Predictably Irrational.

02Mar10

This sounds like a super-interesting book by Dan Ariely’s. It’s called Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions and it dives into the fascinating world of behavioral economics.

BoingBoing notes just one example in the book: “Ariely describes a series of experiments that measure work performance among randomly selected groups of people where one group is paid nothing, one group is paid a little, and a third is paid a lot. The group that was paid a little did a little. The group that was paid a lot did a lot. The group that was paid nothing¬†did even more. Ariely and colleagues go on to refine this experiment by changing the reward to gifts (chocolates) instead of money, then to gifts whose value is enumerated (“you will receive a $5 box of Godiva chocolates”) and examines how this effects performance. He also examines what happens to performance in situations in which one is at first paid to work, then asked to do the same work again for free.”

I’ll fully admit that I geek out on this kind of stuff. But for those of you in advertising who really want to know the science behind why people do/choose/buy certain things over other things, this is a must-read.

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