Decisions…decisions…decisions Week 3 review.

“A decision is a determination arrived at after consideration”. (

I’m not sure if this is down to my Libran star sign or something else but I’ve always thought of myself as indecisive so this week’s CXL module about decision making and emotions was of great interest.  One of the most important aspects of buying is decision making and whether our heart or head is ruling our decision making.

CXL’s module and research states that there are 4 options which influence decision making and these are:

  • Cognitive Biases, which relate to the decisions people make based on their way of thinking.
  • Memories and how these can have an impact on decision making.  People will decide to do something again based on past good experiences and will avoid repeating past mistakes.
  • Reasoning, where people will make decisions based on testing and using the best information that is readily available and
  • Emotions, which is one of the areas I’m most interested in with regard to copywriting. 

People can make decisions on the basis of goals and their wishes and also their pain points.  A fantastic example was giving in “Influence, The Psychology of Persuasion” by Robert P. Cialdini where he spoke about how he and a logistician colleague went to a Transcendental Meditation seminar and were able to use logic to explain where the meditation might not work but people still wanted to pay a lot of money to pay for it.  An example closer to home was when I was part of a Network Marketing outfit which had very convincing tactics to encourage people to buy yet they were dishonest and lacking in the information that people needed to truly make a decision.

<a href="http://Image by <a href="">Arek Socha</a> from <a href="">PixabayImage by Arek Socha from Pixabay 

In Cindy Dietrich’s article – Decision Making: Factors that Influence Decision Making, Heuristics Used, and Decision Outcomes.  She discusses the elements that are involved in decision making, which are also mentioned above.  Heuristics come into play when someone takes into account all the factors and then uses the most straight forward elements to make a decision and this also becomes easier over time as people reduce the effort involved that is required to make a decision. The full version of the article was placed as a link on the CXL website. I definitely agree with this because as I’ve said above, I’d describe myself as indecisive yet with time and experience I have found it easier to make decisions as I’ve gotten older.  Even recently I’ve had to make some tough personal decisions, which I’ve been able to use my gut instinct for.

One of the things that I love about getting older is my experience with regard to making decisions and being able to rely on my gut instinct as well as knowing from past experience whether a decision is a good or bad one to make.  Julisson, Karlsson and Gärling studied this as part of their article “Weighing the past and the future in decision making”, which was provided as another link from the CXL intro, 4 Factors that Influence Decision Making.  Something that interests me but wasn’t mentioned here is our personality with regards to decision making.  If you have ever taken an MBTI test, as part of the results you would be classed as relying on your senses or your intuition when you’re making a decision.  This is quite similar to the Left for intuition and right brain for senses, which is what Schutz discussed in his studies.

In persuasive journey mapping we look at the sequence of events that lead to a decision.  The course includes a high-level presentation by the Psychologist and instructor for this CXL module, Bart Schutz, which looks at what it takes to get from A to B with making a decision.  He discussed what he referred to as the Behavioural Intelligence Gap and what the drivers of customer’s behaviour are.  This process also looks at the cognitive function that contribute towards brain function.

The customer could be considered to have a dual functioning brain, which is more commonly thought of as the left and right hemisphere.  The left or process 1 refers to the subconscious or emotional processes and the right hemisphere or process 2 are the conscious rational processes.

When we look at this in terms of testing, we can refer to it as A/B testing.

Schutz in his presentation also referred to the Stroop test, which was pretty much the first test I carried out with the other students in my classes for my A level in Psychology and then again at Uni.  It looks at the error load when people read the name of a colour in the same colour or a different one.  The first example is when we see the colour black and it is also in the colour black though if we see the same word black in a blue colour there is likely to be more confusion in deciding the name of the colour.  I remember the groups were split into two where one had to read the word regardless of the colour and the other group had to name the colour regardless of the word. A placebo group in this case might have to read the strips of colours, which appear like flashcards and these would always have the same colour as the word so you have black, blue, yellow and red.

Interestingly enough this also applies in website testing where users claim, using the rational side of their brain, that they don’t like pop up windows.  Yet it has been shown that they will buy in response to seeing a pop-up window.  One of the explanations given for this is because it looks as though someone is putting more work into the creation of the pop-up window.

Karsten Lund, similarly spoke about the point of decision making and shared that as part of his testing he noticed that there was a 25%-win rate. In an effort to increase this level he looked at joining a neuro marketing start-up and made a study alongside some of the largest corporations in America.

Each one of us makes 1,000s of decisions over the course of a day though we have gotten so used to making decisions that they are made in a split second and it’s only with the beauty of hindsight that we can say why we made the decision that we made.

Next week I’ll be sharing with you, information about learning and memory in the fourth module of the CXL Psychology of Persuasion course.

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