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48 Psychological Facts You Should Know About Yourself

By Susan Weinschenk

Rockefeller Center

Kevin Dooley via Flickr

The key to figuring out what isn’t working in your life is understanding some basic psychological facts about yourself — like why we can’t resist paying attention to sex and danger, or that people see what they want to see. 

Click here to see the facts >

In the past few months we’ve published 100 Mind-Blowing Psychological Facts You Should Know About Yourself. Today we’re highlighting our favorites from the list.

Dr. Susan Weinschenk is a behavioral scientist. All slides have been republished from her blog,Whatmakesthemclick.net.

#1: Why You Can’t Resist Paying Attention to Food, Sex, or Danger

#1: Why You Can’t Resist Paying Attention to Food, Sex, or Danger

Printed with permission: © Glenn Francis, www.PacificProDigital.com

Have you ever wondered why traffic always slows when people are driving by an accident? Do you moan about the fact that people are attracted by the gruesome, and yet find that you glance over too as you drive by? Well, it’s not really your fault, you (and everybody else) can’t resist looking at scenes of danger. It’s your “old brain” telling you to PAY ATTENTION. 

You have 3 brains — In my book, Neuro Web Design: What makes them click? I talk about the idea that you really don’t have one brain, you have three. The “new brain” is the conscious, reasoning, logical brain that you think you know best; the mid brain” is the part of the brain that processes emotions, and the “old brain” is the part of the brain that is most interested in your survival.

From reptiles to people — If you look at brains from an evolutionary perspective, the “old brain” developed first (hence the name “old brain”!). In fact, that part of our brain is very similar to the brain of a reptile, which is why some people call it the “reptilian” brain.

“Can I eat it? Can I have sex with it? Will it kill me?” – The job of your old brain is to constantly scan the environment and answer the questions: “Can I eat it? Can I have sex with it? Will it kill me?” That’s really all the old brain cares about, is food sex and danger. When you think about it, this is important. Without food you’ll die, without sex the species won’t continue, and if you are killed the other two questions don’t matter. So animal brains developed early on to care intensely about these three topics. As animals evolved they developed other capacities (emotions, logical thought), but they retained a part of their brain to always be scanning what is going on for these three critical questions.

You Can’t Resist — What this means is that you just can’t resist noticing food, sex, or danger. It doesn’t matter how hard you try to not notice these 3 things in your surroundings, you will always notice them. It’s the old brain working. You don’t necessarily have to do anything once you notice, for example, you don’t have to eat the chocolate cake when you see it, you don’t have to flirt with the attractive person who walked into the room, and you don’t have to run away from the large scary guy that walked in the room with the good looking woman. But you WILL notice all of those things whether you want to or not.

Cake, Pretty Woman, and a Crash on the home page — I get emails from people who have read about the old brain in my book. They will write to me wanting advice about how they should fit a picture of cake, a woman in a bikini, and an industrial accident all at the home page of their corporate website. (I do get some interesting emails!). I’m not advocating that you do that! I am pointing out that if you want to get someone’s attention at a website, then any images or headlines that include or imply food, sex, or danger will definitely get attention. But you will have to decide what is appropriate!

Have you seen any good examples of websites that use these ideas effectively (besides just sex sites — don’t send me URLs for those)?

Originally published on WhatMakesThemClick.net.

#2: Bite-Sized Chunks Of Info Are Best

I am about to head to Portugal for a week, and I was interested in exploring different possible destinations in Portugal. I may not have much time for touring (I’m going to speak at the UXLX conference there), but if I did have time, where should I go? I have to admit to pretty much total ignorance about Portugal, the different regions, landscapes, and parts of the country, so I went to the official tourism web site for the country. 

Give me a little bit at a time — The Portugal tourism site did an OK job of what is called progressive disclosure. This is fancy term that is used in the field of psychology to refer to providing information in increasing chunks of size and complexity.

We can only handle so much — Humans can only process small amounts of information at a time (consciously that is… the estimate is that we handle 40,000,000 pieces of information every second, but only 40 of those make it to our conscious brains). One mistake that web sites make is to give too much information all at once, like this web site from the Canadian government:

Canadian government website with no progressive disclosure

There is no chunking here, there is not progressive disclosure. It’s just all the information thrown on the page all at once. The result? You don’t read it, you just leave.

Feeding bits of information – The Portugal site was just OK when it came to progressive disclosure. New Zealand does a much better job. The New Zealand tourism site has multiple levels of disclosure, feeding you the information bit by bit. Here’s the first page on the regions of New Zealand:

Here, I see the overall map and names of the different regions. If I hover over one of the regions in the list then I see a thumbnail of information:

Portugal site with thumbnail picture and info on a region

Continuing on with this idea of progressive disclosure, if I click on that region then I link to a page with more pictures and little more detail:

Detailed map of the region from the Portugal site

There is a big map and there are tabs to go to for more information. If I scroll down I’ll have details on the region:

Detailed information on the region from the Portugal site

This is a great example of how to use progressive disclosure.

It’s not the clicks that count (pun intended) – One thing I’d like to point out is that progressive disclosure requires multiple clicks. Sometimes you will hear people say that websites should minimize the number of clicks that people have to make to get to the detailed information. The number of clicks is not the important criteria. People are very willing to make multiple clicks, in fact that won’t even notice they are making the clicks, if they are getting the right amount of information at each click to keep them going down the path.

Think progressive disclosure, don’t count clicks.

Should I let the web site design influence whether I book a ticket? Not this time at least. This time I’m headed for Portugal, where I plan to use the Portugal tourism site as a case study in my workshop!

Originally published on WhatMakesThemClick.net.

#3: You Know How To Do Things You’ve Never Done Before

Imagine that you’ve never seen an iPad, but I’ve just handed one to you and told you that you can read books on it. Before you turn on the iPad, before you use it, you have a model in your head of what reading a book on the iPad will be like. You have assumptions about what the book will look like on the screen, what things you will be able to do, and how you will do them—things like turning a page, or using a bookmark. You have a “mental model” of reading a book on the iPad, even if you’ve never done it before. 

