Monday, 12 January 2009

They are playing with your brain!


On the Mind Hacks blog, he is discussing the psychology of choice:

"He notes that the UK magazine The Economist was offering a web only subscription for $59, a print subscription for $125 dollars, and a print-and-internet subscription also for $125.

It seems no-one would choose the print-only subscription - it seems obsolete - but its mere presence affects our reasoning and boosts the sales the more expensive option.

In a study to test this, Ariely gave participants the choice between these three subscription options, and to another group of participants, the choice only between web-only and print-and-internet subscriptions.

In the three option condition 16 people chose the internet-only subscription, none the print-only subscription and the other 84 chose the print-and-internet option.

As the print-only is obselete, it should make no difference whether it is part of the choice or not, when it isn't there, in the two choice condition, the reverse pattern emerged. The majority, 68 people, chose the cheaper online option, while only 32 took the print-and-internet option.

In other words, the print-only is a decoy and it makes us think that the print-and-internet option is a better deal because it has something 'free', when in reality, this impression is just created because we've just been presented with a decoy worse deal."

- Mind Hacks
Nasty, nasty advertising people!


When you read the words "card credit"
and "you thank" in this sentence,
you'll probably think you read
"credit card" and "thank you",
but you didn't.

Thanks to Mark for this.


  1. Well... yeah I had heard of this one before. Advertising is about playing mind games..
    Its wierd how our brain works eh?
    Wish I knew how to push the right buttons EACH time!

  2. I am telling you Lee - I would go the cheapest option , and that is the print form at the local library!
    Free - he, he, he.

  3. I'll go with Lady Jicky to the library.

  4. When studying graphic design at art college in the early seventies, one of the books on my reading list back then was Vance Packard's "The Hidden Persuaders", which was first published in 1957.

  5. Friends tell me that our phone calls to the Uk are free. Of course they are NOT free, but they are unlimited.

  6. And people are paid on a daily basis to figure out more and more ways to trick us...

  7. This last trick didn't work with me. Sorry, my editing brain is very picky...can't get away with anything!
    I would have still been wondering what those 2 phrases meant if you hadn't explained...

  8. Devious I say very devious, and it actually works.

    This reminds me close friend who tends to be sucked into this type of reasoning. For e.g. if we see a shirt for $80, I may say that it is a bit too much for the material right? HE will say that well, it is originally $150, so in comparison its a deal and we should buy it.

    The reasoning - would I think it worth $80 if I didnt see the $150 tag, and would I still buy it? - well that goes right out the window!

  9. did not! i'm probably one of those people that can't be hypnotized. :D


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