A dictionary of cognitive biases, behavioural effects and neuromarketing terms
Cognitive Biases and Psychological Effects
What is the difference between social proof and social cognition? How does implicit egotism increase sales, and why does reactance reduce them?
Since the publication of books like Tversky and Kahneman’s Judgement Under Uncertainty or Richard Thaler’s Nudge, marketers have begun to pay more attention to psychology and the science of communication. This has introduced a whole new lexicon of specialist terms.
A tendency to avoid options with unknown results, even when these are the best choices available.
The way a person’s limited cognitive resources are divided between a certain number of distractions.
A tendency to focus on certain limited factors when making a decision, ignoring other information.
A socialised reaction to authority figures, compelling individuals to respond appropriately.
A need to make choices and implement them freely.
When ideas that are familiar and easy to access are mistakenly considered more likely or important.
The fluency with which an individual processes information.
Curse of Knowledge
An effect that prevents those with knowledge from communicating to those without it.
Mental tiredness caused by a sustained period of decision making.
Fear of Missing Out (FOMO)
Anxiety at the thought of missing opportunities.
An efficient technique to convince people to do something by asking for something small first.
Using lines of sight to direct viewers’ attention.
Goal Gradient Effect
The tendency to increase the effort applied to a task as it nears completion.
A belief that more information will lead to better decisions, even if the extra information is irrelevant.
Motivation (Extrinsic and Intrinsic)
Two types of motivation, respectively based on internal and external factors.
The way in which a positive reaction can be induced simply from familiarity with something.
The fact that uncertain rewards can increase motivation.
Need for Certainty
A need to feel more in control of the surrounding world by correctly predicting future events.
Pain of Paying
The discomfort caused by spending money. It can negatively affect how people feel about a product they have purchased.
Picture Superiority Effect
The fact that the human brain remembers better visual information than written one.
The ease and speed at which information is organised and assimilated.
A negative response triggered when one feels that their freedom of choice is threatened.
Adjusting one’s behaviour according to the level of risk perceived, rather than the actual risk encountered.
A tendency to place a higher value on a scarce product than on an abundant one.
The attraction one feels toward people, places and objects that are similar to oneself.
The influence of group consensus or majority opinion on personal choices.
Status Quo Bias
A general preference for maintaining habits or ways of thinking.
Sunk Cost Effect
Continuing to invest money, time or effort in a doomed project due to the amount already invested.
The fact that visual cues, such as arrows, help the human brain to focus on specific elements.
Visual Depiction Effect
Encouraging a potential customer to imagine using a product increases their desire to buy it.
Von Restorff Effect
A tendency to remember things that stand out and are unusual.
A tendency to remember incomplete tasks more than completed ones.