If you’ve used an iPad before, your mental model of reading a book on an iPad will be different than that of someone who has never used one, or doesn’t even know what an iPad is. If you’ve been using a Kindle for the past year, then your mental model will be different from someone who has never read a book electronically. And once you get the iPad and read a couple of books on it, whichever mental model you had in your head before will start to change and adjust to reflect your experience.

What is a mental model? – The term mental model has been around for at least the last 25 years. One of my favorite definitions is from Susan Carey’s 1986 journal article, “Cognitive science and science education”, which says:

“A mental model represents a person’s thought process for how something works (i.e., a person’s understanding of the surrounding world). Mental models are based on incomplete facts, past experiences, and even intuitive perceptions. They help shape actions and behavior, influence what people pay attention to in complicated situations, and define how people approach and solve problems.”

 

Users create mental models very quickly — often before they even use a website or a product. Users’ mental models come from their prior experience with similar sites or products, assumptions they have, things they’ve heard others say, and also from their direct experience with the product or device. Mental models are subject to change.

 

Mental models vs. conceptual models –In order to understand why mental models are so important to design, you have to also understand what a conceptual model is and how it is different from a mental model. A mental model is the representation that a person has in their minds about the object they are interacting with. A conceptual model is the actual model that is given to the person through the design and interface of the actual product. Going back to the iPad ebook example, you have a mental model about what reading a book will be like in the iPad, how it will work, what you can do with it. But when you sit down with the iPad, the “system” (the iPad) will display what the conceptual model of the book app actually is. There will be screens, and buttons, and things that happen. The actual interface is the conceptual model. Someone designed an interface and that interface is communicating to you the conceptual model of the product.

Why care about this mental model/conceptual model idea? –Here’s why you should care: If there is a mismatch, between the person’s mental model and the product’s conceptual model, then the product or website will be hard to learn, hard to use, or not accepted. How do mismatches occur? Here are some examples:

  • The designers thought they knew who would be using the interface and how much experience they had with interfaces like this, and they designed according to those assumptions without testing them, and it turns out their assumptions were wrong.
  • The audience or the product or website is varied. The designers designed for one “persona” or type of audience, and the mental model and conceptual model match for that group, but not for others.
  • There are no real designers. The conceptual model wasn’t really designed at all, It’s just a reflection of the underlying hardware or software or database. So the only people whose mental model it fits are the programmers. If the audience is not the programmers then you are in trouble.

What if the mental models the users have won’t work? — What if it’s a brand new concept and you don’t want to match the current mental model? – What about the idea that people who have only read real, physical books will not have an accurate mental model of reading books on the iPad? In this case you know that people will not have an accurate mental model that fits. You will need to change their mental model. The best way to change a mental model is through training. You can use a short training video to change the mental model before the iPad even arrives at their door. In fact, one of the best purposes of training on a new product is to adjust the audiences’ mental model to fit the conceptual model of the product.

A different use of the term – By the way, the way I’m using the term mental model is, I believe, the most common definition, but it does not fit with at least one of the new definitions I’ve been reading and hearing about lately. Indi Young has written a book called Mental Models, and she’s using the term in a different way. She diagrams the behavior of a particular audience doing a series of tasks, including their goals and motivations. Then underneath that she describes what the “system” or product will do, or be like, in order to match the task. This entire structure she calls a “mental model.” Her methodology and its output look useful, but it doesn’t match the definition of mental models that I’m using here.

The Best Designers – a) understand the mental models of the intended audience (with task analysis, observations, interviews, etc), and b) design a conceptual model to fit the audience’s mental model, or a design a new one and know how to get us to switch from old to new.

Take Aways:

  • People always have a mental model, and it often doesn’t match what the conceptual model that someone designed (or forgot to design!).
  • The secret to designing an intuitive and delightful product experience is making sure that the conceptual model of the product matches, as much as possible, the mental models of your audience.
  • If you have a brand new product that you know will not match anyone’s mental model then you will have to provide training to prepare the person to create a new mental model.
  • If you are struggling to learn how to use a new website, software or device, it might be because you are holding on to an old mental model that doesn’t work anymore. Try letting it go and looking at the product without so many assumptions about how it works.

What do you think? What products have you had a hard time with because your mental model didn’t match the conceptual model? If you are a designer, what do you do to try and get a better match?

#4: Even The Illusion Of Progress Is Motivating

#4: Even The Illusion Of Progress Is Motivating

You are given a frequent buyer card for your local coffeeshop. Each time you buy a cup of coffee you get a stamp on your card. When the card is filled you get a free cup of coffee. Here are two different scenarios: 

Card A: The card has 10 boxes for the stamps, and when you get the card all the boxes are blank.

Card B: The card has 12 boxes for the stamps, and when you get the card the first two boxes are already stamped.

Question: How long will it take you to get the card filled up? Will it take longer or shorter for scenario A vs. scenario B? After all, you have to buy 10 cups of coffee in both scenarios in order to get the free coffee. So does it make a difference which card you use?

The answer apparently is yes. You will fill up the card faster with Card B than with Card A. And the reason is called the “goal-gradient” effect.

The goal-gradient effect was first studied in 1934 by Hull with rats. He found that rats that were running a maze to get food at the end would run faster as they got to the end of the maze.

The goal-gradient effect says that you will accelerate your behavior as you progress closer to your goal. The scenarios I describe above were part of a research study by Ran Kivetz, Oleg Urminsky, and Yuhuang Zheng (full reference is below). They decided to see if humans would behave like the rats. And the answer is, yes they do.

