to be more aware of what is influencing our choices."
Source: Jeffrey S. Larson, Darron M. Billeter. Consumer Behavior in “Equilibrium”: How Experiencing Physical Balance Increases Compromise Choice. Journal of Marketing Research, 2013; 50 (4): 535 DOI: 10.1509/jmr.11.0455