Friday, November 12, 2010

Sidestep Stroop Interference

Do you want your customers to sidestep mental thunderstorms of indecision when they’re shopping with you? Your understanding of the Stroop Test is one tool to help you help those indecisive customers.
     The Stroop Test, which you can take yourself online, is used by psychologists to assess conflicts among beliefs, emotions, and intentions. These three are what a consumer is trying to blend as they shop:
  • What do they consciously and logically believe to be the best course of action?
  • What are their feelings—often experienced at a subconscious level—as to what’s best?
  • What do they say they intend to do, and in what direction is their subconscious steering their purchase behavior?
     When everything is in line, the shopper makes the purchase decision quickly and is satisfied with the decision. When there are conflicts among the beliefs, emotions, consciously experienced intentions, and subconscious drivers, then the shopper feels uncomfortable. They are, after all, experiencing the equivalent of a thunderstorm inside their heads.
     The Stroop Test measures the extent of this interference by having a person look at words, each word the name of a color. The tricky part is that most of the words are written in a color different from the color the word names. The word GOLD might appear in green, for instance. The person is asked not to read the word, but to name the color.
     People find it much easier to read the words—a behavior which corresponds to the logical beliefs we have—than to attend to the colors—a behavior which corresponds to emotions because of the emotional arousal colors cause. The time it takes a person to complete the test and the number of errors made are used to calculate a measure called Stroop Interference. That corresponds to shopper indecision.
     How to reduce Stroop Interference? One way is to cultivate a positive mood in the test taker. For example, researchers at Germany’s University of Osnabrück pretty much eliminated Stroop Interference by having people read through words—in black ink—describing positive emotions.
     You almost surely won’t be administering the Stroop Test to indecisive shoppers in your store. But I do suggest that you create a positive mood in the indecisive shopper so their indecision will be sidestepped. Simply saying positive words and flashing a genuine smile could be enough.

Click below for more:
Profit from Shoppers’ Positive Moods
Know How Much Emotion to Deliver
Dislodge Indecision with New Choice

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