Here are some important things to keep in mind about the goal-gradient effect:

  • The shorter the distance to the goal the more motivated people will be to reach it.
  • You can get this extra motivation even with the illusion of progress, as in Scenario B above. There really isn’t any progress (you still have to buy 10 coffees), but it seems like there is some progress so it has the same effect
  • People enjoy being part of the reward program. When compared to customers who were not part of the program, the customers with the reward cards smiled more, chatted longer with café employees,said “thank you” more often and left a tip more often (all statistically significant for you research buffs out there).
  • In a related experiment the same researchers showed that people would visit a web site more frequently and rate more songs during each visit as they got closer to a reward goal at the site. So this goal-gradient effect appears to be generalizable across many situations.
  • Motivation and purchases plummet right after the goal is reached. This is called a “post-reward resetting phenomenon”. If you have a 2nd reward level people will initially not be very motivated to reach that 2nd reward. Right after a reward is reached is when you are most at risk of losing your customer.

And for those of you who want to read the original research:

Ran Kivetz, Oleg Urminsky, and Yuhuang Zheng, The Goal-Gradient Hypothesis Resurrected:Purchase Acceleration, Illusionary Goal Progress, and Customer Retention, Journal of Marketing Research, 39 Vol. XLIII (February 2006), 39–58.

Originally published on WhatMakesThemClick.net.

#5: People See What They Expect To See

During December of 2009, Farid Seif, a businessman from Houston, Texas, boarded a flight in Houston with a loaded handgun in his laptop case. He made it through security without a problem. Farid is not a terrorist. The gun is legal in Texas; he forgot to take it out of his laptop case before his travel. Farid realized the mistake when he got to his destination at the end of the trip. 

Airport security at the Houston airport did not detect the gun. It would have been easily seen by a security screener through the scanner at the airport, but no one noticed it.

Homeland Security in the US routinely tests the ability to pass security screening with guns, bomb parts, and other forbidden materials, by sending people through undercover with material. The US government hasn’t released the figures officially, but the estimate is that 70% of these tests fail, meaning most of the time the undercover people are able to get through security, like Farid Seif, with objects that are supposed to be spotted.

People get used to the frequency of an event  Why do the security personnel notice the bottle of shampoo that is too large, but miss a loaded handgun? Research on attention gives a hint on why this might happen. It has to do with the expectation of how frequently an event does or does not happen.

They expect the shampoo — The security personnel miss the loaded handgun and bomb parts at least in part because they don’t encounter them frequently. The security person is working for hours at a time, watching people, and looking at the scanner screen. An expectation develops about how frequently certain violations occur. For example, he or she probably encounters too large containers of shampoo, or nail scissors fairly often, and so expects to see those, and then notices them when they appear. On the other hand, he or she probably does not encounter loaded handguns or bomb parts very often. Bellenkes (1997) conducted research these frequency expectations, and found that people create a mental model about how frequently an event is likely to occur. Unconsciously, that expectation affects how much they look for an event to occur, which affects how much attention they pay to looking for the event.

You can watch an ABC news clip on the Farid Seif incident here.

And for those of you who like to read the research: Bellenkes, A. H., Wickens, C. D., & Kramer, A. F. (1997). Visual scanning and pilot expertise: the role of attentional flexibility and mental model development. Aviation, Space, and Environmental Medicine, 68(7), 569-579.

#6: People Process Information Best In Story Form

#6: People Process Information Best In Story Form

These office workers using an iPad are a rarity

adactio

One day, many years ago, when I was early in my career, I found myself in front of a classroom full of people who did not want to be there. Their boss had told them they had to attend the class I was giving. I knew that many, even most, of them thought the class was a waste of their time, and knowing that was making me nervous. I decided to be brave and forge ahead. Certainly my great content would grab their attention, right? 

I took a deep breath, smiled, and with a strong voice, I started the session with a big “Hello Everyone. I’m certainly glad to be here.” More than half the class weren’t even looking at me. They were reading their emails and writing out to do lists. One guy had the morning newspaper open and was reading that. It was one of those moments where seconds seem like hours. I thought to myself in panic, What am I going to do?

Then I had an idea. “Let me tell you a story”, I said. At the word “story” everyone’s head jerked up and all eyes were on me. I knew I only had a few seconds to start a story that would hold their attention. “It was 1988 and a team of Navy officers on the USS Vincennes in the Persian Gulf, were staring at a computer screen. Something had just appeared on the radar in protected air space. They had orders to shoot down any hostile aircraft. Was this a hostile aircraft? Was it a military plane? Was it a commercial airliner? They had 2 minutes to decide what to do.”

I had them! Everyone was interested and riveted. I finished the story, which nicely made my point about why it’s important to design usable computer interfaces, and we were off to a great start. The rest of the day flew by, everyone was interested and engaged, and I got some of my best teacher evaluations ever. Now I make sure to use that magic phrase, “Let me tell you a story” at least once in every talk I give, or class I teach.

Stories are very powerful — They grab and hold attention. But they do more than that. They also help people process information and they imply causation.

Tried and true story formats — Aristotle identified the basic structure of stories, and many people have expounded on his ideas since. One model is the basic three act structure: Beginning, Middle and the End. This may not sound very unusual, but when Aristotle came up with it over 2000 years ago it was probably pretty radical.

 

In the Beginning you introduce your audience to the setting, the characters and the situation or conflict. In the story above I introduced you to the setting (I had to give a class), the characters (me and students), and the conflict (the students don’t want to be there.

My story was very short, so the Middle part was short too. In the middle part of a story, there are typically obstacles and conflicts that the main character has to triumph over. These are usually somewhat resolved, but not completely resolved. In my story above the main character tried her usual opening and it failed Then she started to panic.

In the End of the story the obstacles come to a peak and then are resolved. In my story above I thought of what to do (tell a story to the class), which I did, and which succeeded.

This is just a basic outline. There are many variations and plots that can be added and woven in.

