Posts in Cognitive Bias

Discover how the bystander effect influences online engagement

What is the bystander effect? 

Good question. 

In simple English, the bystander effect means that in times of distress or when the time comes when”someone” needs to take action, if there are a lot of people present, everyone will assume “someone” else will take action, and no one will take that “action”.

People would think, 

“Someone is taking care of it, so I don’t really have to do anything about it.”

Read More

Learn how modeling can influence behavior

One of the key principles of persuasion is being liked. If people like you, they would be more likely to be influenced by your behavior. If they like anyone, they would be influenced by what they do. 

Robert Cialdini had a whole section in his book, Influence just about liking. 

… which brings me to talk about ‘modeling’ as a tool to influence behavior.

Read More

To persuade, ask, don’t tell

To persuade” could be one of the hardest things you can come across. I have been there. Multiple times. Every single day if you ask me.

Having a sound and logical arguments may work with some people, especially engineers and programmers, but at the end of the day, we are human. Humans are emotional, and whether you can do a good job hiding it or not, your emotions have an unneglectable impact on your decisions.

I have mentioned before the “endowment effect”. It’s such a powerful cognitive bias, and because it’s so powerful, you can use it in multiple ways.

The endowment effect basically says,
“We place greater value on items because we own them.” – Adam Ferrier, The Advertising Effect: How to Change Behaviour

Previously, I have demonstrated how you can use the best of the endowment effect before consumers buy your product so that they feel they own it, value it even more, then take out their credit cards.


What if all you want is to persuade someone to buy into your idea?

Read More

Are you an impulsive shopper? Wash your hands

Anyone one of us could be an impulsive shopper. 

You could be having a bad day. Then find yourself at the mall, doing some retail therapy, and buying tons of things you don’t need. Perhaps even buy one item; however, that one item is so damn expensive. 

You are always one moment away from making yet another impulsive shopper decision. 
One of the key factors that influences you, as a consumer, to buy is the endowment effect. 

The endowment effect basically says, “We place greater value on items because we own them.”
Adam Ferrier, The Advertising Effect: How to Change Behaviour

Read More

What the IKEA effect can teach us about employee engagement

The IKEA effect?

What is that all about?

In some countries, or particularly in the west, IKEA is known as one of the cheapest options to buy furniture. This is not the case in the Middle East though.

And even though it’s known as one of the cheapest places to buy furniture, once you actually buy that piece of furniture, it’s very hard to let go of it.

It’s very hard to let go. You want to take it with you whenever and wherever you move. From one apartment to the next, you pack it and unpack it.

You do that because you have fallen for that IKEA piece of furniture. You have fallen for it even if it was so simple, even if it was so basic, even if all your friends have the same exact one, but perhaps in a different color.

You have fallen for it because IKEA made the best of what is called the “endowment effect”.

Read More

4 Words that will bring your sales to the next level

Some words trigger you — they excite you to the extent that you want to spend, right now, eagerly, whatever is in your pocket, or your credit card.

In his book, Brainfluence, Roger Dooley, mentions the magical power of some words on our brain. I could also say I recently discovered one word that works like magic. Read on to find out.

Read More

How Bath & Body Works screwed up their pricing

Women love Bath & Body works. 

Whenever I visit one of my friends who also happen to be a girl, I find Bath and Body works soup, lotions, candles, body mist, etc. all over the place. Men, on the other hand, like Dettol for some reason. They want to be germ-free I guess. Us, women, we want to experience that sweet scent, the tenderness that comes with it and the relaxation that gets diffused when lighting a strongly scented smell at the end of a long day.

Don’t get me wrong. I am in love with their products too. 

Just pass by the mall and you will find women buying tons of Bath & Body works products. I am one of them. 
I was extremely delighted when they started selling those products online. 
Do you know what I loved the most about the online shop? 

I knew I could buy tons and tons of products and I wouldn’t have to carry them around in the mall. I mean, if you buy candles, lotions, etc., they things really carry some weight. I like to think of my self as strong, but let’s just keep it to mentally strong.

