Richard Shotton: The Choice Factory

Rory Sutherland says that The Choice Factory is a Haynes manual for behavioural science.

And he’s not wrong.

Richard Shotton’s book is simply structured with 25 short chapters, each explaining a behavioural bias, the academic research behind it and its application to advertising. Shotton, as always, manages to be endlessly interesting and endlessly practical.

Recommended reading for anyone who finds themselves drawn to behaviour science.

Buy your copy here.

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The pratfall effect

Richard Shotton writing on Mumbrella:

The power of flaws was first discovered in 1966 by Harvard University psychologist Elliot Aronson. In his experiment Aronson recorded an actor answering a series of quiz questions. In one strand of the experiment, the actor – armed with the right responses – answers 92% of the questions correctly. After the quiz, the actor then pretends to spill a cup of coffee over himself (a small blunder, or pratfall).

The recording was played to a large sample of students, who were then asked how likeable the contestant was. However, Aronson split the students into cells and played them different versions: one with the spillage included and one without. The students found the clumsy contestant more likeable.

Aronson called this insight the pratfall effect.