Classic stories — There are many stories that appear over and over in literature and in movies. Here are some of the popular themes that have been identified:

The Great Journey

Coming of Age

The Sacrifice

The Epic Battle

The Fall From Grace

Love

Fate

Revenge

The Trick

Mystery

Stories can be used to imply causation — Stories imply causation. Because stories usually involve some form of chronological narrative (first this happens, next this happens), they can imply causation even if it is not there. People are quick to assign causality. The human brain is always looking for causation. Stories make it even easier to make this causal leap. (Chabris and Simon, 2010)

Stories are important in all communications – Sometimes I hear people say, “Stories are fine for some communications, but not the one I’m working on now. I’m designing the website for the Annual Report of the company. Stories aren’t appropriate there; it’s just financial information.” Not true. There are always appropriate stories you can use any time you are trying to communicate.

How do you use stories in your communication? How could you use them more effectively?

For reading about how stories imply causation, see the book, The Invisible Gorilla, by Chabris and Simon, 2010. For a whole chapter on why stories are important in communication, and the research on this topic, see my book: Neuro Web Design: What makes them click?

#7: Your Unconscious Knows First

You are shopping for a new computer and the salesperson you are talking to is offering you what seems to be a good deal. And yet there is a part of you that feels uncomfortable and isn’t sure if this is the right computer, or the right deal, or the right store for you. If you had to articulate why you felt uncomfortable you might not be able to say why, or you’d make up a reason, but that might not really be the reason. So what’s going on?

 

Your unconscious mind is faster than your conscious mind – One of my favorite pieces of research is the study by Bechara and Damasio. It’s a little complicated to explain, so a few months ago I put together a short video “re-enactment” to help describe the research. I have a summary below as well:

 

A card game — The subjects in the study played a gambling game with decks of cards. Each person received $2,000 of pretend money. They were told that the goal was to lose as little of the $2,000 as possible, and to try to make as much over the $2000 as possible. There were four decks of cards on the table. The participant turned over a card from any of the four decks, one card at a time. They continued turning over a card from the deck of their choice until the experimenter told them to stop. They didn’t know when the game would end. The participant was told that every time they turned over a card, they earned money. They were also told that sometimes when they turned over a card, they earned money but also lost money (by paying it to the experimenter).

The participants didn’t know any of the rules of the gambling game. But here are what the rules actually were:

  • If they turned over any card in decks A or B, they earned $100. If they turned over any card in decks C and D, they earned only $50.
  • Some cards in decks A and B also required participants to pay the experimenter a lot of money, sometimes as much as $1,250. Some cards in decks C and D also required participants to pay the experimenter, but the amount they had to pay was only an average of $100.
  • Over the course of the game, decks A and B produced net losses if participants continued using them. Continued use of decks C and D rewarded participants with net gains.
  • The rules of never changed. Although participants didn’t know this, the game ended after 100 cards had been “played” (turned over).

The unconscious figures out first what is going on – Most participants started by trying all four decks. At first, they gravitated toward decks A and B because those decks paid out $100 per turn. But after about 30 turns, most turned to decks C and D. They then continued turning cards in decks to C and D until the game ended. During the study, the experimenter stopped the game several times to ask participants about the decks. The participants were connected to a skin conductance sensor to measure their SCR (skin conductance response). Their SCR readings were elevated when they played decks A and B (the “dangerous” decks) long before participants consciously realized that A and B were dangerous. When the participants played decks A and B, their SCRs increased even before they touched the cards in the decks. Their SCRs increased when they thought about using decks A and B. Their unconscious knew that decks A and B were “dangerous” and resulting in a loss. We know that because we see the spike in the SCR. However, that’s all unconscious. The conscious mind didn’t know yet that anything is wrong yet.

The conscious mind starts to catch up — Eventually participants said they had a “hunch” that decks C and D were better, but the SCR shows that the old brain figured this out long before the new brain “got” it. By the end of the game, most participants had more than a hunch and could articulate the difference in the two decks, but a full 30 percent of the participants couldn’t explain why they preferred decks C and D. They said they just thought those decks were better.

The old brain is afraid of losing – In my book, Neuro Web Design: What makes them click? I talk about this study in the context of fear of losing. The “old” brain (unconscious) is always on the look-out to protect us from losing. It will detect potential loss in our environment and steer us to take less risks.
What do you think? How do you think you can apply this knowledge? What would you do if you were the person buying the computer at the beginning of this post? What if you were the salesperson trying to sell the computer to the person?

(Thank you goes to Cole Bitting for coming up with a better and shorter title for this post than I originally had!)

And if you like to read research, here’s the original study:

Deciding Advantageously Before Knowing Advantageous Strategy
Bechara et al.
Science 28 February 1997: 1293

Originally published on WhatMakesThemClick.net.

#8: What People Look At On a Picture Or Screen Depends On What You Say To Them

#8: What People Look At On a Picture Or Screen Depends On What You Say To Them

Eye tracking is a technology that allows you to see and record what a person is looking at, and for how long. One way it is used is to study web sites to see where people are looking on a web page, where they look first, second, etc. It’s a pretty interesting technology, one of the benefits being that you don’t have to rely on what people SAY they are looking at, but can collect the data directly. Like any technology, however, it’s not perfect, and one of the problems with eye tracking is that you can’t just give people a web site to look at and then assume that where they look is what they are “really interested” in. 

We underestimate the effect our instructions have on where someone looks. Look at the picture at the beginning of this post. In research by Yarbus, people were shown this picture, and then given different instructions of what to think about while looking at the picture. Below are the eye gaze patterns matched with the instructions that people were given:

Slide03

Slide04

 

 

 

Proceed with caution. To me this data says: a) If you are using eye tracking as a technique to evaluate how people are using your website then you must be very careful about the instructions you give, and you must make sure you are giving everyone the exact same instructions. b) You can’t assume that just because people look at one spot on your website when they first see it that they will always look there. It might depend on what they were coming back to do. c) It’s nice to have a measure that doesn’t rely on what the user says or how they think they are reacting, but even these “objective” measures aren’t as objective as we think!

