Do we enjoy brunch more if we combine foods to create it?

In cafes in Copenhagen, Denmark, customers are often asked to create their own meals by combining foods. I succeeded in this creative task in one cafe but did not in the other. Two cafes have slightly different menus.

 

 

I enjoyed the meal in the Mad & Kaffes (Food & Coffee). Foods were divided into six categories on the menu (green, dairy, bakery, meat and fish, and treat). I decided how many categories to go (3, 5, or 7) and then selected one food in each category.

 

 

I did not enjoy the meal in the Moller Kaffe and Kokken (Moller Coffee and Kitchen). Although individual foods were excellent, they were listed under one category. I could not figure out which foods to choose.

 

Since I knew little about Danish cuisine, categories relieved my burden and helped me create a meal. A similar logic was discovered ten years ago by marketing researchers who showed why kids need to follow instructions to assemble Lego bricks. To reach a creative outcome, we may need decision supporters such as categories, instructions, or even constraints.

 

Dahl, D. W., & Moreau, C. P. (2007). Thinking Inside the Box: Why Consumers Enjoy Constrained Creative Experiences. Journal of Marketing Research, 44(3), 357–369.

From cooking kits to home improvement shows, consumers are increasingly seeking out products that are designed to help them be creative. In this research, the authors examine why consumers participate in creative activities and under what conditions these experiences are the most enjoyable. A qualitative study explores the diverse motivations for undertaking creative tasks and identifies the role of constraints in such endeavors. Then, the authors conduct two experimental studies to understand the importance of constraints (e.g., instructional guidance, target outcomes) in facilitating a balance between perceived competence and autonomy for consumers involved in a creative task. When consumers engage in creative activities with a sense of both autonomy and competence, they enjoy the experience more. The authors discuss implications for managers and provide opportunities for further research.

 

 

Why do people exit the bus at the front door?

At Quora, someone asked “Why do people exit the bus at the front door even when it’s not crowded?” It received seven answers.  

 

  1. Habit. If a bus has two doors it is actually more efficient for passengers to exit by the back door as any new passengers enter through the front door. However, most people use the front door when exiting out of habit, sometimes even walking the full length of the bus to do so.
  2. I do it for two reasons. First: I do it because I may be transferring to another bus. And believe me, getting out the back door vs. the front can make the difference between making your next bus and missing it. It happens sometimes, and i never know which time it will be. Second: I do it so I can thank the driver personally. They have a tough job. Lots of people abuse them. I like to treat them well.
  3. Because it is safer. Using a back door bears the risk that the bus driver won’t see you and could slam the door on you or depart while you are in mid-air. It has happened to me on more than one occasion.
  4. I do so mostly out of habit but also so that I can thank the driver. These women and men sometimes cop abuse that is quite unwarranted in my view. They deserve the same courtesy as everyone else and for getting me to my destination safely and comfortably. 
  5. Maybe they were closer to the front than rear. Maybe they did not feel like walking to the rear. Maybe they were unsure if the rear is crowded. Maybe they were absent-minded and accidentally took the front. Maybe they figured it doesn’t matter. There could be many ‘maybes’, all with their own reasons, only way to be sure is to ask.
  6. Handicapped people find it easier to use the front. The driver can pull closer to the curb and “kneel” the bus to make it easier for cane-users. Wheelchair-users need the ramp in the front of the bus.
  7. If they are sitting right at the front of the bus it is the closest door. It is normal to just exit at the closest door.

 

All the answers were based on the assumption that people should enter the bus at the front door. I used to have the same thought before I went to Prague and Nagasaki where the front door of the bus was designed differently.  

 

 

At these two cities, passengers get off the bus at the front door. In other words, at Prague and Nagasaki, people exit the bus at the front door not because of habit or convenience but because they are educated and trained. Something that was taken for granted to me was not to them.

 

 

 

 

A choice architecture to reuse hotel towels

Banff Aspen Lodge has an interesting environmental incentive program. If guests stay two or more nights and prefer no housekeeping service in this hotel, it offers a choice of options for the guest’s consideration:

 

  • Option 1: The hotel will make a donation of $4 on behalf of guests to the Banff Community Foundation, which supports environmental initiatives in their community. To select this option, guests insert the Green Card into the entry door lock.
  • Option 2: Enjoy one complimentary beverage at the Whitebark Cafe, which is located in the lobby. To select this option, guests insert the Yellow Card into the entry door lock. A complimentary beverage coupon is delivered to the guest’s room. 

