May 19, 2022

Decision Making & Applied Neuroscience – #4 – CXL Minidegree

In this 4th part of Digital psychology & Persuasion course by CXL institute I have read and understood how decision making and emotions are interwind.
Today i will discuss the following :
i) Important factors that influence decision.
ii) persuasive Journey mapping
iii) Mastering persuasion via emotion, attention and memory.

Before going into these 3 factors we must know that we make a lot of decisions in the entire day approx 227 of them just about food, which to cumulate to 1 billion in a month. If we are able to understand the decision making process then it becomes an important tool to strategize for consumer behavior.

i) Important factors that influence decision.

When it comes to making decisions scientists figure out 4 important mental processes that influence decisions:

Cognitive Bias happens when people take decisions based on previous knowledge, belief or actions. the most important are belief, omission and confirmation biases.

Memories are instrumental in making a positive or negative emotion.

Abductive reasoning is based on creating and testing hypotheses based on readily available information.

Emotions play an important role in decision making.

Risk & Reward are processed differently under stress : There are considerable instances where Stress plays a key role in the outcome of decision making. i) Under stress we are inclined to take up previously rewarding outcomes and avoid negative out comes. ii) While under stress gender differences shows women are averse to risky decisions than males. Acute stress leads to more dopamin release in our brain that allures us to look for  potential gains associated with decision options.

Experimentation about stress effect on decision values leads to the conclusion of stress enhanced learning from positive feedback but impaired learning to avoid negative feedback.

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Our Brain is a Dual Processing Unit

Bart Schutz, at CXL Live 2016, gave a talk on ‘Persuasive Journey Mapping’. He is a consumer psychologist and one of the few international leading voices on online persuasion and consumer behavior. He discussed the concept of BIG.

Behavioral Intelligence Gap

This is the gap between the behavioral experiments we conduct on customers and our understanding of their behavior. To interpret user behavior and how we can persuade it to our advantage, we must get a better understanding of the functioning of the brain. 

To interpret user behavior and how we can persuade it to our advantage, we must get a better understanding of the functioning of the brain. Our brain can be thought of as a dual processing unit, comprising of the following two systems:

System 1System 2
Subconscious, emotional brainConscious, rational brain

System 1

This is the fully automated and emotional part of the brain and is always working. It is characterized by its associative and relative nature. Therefore, implicit/indirect associations can also invoke a desired response.

System 2

This is the voluntary part of the brain which makes us aware about present and future dangers, it manifests power of imagination and logical reasoning by projecting itself in the future. However, system 2 is not always available in the decision making process, but when it kicks in it needs full focus and takes up selective information to derive decisions.

What actually drives our decisions?

we always tend to believe that we take rational decisions but that is a false thought. We tend to post decision rationalize our decisions. We tend to rationalize our decisions after we have taken them. The system 2 tries to console us with logics to rationalize our decisions which are far from the truth. As humans we try to try to feel comfortable with our decisions that’s it.

Therefore, when testing for conversions, both of our Brain systems must be kept in mind. System 1 is always working; whereas, system 2 is lazy and works in a different way. So our tasks are:

  • To find when System 2 is activated
  • And, when and which system of the two is persuaded with what arguments

Master the Moment of Decision

At the moment of every decision the following factors must align: Attention , Emotion & Memory.

We define DECISION as “Determination arrived after consideration”.

We make overall 3000 decisions a day but few are considered as rational by the Brain. The final decision is based when Attention, emotion & memory get aligned together.

Attention : Is focusing your mind on something. researchers say that we have 50 mili secs to build up the entire vision. First we look into the point of attention then our brain builds up the frame. So in order to drive more attention on our website we should be able to understand how to create the point of interst on the website that removes distraction and keeps the audience focussed.

Emotion: Emotion & feelings are interwind to the extent that when we are able to feel emotional first then it crosses our personal threshold to become a feeling. As we have discussed that the decision making is done by our subconscious mind , so creating a emotion can trigger the decision making process as emotion is also guided by the subconcious mind.

Memory: It is true that positive outcome memory of our mind is leads to more favorable responses with our decision. that is why we tend to buy the product or service that is in our memory elicited positive response.

Psychology of Learning

There are 3 main learning processes:

i) Classical Conditioning: This is a process in which an association is formed between a previously neutral stimulus and a naturally potent stimulus which evokes a response.

ii) Operant conditioning: This process helps to modify behavior through the use of positive and negative stimulus. For example, by rewarding or punishing a kid for some behavior, or by rewarding customer with loyalty programs and freemium services.

iii) Observational learning: From the days of evolution we have been observing & learning. Requires: attention (degree to which the observer notices the behavior), retention (forms memory of the behavior), reproduction (ability to imitate the behavior), motivation (perceived rewards must outweigh perceived costs).

Then How can we apply all this Neuro Marketing techniques in online Marketing?

When users visit a site, the information on the web page must be arranged in such a way that it is easy to relate, process and gain memory. The effectiveness of these marketing strategies can later verified by testing how well the users were able to retrieve that information from their memory. This can be done using A/B Testing.

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