This research is from way back, but I believe it is still relevant. I haven’t found any recent replication of it yet. If you know of any please do pass on the reference:

Yarbus, A. L. (1967). Eye Movements and Vision (B. Haigh, trans.), New York: Plenum

Originally published on WhatMakesThemClick.net.

#9: You Overestimate Your Reactions to Future Events

#9: You Overestimate Your Reactions to Future Events

Cafeterra.info

Here’s is a thought experiment – On a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being the lowest and 10 being the highest, rate how happy you are right now. Write that number down. Now, I want you to imagine that today you win the lottery. You now have more money than you ever thought you would. You have millions and millions of dollars. At the end of today what would be your happiness rating? Write that number down. What about 2 years from now? What will be your happiness rating 2 years from now if today you win millions and millions in the lottery? 

People are poor predictors — In his great book, Stumbling on Happiness, Dan Gilbert discusses the research he and others have conducted on predicting or estimating emotional reactions to events. What he has found is that people greatly overestimate the reaction they think they will have to both pleasant and unpleasant events that happen in one’s life. Whether it is predicting how you will feel if a negative event happens, for example, if you lose your job, have an accident, or if a loved one dies, or predicting how you will feel if a positive event happens, such as coming into a lot of money, landing the dream job, or finding the perfect boyfriend or girlfriend, everyone tends to overestimate their reaction. If the event is negative you predict that you will be very upset and devastated for a long time. If the event is positive you predict that you will be deliriously happy for a long time.

A built-in regulator — The truth is that you have a built-in regulator of sorts so that whether negative events happen or positive events happen, you stay at about the same level of happiness most of the time. Some people are generally happier or less happy than others, and this level of happiness stays constant no matter what happens to them.

Preference vs. Reality – One interesting implication of this is in the field of marketing or user experience research. Be careful of believing customers if they tell you that by making this change or that change to a product that means that they would be much happier with it, or that they would never use it again. People may prefer one thing over another or think they will, but the strength of their reaction, either in a positive or a negative way, is probably not as much as they imagine it will be.

Have you experienced this difference between your own predictions and reactions? Have there been times when you were sure that a particular event would mean you would be really happy or unhappy and it turned out differently than you imagined?

For more reading:

Stumbling on Happiness By Dan Gilbert

Originally published on WhatMakesThemClick.net.

#10: Peripheral Vison — Keeping You Alive or Channel Surfing?

#10: Peripheral Vison — Keeping You Alive or Channel Surfing?

You have probably heard the term “peripheral vision”, but did you know that you use your peripheral vision to get the gist of the scene around you? 

Two kinds of vision — Basically, you have two types of vision: Central and Peripheral. Central vision is the vision you have when you look at something directly and see the details. Peripheral vision is the rest of the visual field that is visible, but that you are not looking directly at.

Keeping you alive on the savannah — The theory, from an evolutionary point of view, is that thousands of years ago, people who were sharpening their flint, or looking up at the clouds, and yet still noticed that a lion was coming at them from their peripheral vision survived to pass on their genes. So peripheral vision has always been important.

Why blinking on a screen is so annoying – Humans can’t help but notice movement in our peripheral vision. We are “programmed” to pay attention to movement in the border of our vision. If you are reading text on a computer screen and there is some animation moving or blinking off to the side you can’t help but look at it. This can be quite annoying if you are trying to concentrate on reading the text in front of you. Peripheral vision at work!

Latest research shows peripheral vision plays a larger role — New research from Kansas State University, however, shows that peripheral vision is more important in understanding the world around us than these previous theories implied. It seems that we get information on what type of scene we are looking at from our peripheral vision. We process the “gist” of what we are looking at from our peripheral vision. The researchers at Kansas State showed people photographs of common scenes, for example a photograph of a kitchen or a living room. In some of the photographs the outside of the image was obscured, and in others the central part of the images were obscured. The images were shown for very short amounts of time. Then they asked the research participants what they were looking at.

Peripheral vision was more important – What they found is that if the central part of the photo was missing people could still identify what they were looking at. But when the peripheral part of the image was missing then they couldn’t say whether it was a living room or a kitchen.

Peripheral vision and channel surfing – Are you the type that gets hold of the remote and quickly surfs through the channels spending a split second on each one? Or are you the person who gets really annoyed when others do that! The latest theory is that these channel surfers are using peripheral vision to get the gist of what’s on the station and then moving on to the next one.

If you want to read the research:

Adam M. Larson, Lester C. Loschky. The contributions of central versus peripheral vision to scene gist recognition. Journal of Vision, 2009; 9 (10): 1 DOI: 10.1167/9.10.6

Originally published on WhatMakesThemClick.net.

#11: Too Much Stress Results In Poor Performance

#11: Too Much Stress Results In Poor Performance

A few days ago I found myself in a hotel room outside of Chicago with my 19 year old daughter moaning and sometimes howling in pain. She’d been sick for a week, each day with a new symptom, and this morning her eardrum felt like it was going to burst. We decided that I should cancel my client meeting and take her to an urgent care clinic instead. Of course, we don’t have universal health care here in the States, so first I had to call my insurance provider to find out if there were “in network” doctors we could go to and still be covered by our plan. The insurance company told me to go to a particular web site, and said that any doctor we picked through that site would be considered in network. 

Using a web site under stress — By now 10 minutes have passed and my daughter is still sitting on the bed behind me moaning and wailing. Instead of helping her, I have to go to a web page and fill out forms and look at maps. The first thing that happens is that I encounter a drop down menu that is meaningless to me:

Beechstreet.com website

When I look at this web page now (days later, crisis has passed), it doesn’t seem too confusing, but when I was trying to fill it out, trying to get my daughter some help, the web page was daunting and impossible, and not at all intuitive.

Stress changes your perceptions – Research on stress shows that a little bit of stress (called arousal in psychology terms) can help you perform a task, because it heightens awareness. Too much stress, however, degrades performance. Two psychologists, Robert Yerkes and John Dodson first postulated this arousal/performance relationship, and hence it has been called the “Yerkes-Dodson law” for over a century.