 

 

I suspect someone carefully designed a choice architecture with a psychological intervention to nudge guests to choose “No” housekeeping service. This program will be effective because…  

 

 

  1. Three options are provided (housekeeping vs. environmental 1 vs. environmental 2). It differs from the choice architecture commonly observed in the behavioral economics in which two competing options are provided. Having three options may relieve the guests’ burden, which decreases their intentions to defer choices.  
  2. Only two environmental options are highlighted. As guests read and think about “how” to protect environment, the chance they select one of the two environmental options may increase.
  3. Two environmental options reflect the two motivations why people should behave environmentally friendly; helping others (charitable giving) and helping themselves (economic incentive). 
  4. Finally, when guests select one environmental option, they do not speak or write down but simply insert a card into their own entry door lock. This simple behavior has no peer pressure. 

 

 

This environmental incentive program might be more effective than making a commitment at check-in, a scientifically proven intervention in the prior marketing paper. 

Baca-Motes, K., Brown, A., Gneezy, A., Keenan, E. A., & Nelson, L. D. (2012). Commitment and Behavior Change: Evidence from the Field. Journal of Consumer Research, 39(5), 1070–1084.

Influencing behavior change is an ongoing challenge in psychology, economics, and consumer behavior research. Building on previous work on commitment, self-signaling, and the principle of consistency, a large, intensive field experiment (N = 2,416) examined the effect of hotel guests’ commitment to practice environmentally friendly behavior during their stay. Notably, commitment was symbolic—guests were unaware of the experiment and of the fact that their behavior would be monitored, which allowed them to exist in anonymity and behave as they wish. When guests made a brief but specific commitment at check-in, and received a lapel pin to symbolize their commitment, they were over 25% more likely to hang at least one towel for reuse, and this increased the total number of towels hung by over 40%. This research highlights how a small, carefully planned intervention can have a significant impact on behavior. Theoretical and practical implications for motivating desired behavior are discussed.

 

 

Positioning map helps consumers make decisions

Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise is a hotel in Alberta, Canada. Surrounded by mountain peaks and an emerald lake in the Banff National Park, this hotel has a pub for the outdoor enthusiasts coming from all over the world. At the pub, the menu was carefully designed for foreigners by mapping local drinks in two dimensions: how bitter (vs. sweet) and mild (vs. full flavor) beers are and how sweet (vs. sour) and mild (strong) cocktails.

 

 

Visual mapping of existing products in two dimensions has been widely used among marketers who either modify existing products or introduce new products. Marketers rely on, so called, positioning map or perceptual map because map illustrates the customer perception of a company’s products and brands relative to their competition.

 

 

However, as the menu suggests, positioning map could benefit customers as well when provided with unfamiliar products. As persona helps designers communicate with users, map could help novice customers make informed decisions. In other words, positioning map aids consumers’ understanding of their own preferences, like consumption vocabulary.

 

West, P. M., Brown, C. L., & Hoch, S. J. (1996). Consumption Vocabulary and Preference Formation. Journal of Consumer Research, 23(2), 120–135.

Consumers’ understanding of their own preferences can be aided by a “consumption vocabulary”-a taxonomy or framework that facilitates identifying the relation between a product’s features and one’s evaluation of the product. In the absence of such a vocabulary, consumers’ understanding of their own preferences will require more extensive experience and may never fully develop. The effect of such a vocabulary is tested in two experiments in which subjects provided with a vocabulary (1) exhibit better-defined and more consistent preferences than control subjects, (2) show improved cue discovery, and (3) show learning (i.e., increases in consistency over time). All results hold regardless of the functional form of the model used to assess subjects’ preference formation.

 

 

A surprising ride at Legoland

Lighthouse is a ride in Legoland Billund, Denmark. It looks like a small-sized drop tower exclusively designed for kids or even toddlers. I expected young riders would experience free-fall initially, followed by modest deceleration.

