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Implicit measurement methods

Implicit measurement methods make the unconscious tangible

Psychological research shows that the concept of the completely rational and consciously decision-making homo oeconomicus does not correspond to reality. Customers unconsciously internalise much more about brands and products than they are aware of and can explicitly name.





System 1 vs. System 2: Fast thinking, slow thinking

In connection with thinking and decision-making processes, we often talk about system 1 vs. system 2. System 1 combines fast, automatic and unconscious thought processes. System 2, on the other hand, functions slowly, reflectively and consciously. System 1, i.e. the unconscious, implicit knowledge, is decisive for the (purchasing) behaviour and the attitude of customers towards a brand, but cannot be comprehensively recorded with classic questionnaires. (Daniel Kahnemann: Thinking, Fast and Slow. Macmillan, 25 October 2011)


Implicit measurement methods at intervista: reaction time-based measurement method

Mostly, explicit measurement methods are used in market research, for example to measure the opinion and attitude towards a product or a brand. But consumers unconsciously learn much more about brands and products than they are aware of and can explicitly name. And deliberate, conscious answers about one’s own attitude are often distorted by social desirability and social norms.

To account for these intuitive and automated decision-making processes from System 1, implicit measurement procedures are often used in research. Implicit measurement procedures minimise these effects of social desirability by requiring respondents to give their ratings spontaneously, leaving them no time to consider whether or not their statements are socially conforming. In addition, they allow for the elicitation of intuitive and unconscious opinions and attitudes.

intervista has a reaction time-based method that has been tried and tested over many years and which enables the measurement of such spontaneous and automatic reactions in the millisecond range. We integrate this measurement method into our online questionnaires and can thus link the classic explicitly collected survey data with such reaction time-based data. The reaction time-based measurement can also be used on mobile devices. Since, in contrast to academic research, filling out online surveys is not a controlled laboratory situation, a lot of experience is required in setting up such a measurement and in evaluating and interpreting the reaction time-based data.

Reaction time-based method: versatile in use

Our reaction time-based measurement can be used in many ways: For example, in advertising effectiveness measurement, product research or even sponsorship fit analyses. We often use it in the context of brand positioning and image research, because the image of companies is largely based on such subtle attitudes that have been learned over many years and are not conscious.

Reaction-based image measurement: representation in the brand space

We present the results of the reaction time-based image measurement in the brand space. This shows all the dimensions that are important for the company. For each dimension we can calculate a so-called fit index, which shows how the measured brand is mentally linked to the dimension among customers (or non-customers). In cooperation with you, we define the relevant brand values and the competitors to be included in the measurement. Depending on the specific question, different analyses can be carried out:

  • A company can develop a TARGET profile in internal company consultations or by means of a survey of the target group, which is then compared with the ascertained ACTUAL profile in the brand space. In this way, differences to the TARGET profile can be quickly identified.
  • ACTUAL profiles can be presented separately for different groups of respondents, e.g. for customers versus non-customers of a company. This helps to identify “gaps” and provides indications in which direction communication and assortment should be optimised in order to arouse interest among previous non-customers.
  • ACTUAL profiles of different companies can be compared with each other. In this way, it is possible to quickly find out where the Unique Selling Points exist compared to the competitors and where, on the other hand, the company is performing worse. This also provides indications of “gaps”, i.e. image aspects that need to be improved in the benchmark.
A comparison of explicit vs. implicit measurement

What is the ideal of beauty today?

The aim of the present study is to check whether the results of explicit and implicit measurement procedures differ. The topic of the study is the ideal of beauty today. This topic lends itself very well to such a comparison of methods, since social norms, current trends and the media have a great influence in this area. Each of us has a certain preferred ideal, we do not think about it, it forms unconsciously, but it is also subject to change. Depending on this ideal of beauty, we find a person beautiful and likeable and also make certain demands on ourselves.

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Michael Schrackmann intervista
Michael Schrackmann
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