Arousal helps up to a point – The law states that performance increases with physiological or mental arousal, but only up to a point. When levels of arousal become too high, performance decreases. Research on the law shows that the amount of stress/arousal that is optimal depends on how difficult the task is. Difficult tasks require less arousal to reach optimal performance, and will start to break down if the arousal level is too high. Simpler tasks require more arousal and don’t fall off as fast.

Yerkes-Dodson LawYerkes-Dodson Law

Tunnel vision — When arousal first goes up then there is an energizing effect, as the person is paying attention. But as the stress increases there are negative effects. Attention gets unfocused, people have trouble remembering, problem solving degrades and “tunnel vision” sets in. Tunnel vision is where you keep doing the same task over and over even though it isn’t working.

Glucocorticoids — More recent research has shown a similar curve when studying the presence of glucocorticoids. These are the hormones that are released when we experience stress, so the Yerkes-Dodson law appears to have direct physical evidence.

Maximum frustration — As I tried to use the web page to find a doctor I kept getting errors, and typical of someone under stress, I kept doing the same task over and over even though it wasn’t working (tunnel vision). At one point I was crying tears of frustration, cursing over the lack of usability of the web site, and upset that I could not just find the name and address of a clinic we could go to.

Patient care, not computer care – I finally turned away from the computer, got my daughter some Tylenol, gave her warm washcloths to hold against her ear, and got us both calmed down. Then I found a clinic at the website (where we went later that day, only to have them say she was fine. By the way, our insurance didn’t work and we had to pay cash after all — i.e., I didn’t need the web site). My daughter is better, and I didn’t even have to cancel the client meeting.

Test under stress – If you might have people using your site when they are under stress, keep in mind that too much stress will change the way they see and use the web site. And here’s a plea to BeechStreet.com… test your website thoroughly assuming that people are tense, stressed, and with howling children in the background. It’s a totally different experience.

If you’d like to read the research —

Yerkes RM, Dodson JD (1908). “The relation of strength of stimulus to rapidity of habit-formation”.Journal of Comparative Neurology and Psychology 18: 459–482. psychclassics.yorku.ca/Yerkes/Law/.

Lupien, SJ, Maheu F, Tu M, Fiocco A, Schramek TE (2007). “The effects of stress and stress hormones on human cognition: Implications for the field of brain and cognition”. Brain and Cognition 65: 209–237. PMID17466428.

Originally published on WhatMakesThemClick.net.

#12: You Have “Inattention Blindness”

First let’s start with a little test for you to take. Watch the video below:  

 

This is an example of what is called “inattention blindness” or “change blindness”. The idea is that people often miss large changes in their visual field. This has been shown in many experiments.

So what does this mean if you are designing a website or something on a computer screen? It means that you can’t assume that just because something is on the screen means that people see it. This is especially true when you refresh a screen and make one change on it. People may not realize they are even looking at a different screen. Remember, just because something happens in the visual field doesn’t mean that people are consciously aware of it.

Here is a change blindness experiment that was recently conducted:

 

Originally published on WhatMakesThemClick.net.

#13: You Are Hard-Wired For Imitation and Empathy

#13: You Are Hard-Wired For Imitation and Empathy

If you put your face right in front of a young baby and stick out your tongue, the baby will stick out his or her tongue too. This happens from a very young age (even as young as a one month old). So? What does this have to do with anything? It’s an example of the built-in, wired-into-our-brain capacity we have for imitation. Recent research on the brain shows how our imitative behavior happens. 

Mirror neurons firing– In the front of the brain there is a section called the premotor cortex; motor as in movement. This is the part of the brain where you make plans to move. (It talks to the primary motor cortex which is the part of the brain that sends out the signals that actually make you move). So if you are holding an ice cream cone and you think about moving your arm to bring the ice cream cone up to your mouth, and then you do it, you can see first the premotor cortex lighting up and then the primary motor cortex lighting up. Neurons in the premotor cortex are firing — nothing surprising there. But here is where it gets interesting. If you watch someone else lift their arm and eat the ice cream cone a subset of the same neurons also fire. Just watching other people take an action causes some of the same neurons to fire as if you were actually moving. This subset of neurons have been dubbed, “mirror neurons”. We share these mirror neurons with other primates as well.

Who is taking action? — How does your brain know when you are taking the action vs. watching someone else take the action? After your mirror neurons fire from watching your friend take a lick of the ice cream cone, there is a feedback loop. Your brain registers that no ice cream was tasted, and therefore you know that you are watching someone eat ice cream, not that you just ate ice cream.

Not just imitation but empathy too — The latest theories are that these mirror neurons are also the way we empathize with others. We are literally experiencing what others are experiencing through these mirror neurons, and that allows us to deeply, and literally, understand how another person feels.

So what’s the big deal? — What implications can you draw from knowing about mirror neurons?:

  • Don’t underestimate the power of watching someone else do something. If you want to influence someone’s behavior, then show someone else doing the same task.
  • There is research that shows that stories create images in the mind that may also trigger mirror neurons. Stories are powerful.
  • Video at a web site is especially compelling. Want people to get a flu shot? Then show a video of other people in line at a clinic getting a flu shot. Want kids to eat vegetables? Then show a video of other kids eating vegetables. Mirror neurons at work.

For more information watch the TED video of VS Ramachandran: bit.ly/aaiXba

Originally published on WhatMakesThemClick.net.

#14: Our “strong tie” group size is 150 people

#14: Our “strong tie” group size is 150 people

Evolutionary anthropologists study social groups in animals. One question they have been trying to answer, is whether there is a limit on how many individuals different species have in their social group. Robin Dunbar studied the relationship between brain (neo-cortex) size and the number of stable relationships that a species had in their social groups. Based on his findings with animals, he extrapolated to what the number would be for humans. Called “Dunbar’s Number”, he postulated that 150 people is the social group size limit for humans. (To be more exact, he calculated the number at 148, but rounded up to 150. Also there is a fairly large error measure, so that the 95% confidence interval is from 100 to 230 – for you statistical experts out there). 

