“If economics is not behavioral, I don’t know what is it about”- Charlie Mangar said.
Are we more of the same as people- do we behave the same?
- We are more similar than unique
- We have very unique characters
As humans, are we more similar than we are different? I have kept thinking about this statement for some time now. I grew up thinking we are all the same, that’s why I always wondered about why some people react or behave differently when put in situations that if I was in I wouldn’t be doing the same. Judgemental right? Little that I knew!
When I begin to understand marketing and what moves people to do a certain activity in commerce, I kept hearing or reading about how we are the same that most people think.
Which one is it? And I am talking about behavior, not the color of the eye or the type of hair.
Behavior Under Conditioning
Another question popped up in my mind, if we were to be conditioned in any way, would we behave the same. Then, I thought about classroom conditioning. No matter where we come from or who are our parents, and the different characters we possess as kids, we stay in obedience on one chair and listen to the lecturer or the teacher the whole day. Perhaps when mass conditioning happens with a set of rules implemented and the violation of these rules condemned by punishment, the majority of behavior takes over and zeros the uniqueness of one character.
Mass Psychology (or so-called crowd psychology)
This could be illustrated and seen when a demonstration or protest is on the rise. A lot of these protesters would repeat the same thing without any political conviction or understanding the truth. It becomes like one cloud brain that directs them blindly (Crowd psychology).
Response to Mass Psychology
On the other hand, how these students or protesters react seems different. For example, a student might seem listening and following the teacher by staring at the whiteboard, while in reality he or she is zoned out. Some student seems to react positively and interested in the scientific topics while others are bored out of their minds. Some find it easy to understand analytical subjects while others enjoy literature.
Complexity but Needed
Although conditioning complicates finding clarity in the behavior of oneself. Are we the same or different? However, the conditioning part became essentially important because I am merely thinking about the behavior of the consumer most of my time as a marketer, and while we don’t sit in a class our entire life, we have mobile phones that we carry everywhere. These devices are the conditioning tools that carry the rules and principles that make us behave in a certain way.
In the Tech era
These devices are much more sophisticated than the classroom and well thought off. Marketers have figured that using psychological triggers will help them retain users and persuade minds to sell them things. Not to mention the level of ethical values, however, it’s not our topic here.
In the last decade and even further back, many books have come up highlighting the importance of understanding human psychology to market and brand your product well.
Some of the examples of these books that considered the best references to teach marketing:
(notice they have psychology word pertained in them).
- Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion – by Robert B. Cialdini, PhD
In this book the author talks about six elements of influence:
- Social proof
- Predictably Irrational – Dan Ariely – Dan is a professor of psychology and behavioral economics.
The author talks about how most of our behavior is misguided, but they are not random, they are systematic and predictable. The author concludes how can we realize these patterns to avoid mistakes and make better decisions.
- Contagious: Why Things Catch On – Jonah Berger – Jonah is a professor of marketing
In this book Jonah talks about several factors that influence a product or idea to go viral;
- Social value – make people feel good about themselves socially
- Emotional vibrancy – making people care enough that they want to share
- Observe and imitate the behavior of peers
- Memorable information to recall in an everyday context.
- Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products – Nir Ayal
Ayal cited why certain behavior repeats and forms habits
- Motivation: motivation must be strong.
- Ability: the user must find very easy to do.
- Trigger: any of the psychological triggers.
Triggers were beautifully summarized in another book by Joe Sugarman. The book is called Triggers: 30 Sales Tools You Can Use to Control The Mind of Your Prospect to motivate, influence, and persuade. These triggers are:
- Trigger 1: Consistency
- Trigger 2: Product Nature
- Trigger 3: Prospect Nature
- Trigger 4: Objection Raising
- Trigger 5: Objection Resolution
- Trigger 6: Involvement and Ownership
- Trigger 7: Integrity
- Trigger 8: Storytelling
- Trigger 9: Authority
- Trigger 10: Proof of Value
- Trigger 11: Emotion
- Trigger 12: Justify with Logic
- Trigger 13: Greed
- Trigger 14: Credibility
- Trigger 15: Satisfaction Conviction
- Trigger 16: Linking
- Trigger 17: Desire to Belong
- Trigger 18: Desire to Collect
- Trigger 19: Sense of Urgency
- Trigger 20. Exclusivity
- Trigger 21. Simplicity
- Trigger 22: Guilt
- Trigger 23: Specificity
- Trigger 24: Familiarity
- Trigger 25: Patterning
- Trigger 26: Hope
- Trigger 27: Curiosity
- Trigger 28: Harmonize
- Trigger 29: Mental Engagement
- Trigger 30: Honesty
You probably have to look up these triggers and find out what they actually mean. Perhaps the best way is just to go to the book and read or listen to it.
