This article was originally posted on research-live.com.
There are much better tools and theories to understand people today than there were in the years when focus groups, shopper panels and use and attitude studies were first devised. Big data allows us to capture observational truths as opposed to claims. And psychology has moved on from psychoanalysis and behaviourism, to decision theory and behavioural economics.
This shouldn’t be news to anyone in the research industry. But it’s also true that despite what is discussed in the research journals and blogs, industry insiders definitively lag outsiders in the tech industry when it comes to putting new advances to work. Why is this?
Some, like Dr Benny Cheung, a director at Decision Technology, suggest many don’t understand the limitations of the old approaches and so don’t see the advantages of these emerging techniques.
“As psychologists we know that two key pillars of existing approaches to market research – asking consumers to extrapolate decision making outside of its natural context/environment, and asking them to tell us why they acted in a certain way – are both flawed. Humans simply are very poor at doing these things.”
People can’t explain their behaviour, but there are tests that can accurately measure an individual’s personality in terms of the ‘big five’ traits, which in turn can predict their future behaviour. [Read more…]