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Where is our buy button?

“The subconscious activity of the earthworm is much more complicated from the information point of view of what our consciousness does” (I. N. Pigarev). It is clear that I am not going to confirm or refute this idea, especially in the context of consumer decision-making. But I am absolutely sure that the decision-making mechanism in a situation of choice is very far from conscious.

Today it is known that the brain has two different systems responsible for making decisions. Two different processes occur in the brain by which decisions are made depending on whether the choice is between objects or between actions. And many attempts by various studies and experts to explain very strange decisions and actions of a person are extremely heterogeneous and sometimes doubtful.

Many remember the classic studies of Solomon Ashe. Imagine that a person is sitting in a room, he is shown on the screen 3 lines of different sizes. He needs to determine which of these lines corresponds to the test line, which is shown on the screen. A person always easily gives the correct answer in a standard situation, but S. Ash put 6 other subjects in the room. These six gave the wrong answer. It turned out that in such a situation, the seventh subject at least once, but gave the wrong answer, despite the obvious falsity of what he said. It turns out that it’s very difficult for us to speak out against the opinion of the group. Why? Is it really only because man is a “social animal”?

What happens in a person’s brain when he realizes that his opinion is different from that of others?

It turns out that at the moment when our opinion differs from the opinion of others, a certain signal is formed in the brain, which can be registered using special devices. This signal is comparable to that which occurs when a person is mistaken in something. And our brain is designed so that it seeks to “fix” all our mistakes, so that the next time in a similar situation they are not repeated. And the most interesting thing is that for our brain to differ from others is a mistake, since it is very important for it to “make decisions” that are similar to those that are inherent in our reference group.

Think about how often you give a coin or a bill to a street musician? How often do not give? Why? What or who influences your decision – to give or not to give? In one experiment, a front assistant walked in front of a man walking down the street and gave a coin to a street musician. It turned out that the number of passers-by giving a coin when someone did it before their eyes increased by 7 times! Obviously, most of the people who gave the coin did this only because someone in front of them did exactly the same. When people were stopped and asked why they gave a coin, no one said: “Because someone else gave the coin.” Everyone explained this with a variety of reasons: the fact that the music is good, that they have such a mood, something else. No one was aware that he was doing the same as others.

In the process of conducting my training seminars, I conducted such an experiment several times. I suggested that the participants (a total of about 1000 people aged 18-45 years were surveyed) indicate exactly how they make their choice of essential goods. The result was as follows – about 70% of the participants indicated that the “list method” is dominant when choosing food products, while 95% of them use the “price comparison” method. Further, I suggested that the participants fill in the columns of the table with five columns on their own, without specifying the column name. Orally, study participants were asked to proceed to sequentially filling out a column in the form of an answer to a question.

1 column: Indicate the name of the 10 products most often purchased by you at the supermarket;

2 column: Indicate the name of the TM of these goods;

3 column: Indicate the exact price of these goods;

Column 4: Indicate the names of TM with which you compare the products that you buy most often;

Column 5: Indicate the exact price of competing TM products.

When filling out the table, the participants were asked to indicate the exact data, in the absence of such data – put a dash or “0”. Interpretation of the results. 100% filling of the first column. In the second column, the percentage of filling in the names of TM was 40%. In the third column – 20%. None of the respondents was able to indicate the names of competing TMs (4 column) and the price of competing TMs (5 column). Although initially 95% of the participants claimed that when buying essential goods they proceeded from the choice of the most reasonable price. And at the same time – about 70% of them buy on the list, i.e. prepare in advance for the acquisition, planning expenses with the need to purchase. Conscious explanations of this situation did not go beyond the standard answers “I don’t remember,” “I don’t remember,” “I don’t know,” “I can’t explain,” “I remember the shape and color of the package,” etc.

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