All entries for Monday 06 October 2008

October 06, 2008

People are split 50/50 in how we decide similarity. Half feature based & half thematic.

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Reseach by Dr Zachary Estes of our Psychology department has split all of us down the middle on our perception of similarity. Half link thematically; crown and Queen and half by feature, crown and hat.

Initially the proportions were 46% thematic and 31% feature based.

Further experiments indeed showed that there was a group of people who rushed into a decision and tended to chose a theme based similarity and that there was a second group of people that thought about things a little more chose a physical feature based similarity. However what was most surprising was that the Warwick researchers found a third group of people that also thought about things a little more and yet still always chose a theme based similarity. That left an overall split in the population of around 50% who were more thoughtful and chose a physical feature based similarity (such as net and rope) and another 50% for who always went for the thematic option (net and fish) whether they used instinct or deeper thought.

The press release presents this as a discovery that can double the opportunities for pay-per-click Adwords marketing for cake – cookie or biscuit and cake – birthday. Actually split-testing Adwords professionals have discovered these two ways of association a long time ago. This peer-reviewed research will help inform search advertisers however. It confirms not ony that we are split 50/50 but that there are 3 groups when you record their instinctive and thoughtful responses.

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