 

 

Surprisingly, it is not a drop tower. Instead, riders need to pull the rope until they hit the top. Legoland website explains it.

Children gain insight into themselves when they hoist themselves up by their own strength to the LEGO® Lighthouse Keeper and the spectacular view of Pirate Land and Pirate Island. Climbing down again is also fun – and a little challenging.

 

Many European riders actually enjoyed this labor intensive, manual ride. It is a stack contrast with electronically powered, automatic drop towers in Korea. Their difference seems to be in line with the different train ticket system between UK and Korea. Europeans seem to embrace and enjoy manual labor, whereas Asians tend to avoid it.

 

 

 

 

Language barrier makes virtual reality more real

At Prague, Czech Republic, visitors experienced riding a new tram called T3 Coupe in virtual reality.

The T3 tram is an iconic component of the Prague city scape. In collaboration with Anna Marešová designers, the Prague Public Transit Co. has created a new pleasure tram concept based on the tradition of the Tatra T3 tram, putting this legendary vehicle in an entirely new context while respecting its authentic looks. By opening the rear of the tram and combining original elements with modern technologies, the project has given rise to an old-timer that demonstrates how even public transit can deliver real luxury. Because the tram has only one set of doors, it’s been dubbed the T3 Coupé. This special tram preserves the romance of the 1960s and is a tribute to the designer of the original Tatra T3 tram – František Kardaus (1908–1986). The new T3 Coupé tram hits the streets in autumn 2018.

 

 

They sit on the chairs, wore Samsung Gear VR headset, and watched a 360 degree video as passengers. A driver and other passengers appeared in the video.

 

 

Before having enjoyed the virtual tram, I asked a lady about what is T3 Coupe, where to sit, and how to start the device. Interestingly, this human interaction made my non-real experience more real. It was ironic that I was more immersed into the virtual world because of my experiencing language barrier; she could not explain to me about T3 Coupe in English and I could not understand any Czech written on the ticket.

 

 

Peak end rule is probably one of the most well established psychological heuristic. Kahneman and his colleagues (1993) found that people tend to judge an experience based on how they felt at its peak and at its end. However, people might consider its beginning as well when the experience is virtual. Virtual experience might need to be carefully wrapped up by its beginning, its peak, and its end.

Kahneman, D., Fredrickson, B. L., Schreiber, C. A., & Redelmeier, D. A. (1993). When More Pain Is Preferred to Less: Adding a Better End. Psychological Science, 4(6), 401–405.

Subjects were exposed to two aversive experiences: in the short trial, they immersed one hand in water at 14 °C for 60 s; in the long trial, they immersed the other hand at 14 °C for 60 s, then kept the hand in the water 30 s longer as the temperature of the water was gradually raised to 15 °C, still painful but distinctly less so for most subjects. Subjects were later given a choice of which trial to repeat. A significant majority chose to repeat the long trial, apparently preferring more pain over less. The results add to other evidence suggesting that duration plays a small role in retrospective evaluations of aversive experiences; such evaluations are often dominated by the discomfort at the worst and at the final moments of episodes.

 

 

How does Taipei MRT differ from Copenhagen metro?

Taipei Metro covers more stations than Copenhagen Metro. It covers 117 stations (vs. 22 stations). Like other Asian trains, it has seats designated for the people who are in need. A poster in the train asks us to “stand up for someone in need” in a gentle and polite way, that is, “也許他/她有需要,只是你看不到 (maybe she/he has the need, you just can’t see it).”

 

 

In contrast, Copenhagen trains have fewer folding seats (for bicycles and strollers) and have no seat for those who are in need. Interestingly, I have seen many seats are available because only few travelers sit down rather temporarily. Why do and how could many Danes stand up whereas many Taiwanese sit down in their trains?

 

 

 

A pink litter bin on the London Bridge

River Thames flows through London. People come to the London Bridge to see the Tower Bridge which allows ocean-going ships to pass beneath it.

 

 

Many visitors stopped in front of a pink public litter bin momentarily and threw litter away before crossing the bridge.

