Do We Think Or Feel Our Decisions?

Human behavior is highly complex. Even today there are great enigmas about how our reasoning works. It is fascinating to understand that a biological organ like our brain is still a powerful natural computer that is capable of making modern supercomputers look like mere attempts to emulate bilogy. Within this dichotomy we also find the capacities of our mind to carry out tasks that artificial intelligences are just beginning to babble on.

If we add to this that market analysts are subjects who study subjects, a distance towards objectivity is assured. However, science and Market Research have many solutions so that the studies they carry out to understand human beings are as rigorous and replicable as circumstances allow. The rigorously applied methodology is a step so that the findings made in the studies explain with great adherence to reality what people do in real life.

One of the challenges facing market researchers is to figure out what part of our decisions are rational and what part is dominated by emotions and feelings. This paradox makes us still different from machines and computer programs. While the human being is subjective and often driven by endless biases, technology is still strictly governed by the instructions of its creators. An artificial intelligence is not yet capable of deciding whether or not to execute an order.

Several studies have shown that our mind is very sophisticated and capable of performing various tasks that many of us only dream of doing on a daily basis. To cite an example of this situation, we find that when performing basic arithmetic operations, our brain can solve them almost instantly without errors. However, after a school education that limits us to making strokes and a more detailed and slow mental process leads us to respond incorrectly on several occasions. This situation can be extrapolated to other actions.

It is well known that with the correct stimuli it is possible to direct the response of people in countless scenarios. The use of certain lighting, colors, product location patterns, figures, and smells induce certain decisions. This is because we tend to add a large component of emotion to what we choose. If our senses perceive some element of the environment as positive or comforting, it will seek to replicate it as many times as it is within its reach.

The health crisis has been an interesting opportunity to observe how people, despite the available information and common sense, have made decisions that are difficult to understand from a rational and impartial point of view. When the lockdowns began, supermarkets saw their toilet paper shelves empty in many latitudes. Was this the product of some scientific recommendation of the moment? No. Consumers depleted inventories because owning this product gave them a sense of security and comfort.

Understanding the participation between reason and emotion in the elective process is a task that can be conceived more as a path and not an end. What is valuable and attractive today may not be so tomorrow. For this and many other reasons, Market Research is a permanent investment that brands must not lose sight of in order to remain current. At Acertiva we know this and that is why we put at your disposal our 19 years of experience in Latin America.