A limit to stable, social relationships — The limit specifically refers to the number of people that you can maintain stable social relationships with. These are relationships where you know who the person is, and you know how each person relates to every other person in the group. Dunbar has documented the size of communities throughout different geographic areas and throughout different historical timeframes, and he is convinced that this number holds true.

Across time and cultures — Dunbar assumes that the current size of the human neocortex showed up about 250,000 years ago. So he started his research with hunter-gatherer communities. His observations include: Neolithic farming villages averaged 150 people, as did Hutterite settlements, professional armies from the Roman days as well as modern army units.

Intense survival pressure — His claim is that 150 is the group size for communities that have a high incentive to stay together. If the group has intense survival pressure, then it stays at the 150 member mark. He also notes that these groups are usually in close physical proximity. If the survival pressure is not intense, or the group is physically dispersed, then he estimates the number would be lower.

Too high or too low? — Some critics of Dunbar’s number say that the number is too high, and others that it is too low. In the world of social media people have 750 facebook friends or 4,000 twitter followers, showing that the number of 150 is way off the mark. A Dunbar fan would respond that these are not the strong stable relationships where everyone knows everyone and people are in physical proximity. Some critics say the number of 150 is too high – that the number of people one is close to both physically and socially is much less than 150.

It’s the weak ties that are important?– In a recent blog post Jacob Morgan says that what’s really important in social media is not the strong ties that Dunbar talks about, but the weak ties – relationships that do not require that everyone knows everyone in the group, and that are not based on physical proximity. He argues that the reason that social media is so interesting is that it allows us to quickly and easily expand these “weak” ties, and that those are the ties that are most relevant in our modern world.

Substituting weak for strong – I think both Dunbar and Morgan are right. It’s critical that we pay attention to that 150 number for our “survival” community in close proximity. If we don’t feel we have that “tribe” near us it causes us to feel alienated, isolated and stressed. Perhaps one of the reasons social media is so popular, and so many of us rely on Facebook and Twitter is that we don’t have a strong tie tribe. Although the weak tie network of social media helps us to feel connected, we’ll eventually feel let down if we try to have it substitute for a strong tie Dunbar tribe.

For more information, I suggest you watch this interview of Robin Dunbar:

www.guardian.co.uk/technology/video/2010/mar/12/dunbar-evolution

And read Jacob Morgan’s blog post:

www.socialmediatoday.com/SMC/169132

What do you think? Do you have a strong tie tribe network? Are you ultimately trying to substitute with your weak tie network? In our modern world is the weak tie network more important?

Originally published on WhatMakesThemClick.net.

#15: Your Most Vivid Memories Are Wrong

#15: Your Most Vivid Memories Are Wrong

What Makes Them Click

If I ask you to remember where you were and what you were doing when you first heard about the September 11, 2001 attacks in New York City, chances are very good that you will be able to tell me in great detail your memory of that day, and how you heard about the attacks. Especially if you live in the US and you were 10 years old or older on that date. But the research shows clearly that you would be wrong about the majority of your memory. 

Flashbulb memory is very vivid — Remembering traumatic or dramatic events in great detail is called “flashbulb memory” by psychologists, and has been studied for several decades. Emotions are processed in the amygdala part of the mid-brain, and the amygdala is very close to the hippocampus. The hippocampus is involved in the long term coding of information into memories. So it is no surprise to psychologists that emotionally laden memories might be very strong and remembered vividly.

But the memories are full of errors — It turns out, though, that those memories are full of errors. Ulric Neisser researches memories like these. In 1986 the space shuttle Challenger exploded upon take-off. Any of you reading this who are old enough to remember the Challenger explosion probably remember it vividly, i.e., as a flashbulb memory. Neisser took the opportunity to do some research. The day after the explosion he had his students (he is a professor) write down their memories of what had happened, where they were, what they were wearing, what the TV coverage was like, etc. Three years later he asked them to write down their memory of the event again. Most (over 90%) of the 3-yr later reports differed. Half of them were inaccurate in 2/3 of the details. One person, when shown her first description written three years earlier, on the day after the event, said, “I know that’s my handwriting, but I couldn’t possibly have written that”. Similar research has been conducted on the 9/11 memories, with similar results.

The Forgetting Curve of 1885 – In 1885 Hermann Ebbinghaus created a formula showing the degradation of memories:

R = e(−t/S)

where R is memory retention, S is the relative strength of memory, and t is time. The graph at the top of this post is an example of this formula. It’s called the “Forgetting Curve”. Because flashbulb memories are so vivid, it was thought that perhaps they were not as subject to forgetting as other memories. But it turns out they are. Which is kind of disturbing, when you think about it. Because they are so vivid, we are SURE they are accurate and real. But they aren’t nearly as accurate as we think.

Take-Aways – I can think of many ways that we (falsely) rely on people’s memories of events, whether dramatic or not: for example, conducting user or customer research. We often ask customers to remember a particular encounter with a website, software, or an in-store experience. We may have to realize that the memories, although vivid, might not be accurate.

What do you think? Can you think of situations where you perhaps rely on people’s memories more than you should?

For more reading and information:

Kathryn Schulz, Being Wrong, Harper Collins, 2010

Daniel Schacter, The Seven Sins of Memory, Houghton Mifflin, 2001

Neisser and Harsh, “Phantom Flashbulbs: False Recollections of Hearing the News about Challenger”, in Winograd and Neisser (eds) Affect and Accuracy in Recall, Cambridge University Press, 1992, p. 9-31.

Originally published on WhatMakesThemClick.net.

#16: No Two People Perceive Time In The Same Way

#16: No Two People Perceive Time In The Same Way

A clock outside Tiffany & Co. jewellers in New Bond Street in London.

Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

Has this ever happened to you? You are traveling 2 hours to visit friends. It’s two hours to get there and 2 hours to get back, but the trip there feels much longer. 

