Sunday, February 24, 2008

What kind of wine would birds prefer? The impact of volume on preference.

This graph, showing the accuracy with which birds noted differences in quantities, is described in Jacky Emmerton's article: Birds’ Judgments of Number and Quantity, which can be found here:

Link to article

The article covers several studies, which consistently show that birds consistently perceive differences in numerosity, with their ability to discern improving as the differences between two amounts is proportionally differnet. It also relates the extra effort needed to train birds to select lower quantities when shown a pair of values (volumes), as they appear to be drawn more to the larger one.

This ability has also been found in other animal species, and is increasingly believed to have deep evolutionary roots.

As consumers select products, how does this deeply ingrained tendency to compare numerical values -- both symbolically and spatially (in size or volume) -- impact purchase preference?

It would seem a great deal:

A Wine's High Price Adds to Its Pleasure, Study Finds

Mclatchy-Tribune News Service. - February 24, 2008
Article is here

The article reviews several recent blind tastse tests, where the presence of higher prices biased consumers' stated taste preferences. It would seem the higher prices (numbers), stimulated their sense of status or acquisition, and their subsequent report of preference.

Understanding this innate tendency for consumers to overstate demand for higher price or greater volume product, how should we structure research events to account for the counter impact of Prospect Theory (see prior blog entry), and produce accurate forecasts of real life sales?

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