The Halo Effect

Psychology: The Halo Effect – How our Decisions can be Influenced by Radiant Beauty (part 1)
Nov 17, 2015

The Halo Effect – Science of Attraction
Nov 4, 2010

Low-Sodium Food Labels Woo, And Confuse, Consumers
April 16, 2013

…any claim about sodium, preventing disease or lowering blood pressure made the product more appealing.

When asked about a variety of health issues, including losing weight, constipation, and diabetes, participants in the survey said that lower-sodium products would prevent all of them.
Alas, reducing sodium helps only to reduce blood pressure.

“What we saw there was a halo effect [with the low-sodium claim],” says Christina Wong, a graduate student and lead author of the study, which was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
“They see a whole range of health benefits that are totally unrelated to the nutrient.”

A sneeze can remind us to wash our hands and schedule our inoculations—probably more effectively than a lecture.


Most middle schoolers can’t tell native ads from articles

Students Have ‘Dismaying’ Inability To Tell Fake News From Real, Study Finds
November 23, 2016

“Many assume that because young people are fluent in social media they are equally savvy about what they find there,” the researchers wrote. “Our work shows the opposite.”

Most students could identify the traditional ad, but more than 80 percent of them believed that the “sponsored content” article was a real news story.

…young people tended to credulously accept information as presented even without supporting evidence or citations.

Emotional advertising

Five Highly Emotional Ads That Went Viral In 2015
December 17, 2015

Sad Men: How Advertisers Are Selling With Emotion
May 31, 2014
The three minute long film starts with a young boy being caught stealing medicine for his sick mother before a nearby stallholder pays for the pills and asks his young daughter to give the boy a bag of vegetable soup.
Skipping forward 30 years, the advert shows the stallholder falling ill at work, and his daughter being forced to sell their home to pay the £15,500 medical bill.


The 1925 edition of In Our Time, by Ernest Hemingway. Back when he was virtually unknown by readers, Hemingway turned to blurbs, too — getting endorsements from the likes of Sherwood Anderson and Ford Madox Ford.

Forget The Book, Have You Read This Irresistible Story On Blurbs?
September 27, 2015

Whatever the old adage might warn, there is a bit of merit to judging a book by its cover — if only in one respect. Consider the blurb, one of the most pervasive, longest-running — and, at times, controversial — tools in the publishing industry.

Ad Blocking Use On The Rise

With Ad Blocking Use On The Rise, What Happens To Online Publishers?
July 20, 2015

Millions of Web surfers already download software to block ads online, and that number is growing. Soon, Apple could be making mobile ad blocking easier.

When we tested out the popular ad blocker, Adblock Plus, YouTube videos started without a commercial first, and on newspaper websites, the ads disappeared.

Marketing modulates pleasantness (2008)

Marketing actions can modulate neural representations of experienced pleasantness
PNAS, January 22, 2008, 105(3): 1050-1054
Hilke Plassmann, et al.

Despite the importance and pervasiveness of marketing, almost nothing is known about the neural mechanisms through which it affects decisions made by individuals.
We propose that marketing actions, such as changes in the price of a product, can affect neural representations of experienced pleasantness.

We tested this hypothesis by scanning human subjects using functional MRI while they tasted wines that, contrary to reality, they believed to be different and sold at different prices.

Our results show that increasing the price of a wine increases subjective reports of flavor pleasantness as well as blood-oxygen-level-dependent activity in medial orbitofrontal cortex, an area that is widely thought to encode for experienced pleasantness during experiential tasks.
The paper provides evidence for the ability of marketing actions to modulate neural correlates of experienced pleasantness and for the mechanisms through which the effect operates.

Keywords: orbitofrontal cortex, modulation by marketing actions, neuroeconomics, taste

cited by:


Conditioning people to respond to …

BuzzFeed Quizzes: What Data Set Do You Belong To?
March 01, 2014

What could all this online data mean for advertisers? We turn now to Kate Kay, a reporter for Advertising Age

SIMON: They just haven’t figured out how to use it yet?

KAYE: Oh no, they know what they’re going to do.
They wouldn’t have those questions written the way they are if they weren’t eventually going to compile that information and use it to inform where their ads should go and who should see their ads.
That is ultimately what they’re going to be doing with it.
And they’re – and right now, as far as I can tell, they’re sort of conditioning people to respond to these certain types of questions, so like when they do start compiling the data that way, it’ll just be like oh yeah, this is the way the quizzes are.
And then down the road adding a what kind of vacation do you like to take?