I went shopping a few days ago, and even in the middle of a recession caused mainly by lending to people who have no money, this phrase is everywhere:
BUY IT NOW, PAY IN A YEAR
I don’t go for these things. In fact, I only ever bought something (apart from a car) on credit once, purely because they offered ‘interest free credit’ and refused to give me a discount for paying cash, which I found insulting… Anyway…
Why do these things work? Are people really that stupid to fall for it? Actually yes, and they aren’t stupid, they are emotional, or passionate, and they can’t help it.
I’ve been reading more pop neuroscience books, and reading about the difference between the amygdala and the pre-frontal cortex. Basically the amygdala does the emotional stuff, the PFC does the analytical bit. The amygdala is seeing “BUY NOW” or more importantly “NOW” and the PFC is seeing “pay later…“.
Why does this work? Because the response from the amigdyla is faster, and often (for most people) louder. It’s especially true for the young, when the PFC is still developing. Thats partly why they can be more impulsive and reckless, and why kids can’t resist taking sweets even when they understand they will get more sweets later if they resist the urge for 5 minutes (Someone tested that, and found it a phenomenally good indicator of future financial success).
It’s all down to evolution, the amygdala gets first dibs on our attention because it does the rapid pattern-matching stuff such as “IT’S A SNAKE!!!!” rather than the cool analytical “it’s a stick” that takes longer. The amygdala takes care of time sensitive vital emotional stuff like fear, hunger, lust etc. It’s the bit that makes negative scary political TV ads work, and it’s also why BUY NOW PAY LATER works.
Our brains have evolved in creatures concerned for short term survival. Its way more important to eat when we find food than it is to worry about being overweight, hence we have huge trouble dieting. The same is true of all problems with long term planning. You conciously want to work on your indie game, but your amigdyla just wants you to eat, sleep and have sex. It’s a tug of war!
I’ve read that the stroop test is an indication of how your amygdala beats your PFC, but although it’s fun i’m not convinced. Thats just two different types of pattern matching going on surely?
However, I’m sure there is some truth to the thing that we are hard wired for irrational short term passionate thinking. that’s why some we are rubbish at saving, dieting, healthy eating, or basically doing anything that fights our emotions. we are a long way off becoming vulcans :D
If you are thinking how does this make me sell more games, it’s all about how and why people make purchasing decisions.
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