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Behavioral Economics and Our Brain’s Predisposition Towards the Negative

Colin P Ho, Ph.D., Ipsos Marketing Sciences, in Ipsos, 04/2014

Traditional economic theory posits that people are rational and seek to maximize benefits when making choices.

We implicitly buy into this view when we do research that includes only benefits that people seek. More specifically, we address most business questions using only positively worded attributes (e.g., is a brand I trust, cleans dirt well, provides excellent customer service) and often do not measure the negative (e.g., I do not trust this brand, does not clean dirt well). This is the case in brand equity studies, concept testing, product testing, shopper studies, etc.