Notice all these above books talks and elaborates the power of understanding the psychology of the human. Most of them suggest that humans are predictable.
Genetically – Biological Perspective
“On the genetic level, it’s said that we are identical 99.9% of the time. Only 0.1% makes us unique. At first, 0.1% seemed to be very insignificant. But when to consider that the human DNA is made up of 3 billion base pairs – this means 0.1% is equal to 3 million base pairs.” – Quartz
In this 0.1% difference, you can find changes that increase your risk of heart attack, or diabetes, etc.
What’s more surprising, is that the 0.1% difference in everyone’s DNA sequence is not the exact same sequence that is different in the other person. Otherwise, it would have been so easy to cure diseases like cancer. At the same, we can predict diseases like diabetes, or heart issues.
The problem with diseases like cancer is that it needs personalized treatment to be created for that patient. But commercially we only value mass production that suits all medication. If we were all the same, mass-produced medicine would have cured all patients.
Perhaps, encouraging behavior seems less complex with the use of triggers as we stated above the mass conditioning in a classroom, but the outcome of that behavior clearly distinguished.
You could encourage someone to do something just by the fact people observe and imitate their peers. This is one strategy. But what have moved and motivated your peers might not have worked on you. A lot of apps use many of these techniques to influence a good number of people and those influence their friends and their friends influence others … and the app becomes more common and somehow develops a good network effect that if you don’t have the app, you are forced to do so. Simply because everybody is on it.
A personal example, I have been using Whatsapp for as long as I can remember, but when I found out about telegram, the encryption feature back then was convincing enough to shift, but then found it hard to get everybody I know on board.
Not Easy to Say
It’s still not easy to say we are more of the same, even though the evidence shows only 0.1% makes us unique. This is because it’s not clear which 0.1% of our human genome differs from the others.
“One group of scientists looking at 10,000 people found variants at 146 million unique positions or about 4.8% of the genome. Another group collected the DNA from 15,000 people and found 254 million variants, roughly 8% of the genome. And as we continue to sequence 100,000, 100 million, or all seven billion people on the planet, we will find a lot more variation. This means that humans have many more differences than we first thought.” – Quartz
It is clear to me now that there many things that aren’t discovered in the personal genomics, what could have been static, it could turn out not as we thought.
As a marketer, the behavior of an individual is visible, and there are many studies that show how people respond to certain activities and many books were written on the subject. We get enough people motivated and simplified process, and with enough triggers as the author of Hooked stated in his book, you get things working for you.
Perhaps ACCESS is a vital point to influence a HUGE amount of people. The internet made it possible.
In the coming years, we will witness the outcome of this mass behavioral patterns that are created by the internet if not already been witnessed.
To Warp up
We behave the same when psychological triggers applied
We behave the same when everyone around us does that thing.
We absorb and internalize our surroundings different
We produce speech or arguments differently
We perform differently
We have a different perspective of the world_ this is more localized, you see what people around you see. Well, this also depends on your habits. Do you live on the opinion of the others, or absorb as much information and get isolated to individualize your thinking and draw a perspective that’s more convincing to you.
We have a set of skills that comes naturally to each of us. People call them gifts or this person is gifted.
We react differently to certain instances.
Not to mention all the influences that were pushed on us, because of environment, culture, place. We carry a lot of biases that direct our model of thinking. Additionally, the internet or social media channels have nurtured and cultivated many biases to be spread like a virus. You see the world one way, tomorrow is another image.
By creating equal opportunities, not necessarily results in an equal outcome. This statement often presented when talking about gender equality but it’s also true on the behavioral level.
Accessibility and exposure to many things online might zeros all the biases, and it could purely generate distinctive individuals that are very unique and specific, although the majority will be carried by the wave of noise as it has been since the start of time.
We are mostly the same, yet we are not! I could only say that comfortably.