 

 

We knew adding human faces or adding controversial messages nudge our prosocial behaviors. Adding votes could be another effective intervention. I believe behavioral economics can play a critical role when public items are designed. Asking people to vote by splitting a litter bin into two sub bins looks more effective than designing a gigantic litter bin like a disposable coffee cup.

 

 

Why are antibiotics over prescribed in some countries?

Antibiotic prescription rate differs across countries. It is two times greater in Korea than in Norway (27.9 vs. 15.8: Defined Daily Doses (DDDs) per 1000 people per day, 2015 OECD report). Why are antibiotics over prescribed in Korea?

 

 

 

 

One reason might be that it is difficult to find traditional medicines in Korean market. In contrast, Norwegians can buy a FLU SHOT at convenience stores. It is a bitter version of Jamba Juice. It is filled with traditional medicines such as ginger, turmeric, garlic, and cayenne pepper.

 

 

If I can buy the same FLU SHOT in Korea, I may not need to see doctors often. My thought provides fresh insights into behavioral economists. In the past, how to nudge doctors not to prescribe antibiotics was studied. Now, how to nudge patients not to see doctors may need to be studied.

 

 

Meeker, Daniella, Jeffrey A. Linder, Craig R. Fox, Mark W. Friedberg, Stephen D. Persell, Noah J. Goldstein, Tara K. Knight, Joel W. Hay, Jason N. Doctor (2016), “Effect of Behavioral Interventions on Inappropriate Antibiotic Prescribing Among Primary Care Practices: A Randomized Clinical Trial,” Journal of the American Medical Association, 315 (6), 562-570.

IMPORTANCE: Interventions based on behavioral science might reduce inappropriate antibiotic prescribing.

OBJECTIVE: To assess effects of behavioral interventions and rates of inappropriate (not guideline-concordant) antibiotic prescribing during ambulatory visits for acute respiratory tract infections.

DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS: Cluster randomized clinical trial conducted among 47 primary care practices in Boston and Los Angeles. Participants were 248 enrolled clinicians randomized to receive 0, 1, 2, or 3 interventions for 18 months. All clinicians received education on antibiotic prescribing guidelines on enrollment. Interventions began between November 1, 2011, and October 1, 2012. Follow-up for the latest-starting sites ended on April 1, 2014. Adult patients with comorbidities and concomitant infections were excluded.

INTERVENTIONS: Three behavioral interventions, implemented alone or in combination: suggested alternatives presented electronic order sets suggesting nonantibiotic treatments; accountable justification prompted clinicians to enter free-text justifications for prescribing antibiotics into patients’ electronic health records; peer comparison sent emails to clinicians that compared their antibiotic prescribing rates with those of “top performers” (those with the lowest inappropriate prescribing rates).

MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES: Antibiotic prescribing rates for visits with antibiotic-inappropriate diagnoses (nonspecific upper respiratory tract infections, acute bronchitis, and influenza) from 18 months preintervention to 18 months afterward, adjusting each intervention’s effects for co-occurring interventions and preintervention trends, with random effects for practices and clinicians.

RESULTS: There were 14,753 visits (mean patient age, 47 years; 69% women) for antibiotic-inappropriate acute respiratory tract infections during the baseline period and 16,959 visits (mean patient age, 48 years; 67% women) during the intervention period. Mean antibiotic prescribing rates decreased from 24.1% at intervention start to 13.1% at intervention month 18 (absolute difference, -11.0%) for control practices; from 22.1% to 6.1% (absolute difference, -16.0%) for suggested alternatives (difference in differences, -5.0% [95% CI, -7.8% to 0.1%]; P = .66 for differences in trajectories); from 23.2% to 5.2% (absolute difference, -18.1%) for accountable justification (difference in differences, -7.0% [95% CI, -9.1% to -2.9%]; P < .001); and from 19.9% to 3.7% (absolute difference, -16.3%) for peer comparison (difference in differences, -5.2% [95% CI, -6.9% to -1.6%]; P < .001). There were no statistically significant interactions (neither synergy nor interference) between interventions.

CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: Among primary care practices, the use of accountable justification and peer comparison as behavioral interventions resulted in lower rates of inappropriate antibiotic prescribing for acute respiratory tract infections.

 

 

Jaewoo Joo | design thinking, behavioral economics, new product development, new product adoption