Monday, September 27, 2010

Choice blindness at the marketplace

Hall et al. do a nice demonstration of the extent to which we can delude our sensory capacities to justify a choice or preference we have previously made:
We set up a tasting venue at a local supermarket and invited passerby shoppers to sample two different varieties of jam and tea, and to decide which alternative in each pair they preferred the most. Immediately after the participants had made their choice, we asked them to again sample the chosen alternative, and to verbally explain why they chose the way they did. At this point we secretly switched the contents of the sample containers, so that the outcome of the choice became the opposite of what the participants intended. In total, no more than a third of the manipulated trials were detected. Even for remarkably different tastes like Cinnamon-Apple and bitter Grapefruit, or the smell of Mango and Pernod was no more than half of all trials detected, thus demonstrating considerable levels of choice blindness for the taste and smell of two different consumer goods.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous11:29 AM

    Maybe they were just too polite to point out that the tester switched the flavors? Why start a potential conflict with a stranger who is offering you a treat by accusing them thus?