The downside of online shopping though is that I won’t be able to smell every single scent and decide what to buy. Still, the good news is… I already know what I love. 

There is no doubt, most women love Bath & Body works… But, but, where is the but?

Read More

What happened when I learned my blog was featured in the top 100 Dubai blogs?

My blog was recently featured in the “Top 100 Dubai blogs” list by feedspot. When I first learned about it, I was very excited since my blog is quite new. It went live on May 2019 so that’s just a few months ago.

I was thrilled and so I started sharing this news with others.

– First, I was working late at the office, so I told my colleague who I barely knew.
– Then, I told my close friends on WhatsApp.
– Then I shared it on my blog’s social accounts pages.
– The next day I was having a conversation with my partner at work and so I shared the news with her.
– She then shared the news with the workgroup on Whatsapp.
– After that, people at work started telling other people.
– And then the next day, I shared it again on my personal social accounts pages.
– Then my friend shared it on her facebook page.

In this process, not only did I share the news, but others, both close and not too close to me started sharing the news — offline and online. Ironically it was shared more offline than online. Not surprising to me though, I know why, thanks to Jonah Berger.

“Research by the Keller Fay Group finds that only 7 percent of word of mouth happens online.” — Jonah Berger

I started wondering, what in this news made me and others have the urge to share it with others… I mean from a consumer behavior perspective.

Read More

The reason I bought ice-cream, chocolate, and honey I didn’t want

Just to be clear, I love ice-cream, chocolate and honey. 

– Ice-cream makes a good day beautiful
– Chocolate is practically an addiction to me
– … And I use honey either for my avocado smoothie or my morning oatmeal

That doesn’t negate the fact that I have bought those items when I didn’t need them at the time.
Sometimes it’s just about maintaining a healthy diet and staying slim. 

In an earlier blog post when I started the #savingmode journey, I spoke about how I bought ice-cream even though I didn’t want to. Well, I wanted the red-velvet ice-cream, but it wasn’t there. I just bought ice-cream because I was given so many samples to try. It wasn’t a calorie justified decision. 

I didn’t know why though I bought the ice-cream anyway.

But now I do.

I also didn’t know why I bought the peanut milk chocolate at the supermarket, even though I promised myself to only get dark chocolate to stay, well, “healthy”. 

I didn’t know why did I buy two jars of honey while I was on a tour in Georgia. I mean I am not having any home-made breakfast while I am on vacation.

Why did I make those purchases even though at the time I didn’t really want to? 

I just found out.

Read More

This is how we get tricked into buying expensive “stuff”

The principle that Sharon used in her letter with her parents is called “human perception, the contrast principle”, where the order of how things are presented to us affects our perception on the way we see things and the difference between them. 


You hold a glass of water at room temperature after holding a hot glass, you will perceive it colder than it actually is. 

You hold a glass of water at room temperature after holding a cold glass, you will perceive it hotter than it actually is.

It basically explains every time we got intrigued to buy products/ services just because they say it has been reduced from AED 1,299 to AED 899. We think we got a good deal because we have “saved” so much money in this deal. Our brain has set the baseline for the produce as AED 1,299, the higher price, and so we place a high value on the product. When we see AED 899, we immediately think we just saved AED 400. In reality, though, we actually just spent AED 899. Whether or not we had this budgeted for our purchase is not the primary influencer in making us think it’s a good deal… or making us buy the product. 

Perhaps your budget was only AED 700. You would be thinking, “Technically speaking, that “great” deal is AED 199 more than my budget, but then again I just saved AED 400.” 

In this scenario, you didn’t save AED400. You just spent AED 199 more than my budget. 

Our thinking process deceives us into thinking it’s a good deal. 

Ok, maybe I could be confusing you here… so to set the ground clear, let’s answer this question:

How do marketers trick us into buying expensive products?

Read More