300 cents is worth more than $3?

300 cents is worth more than $3?

You say no, but a new study finds that people act as if it's true.
source-image
Feb 25, 2009
By dvm360.com staff
It’s been wisdom for decades to charge $9.99 instead of $10 for a product. We’re told people ignore the cents and think of the $9 they see as less than $10—a better deal. A new study, however, has found that people feel pretty strongly for those pennies, too.

It turns out people focus more on the numeric value of economic rewards. If the numeral is bigger—300 cents instead of $3—people act as if it’s worth more. A professor and a graduate student of psychology at Ohio State University conducted the experiment as a variation on the prisoner’s dilemma. The pairs of participants—kept unaware of their partner’s choices—were told that if they both cooperated with each other, they would earn $3 each. If one decided to defect, he or she got $5, while the other cooperating participant got nothing. If both decided to defect, each got just $1.

The new wrinkle in the study, however, was offering half the 24 pairs of participants the equivalent in cents instead of dollars. Students, apparently valuing the 300 cents more than $3, chose to cooperate more often. Even stranger, the percentage of participants who cooperated remained the same whether they were vying for 300 cents or $300.

Just another lesson in the many ways human beings perceive value. Hopefully it doesn’t ruin your plans to start listing prices in pennies.

Hot topics on dvm360

Follow dvm360 on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest

For quick updates and to touch base with the editors of dvm360, Veterinary Economics, Veterinary Medicine, and Firstline, and check us out on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.

Sell veterinary clients on your service

But you don't have to have butler-style service to win new clients and keep existing clients happy.

Why veterinarians should be more like a Louisiana shoeshiner

If my veterinary clients feel half as good as I did after visiting the 'Michael Jordan of shoeshines,' I'll be thrilled.

Texts from your veterinary clinic cat

If your clinic cat had a cell phone and opposable thumbs, what would he or she text you?

Learning goodbye: Veterinarians fill a void by focusing on end of life care

Veterinarians dedicating their careers to hospice and euthansia medicine may be pioneering the profession's next specialty—at clients' request.