Don’t Make Marketing Decisions Based on Psychology Studies

Keep a skeptical mind the next time someone tells you to “do X in marketing because Y-psychology-study proved…”

Why: The social psychology world is currently being rocked by news that a study on honesty conducted by Dan Ariely, a well-known psychologist, was… well… not honest.

What’s going on: The study found that people who signed an honesty declaration at the start of a form were less likely to lie than those who signed it at the end.

It’s a lie: According to a group of outside investigators, the study was “beyond any shadow of a doubt” fabricated. Apparently, the insurance company that took part in the study provided Ariely with false information.

Plus, years after the original study, Dan Ariely and his colleagues did a follow-up and found the difference in dishonest behavior is not the same as in the original study. Which brings us to…

The replicability crisis: Imagine you’re conducting a psychological study.

The same study is then repeated years later, but the results are not the same.

This is known as the replication crisis and it happens more often than you think. For example, one team of researchers tried to replicate 21 popular psychological studies. Only 13 succeeded.

What all this means for you: Test everything. Never change something and then stop because a marketing study said so. And keep tracking your results to see if the change you made is better than the original.

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