Keywords influence consumer choices

Keywords influence consumer choices

What you read may affect what you eat.
Nov 19, 2009
By staff

It's not too early to start thinking about resolutions for 2010. Maybe you're going to try to take better care of yourself by working out and eating right, especially by avoiding unhealthy snacks in the clinic break room. But the act of choosing your break time nosh might not be as subject to free will as you think. A recent study in the Journal of Consumer Research demonstrates the effect of timing on the choices we make.

University of Miami researcher Juliano Laran conducted tests designed to determine the effect of specific words and concepts upon the actions of consumers. His methodology involved subjects solving word-scrambles which suggested either self-control or indulgence. Those who unscrambled phrases implying self-control tended to select healthier foods for immediate consumption, but more sinful snacks for later. Conversely, participants solving sentences suggesting indulgence were more likely to pick an indulgent snack for the moment and a healthy snack for later.

When Laran repeated the test with suggestive phrases devoted not to food, but to either saving or spending money, he got the same results. If a test solution involved saving, participants indicated that they pictured themselves shopping cautiously in the near term while spending more later. As before, when the scrambled prompt message was reversed, so was the result.

The fact that the most recent or "active" message has such an impact on choices is something that can be seized upon by both consumers and marketers, Laran concludes.

So, pay attention to how things are being presented to you and how you are presenting ideas and products to others. Awareness of this phenomenon could help you both in your personal and professional life.

Hot topics on dvm360

Dog of Dallas Ebola patient will not be euthanized, authorities say

Health officials have quarantined and will monitor dog and amid concerns surrounding deadly virus.

Video: How to perform a belt-loop gastropexy

Prevent GDV in your at-risk patients with this simple technique.

Stretch your skills to earn more in veterinary practice

Finding new tasks could be the key to generating more income for your practice—and boosting your pay.

Veterinary community stunned by Sophia Yin's unexpected death

Prominent veterinary behaviorist died of suicide Sept. 28.

Study shows sustained salary slump for veterinary support staff

Since 2009, technicians paid by the hour have experienced a bump in pay, but pay for other team members has stayed stagnant, according to data from the 2014 Firstline Career Path Study. Here’s a look at changes in team pay from 2009 to 2013.