The Neuro Science Behind What Makes Us Want



In the growing field of Neuro Marketing, we’re beginning to understand the neuro science behind what appeals to a consumer from the primordial recesses of the brain. Susan Weinschenk, researcher and author of the book Neuro Web Design, What Makes Them Click?, is applying this principle to web design. She presented some of her findings at the Internet User Experience 2009 conference in Ann Arbor, Michigan. What an eye opener! 

In the study of human-computer interaction (HCI), we often look at cognitive psychology to understand what motivates a person to click. In fact, the study of HCI was born from cognitive psych. Weinschenk, however, points out that this goes deeper. Decisions are motivated not only by the conscience but also by the unconscious mind.

Weinschenk touched on three interesting principles. I’ll begin with the last since it’s the most exciting: the principle of social validation. If a user is uncertain about a decision, he or she will look to other people. Specifically, consumers trust peers over expert reviews or recommender systems. We, as web marketers, can apply this principle in smart application design and social media. Find and promote the community around a product and include credible reviews. 

Another principle is related to decision making and the number of choices presented. Users may say they want many choices, but the research presented in the book actually proves that the fewer the choices, the more likely a person will click — or better yet, purchase. Too many choices cause the user to freeze and make no choice at all.

The third principle presented was the fear of loss. It’s better to begin with all options and then allow the user to subtract. The fear of loss principle means that users are reluctant to remove options and more likely to purchase a product with premium options if that is what is first presented. An example of this principle in play is on Dell’s website. Products begin with more expensive options and the user can subtract these for a less expensive end product. 

Since all this happens on a subconsciousness level, it’s hard to say whether or not (as a consumer) I’ve actually acted this way during a purchase process. Still, I agree with Weinschenk’s conclusions. I’m eager to apply these learnings in my XA practice. I’d like to give users fewer and more relevant choices. Then integrate social media as a way to influence their decisions.

So the next time you make a purchase decision, think about what made you choose what you did. MR McGill


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: