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Women Can Be Irrational, Too

This is big news for guys. For years, I’ve gently mocked my half of the species for being far-too-easily influenced by female images. Babes in bikinis alter male behavior, but it doesn’t always take that much. Simply including a photo of an attractive woman in a loan offer was enough to boost the response rate as much as a 4% lower interest rate (see A Pretty Woman Beats a Good Loan Deal). Women, meanwhile, have been shown to be largely immune to manipulation by mere photos. In Brainfluence, my chapter on gender is heavily skewed toward influencing males – mostly because it’s far easier!

It would be easy to conclude that guys are ridiculously shallow (even subconsciously), but a new study shows that women aren’t actually immune to what psychologists call “sexual primes.” The lack of female response in past research seems to have been due to the investigators priming the wrong sense: sight. Touch, it turns out, is the more powerful sense for women. […]

By |October 16th, 2013|

The Easiest Way Ever to Boost Your Productivity

Do you find chunks of your day consumed by less than productive activities? Updating Twitter? Checking Facebook? Clicking on those fascinating links posted by your friends? Checking sports scores or stock prices? Catching up on the latest hilarity from DamnYouAutoCorrect? None of these are bad things, but when you have important tasks to complete these non-essential activities can kill your productivity. It turns out there’s a quick visualization you can perform that will make you more likely to focus on your mission-critical tasks. […]

By |April 23rd, 2012|

Conversion Lessons from a Busty Bloodsucker

If you were at my SXSW panel, How Brain Science Turns Browsers into Buyers, you already saw the latest proof that sexy imagery can boost sales. Ion Interactive, a firm specializing in online conversion, ran a test for online game-maker Kabam to improve signup rates for a vampire game, Thirst of Night. Take a look at the three images tested: […]

By |March 19th, 2012|

Vivid Stories Change Donor Behavior

A vivid story can put us in a more altruistic mode, a study shows. UK researchers looked at the two ways people think about death – abstractly or specifically. They used a detailed story which placed the reader in a burning apartment to activate specific death thoughts. A second group of subjects answered more general questions about death, while a control group was exposed to non-death-related material. They then gave subjects a second item to read, an article about blood donations which came in two versions, suggesting that blood donations were either at record highs or record lows. Finally, all subjects were given the opportunity to express an interest in donating blood. […]

By |September 6th, 2011|

Why Jersey Shore Drops the National IQ

Stupidity appears to be contagious, and you can catch it from the media you consume. Researcher Markus Appel had college students read a story about a “foolish soccer hooligan” who got drunk, got into fights, etc., or a more neutral story without the dumb behavior. Subsequently, the students were given a general knowledge test. The subjects who read the story about the stupid character scored lower on the test than those who read the neutral story. […]

By |June 20th, 2011|

How is Fast Food Like An Attractive Woman?

The simple answer is that, much as viewing images of attractive women made men impatient, looking at logos of fast food restaurants caused an increase in impatient behavior.

Researchers at the University of Toronto found that simply viewing fast food […]

By |August 2nd, 2010|

25-Cent Creativity Booster

Want to boost your creativity by investing a quarter or so? Buy a lightbulb. Not the fancy LED, halogen, or compact fluorescent variety – just the old-fashioned, cheap incandescent kind that come in four-packs for a buck or so. Skeptical? Read on… […]

By |July 23rd, 2010|

Attractive Women Make Men Impatient

I’ve written a few times about the effects of pictures of attractive women on decision-making by men. In Bikinis, Babes, and Buying, we learned that guys who looked at pictures of bikini-clad women made impulsive decisions. In A Pretty Woman Beats a Good Loan Deal, we found that men accepted higher loan rates when the direct mail offer included a picture of an attractive woman. Do women just make men crazy? Actually, there’s a scientific explanation for these effects. […]

By |May 19th, 2010|

Superhero Super-Priming

OK, here’s a quick task: take a minute to write down some common characteristics and behaviors that superheroes might exhibit… (DON’T read further until you have jotted down some ideas.)

Done? You should know that I have manipulated you and influenced your future behavior… but in a good way! If your local non-profit called you right now and asked for your help with, say, an upcoming fund-raising project, you would likely be much more willing to volunteer your time than before you started reading this and performing this little exercise! […]

By |April 30th, 2009|

Sexy Pics Beat Ugly Spiders

 
Erotic images sell better than pictures of office supplies, and a lot better than photos of hairy spiders. Who knew? Actually, that’s a bit of an oversimplification. Stanford researchers led by neuroeconomics prof Brian Knutson have found that positive images, in this case mildly erotic photos of men and women shown to heterosexual men, stimulate the reward center in the brain and induce the viewers to take greater financial risks than subjects who saw neutral (office supplies) or negative (big spider) images. This effect was purely a priming effect, as all of the images were irrelevant to the subsequent decision. The implications of this work could be broad, impacting such diverse areas as gaming and auto sales. […]

By |April 3rd, 2008|