It’s about the mental processing — In his interesting book, The Time Paradox, Philip Zimbardo discusses how our experience of time is relative, not absolute. There are time illusions, just like there are visual illusions. The more mental processing you do, the more time you think has elapsed. If people have to stop and think at each step of a task, they will feel that the task is taking too long. The mental processing makes the amount of time seem longer.

It’s about expectations — The perception of time and your reaction to it, is also greatly influenced by predictability and expectations. Let’s say you are editing video on your computer. You’ve just clicked the button to produce the video file from your edits. Will you be frustrated by how long it takes to produce the video? If you do this task often, and it normally takes 3 minutes, then 3 minutes will not seem like a long time. If there is an in-progress indicator, for example a bar that is moving, or a message that says “2 minutes 48 seconds left to completion”, then you know what to expect. You’ll go pour yourself a cup of coffee and come back. But if it sometimes takes 30 seconds and sometimes takes 5 minutes, and you don’t which one it is going to be this time, then you will be very frustrated if it takes 3 minutes. Three minutes will seem much longer than it usually does.

Time expectations change – Ten years ago if it took 20 seconds for a website to load you didn’t think much of it. But these days if it takes more than 3 seconds you get impatient. There’s one website I go to regularly that takes 12 seconds to load. It seems like an eternity.

Take-aways

  • Always provide in progress indicators so people know how much time something is going to take.
  • If possible, make the amount of time it takes to do a task or bring up information regular, so people can adjust their expectations accordingly.
  • If you want to make a process seem shorter, then break it up into steps and have people think less. It’s mental processing that makes something seem to take a long time.

What do you think? If you are a designer do you take time, or the perception of time into account in your designs?

#17: You Are Most Affected By Brands and Logos When You Are Sad Or Scared

#17: You Are Most Affected By Brands and Logos When You Are Sad Or Scared

Mel B. via Flickr Creative Commons

Here’s Scenario 1: You get together with your friends to watch your home team play a game on TV. They win! After an afternoon of fun and friendship you stop at a grocery store on your way home. You are in a good mood. Are you more or less likely to buy the usual cereal you always buy or will you try something new? 

Here’s Scenario 2: It’s Friday afternoon and your boss calls you in to tell you that he’s not happy with your latest project report. This is the project that you repeatedly told him was in trouble and you asked that more staff be assigned. You feel all your warnings were ignored. Now he’s telling you that this work will reflect badly on you and you may even lose your job. On the way home you stop at the grocery store. You are sad and scared. Are you more or less likely to buy the usual cereal you always buy, or will you try something new?

You Want What’s Familiar – A series of research studies by Marieke de Vries of Radboud University Nijmegen, in the Netherlands, shows that when people are sad or scared, they want what is familiar. When people are in a happy mood they are not as sensitive to what is familiar, and are willing to try something new and different.

Related to Fear of Loss — This craving of the familiar, and a preference for familiar brand is probably tied to our basic fear of loss. In my book, Neuro Web Design: What makes them click? I have a chapter on the fear of loss. When we are sad or scared, our old brain and our mid (emotional) brain are on alert. We have to protect ourselves. And a quick way to be safe is to go with what you know; what you are familiar with. A strong brand is familiar. A strong logo is familiar. So when we are sad or scared we will reach for a brand and logo we know.

It’s Easy to Change Someone’s Mood – It turns out it is remarkably easy to affect someone’s mood, especially in the short term (like long enough for them to make a purchase at a web site). In Marieke de Vries’s research they showed video clips of the Muppets (to instigate a good mood) vs. the movie Schindler’s list (to instigate a bad mood). People reported their mood as significantly elevated after the Muppets and significantly lowered after Schindler’s list. This mood change then affected their actions in the rest of the research study.

Take-Aways — If you are giving messages of fear, loss, problems etc, that will result in more action taken if your brand is familiar. If you are giving messages of fun, lightness, and humor, that will result in more action taken if your brand is new.

Have you found this to be true in your experience?

Originally published on WhatMakesThemClick.net.

#18: Trust Your Gut or Be Logical? It Depends On Your Mood

#18: Trust Your Gut or Be Logical? It Depends On Your Mood

Alli Jiang

In a previous post on how mood affects your reaction to brands you know (see You Are Most Affected By Brands And Logos When You Are Sad And Scared), I talked about the research from Marieke de Vries of Radboud University Nijmegen, in the Netherlands. De Vries also did research on two types of decision making: a trusting -your- gut intuitive method vs. following a logical, deliberative decision-making process of weighing alternatives and thinking through pros and cons. De Vries was interested in whether one method of decision-making was better than another, and also whether your mood affected the outcome of the decision. 

When to use deliberative decision-making — Research by Dijksterhuis shows that when you have simple decision to make you make better decisions when you use a logical deliberative method.

When to use intuitive decision-making – Research by Shiv shows that when you have a complicated decision to make, you make better decisions when you use an intuitive or “gut” method.

Where does mood fit in? — De Vries went further with the research to see if mood had an affect, and found that when you are in a happy mood you rely on your gut instincts more, AND the outcome is that you make better decisions. When you are in a sad mood you rely on your logical decision making AND you make better decisions as a result.

Take-aways — If you are in a good mood and/or are making a complicated decision it is best to trust your intuition. If you are in a bad mood and/or are making a simple decision then use a more deliberative process.

Originally published on WhatMakesThemClick.net.

#19: Culture Shapes Our Brain

#19: Culture Shapes Our Brain

AP

My entire career I’ve been worried about the fact that most psychology research is conducted on 18-24 year old college students. What if the way 18-24 year old college students react, think, and behave is not the same as everyone else? We are drawing conclusions about PEOPLE in general, but only collecting data from a small subset of people whose brains are still changing. It seemed silly that there were rigorous rules about how to conduct scientific studies in psychology, and yet this basic premise about who was being researched and how applicable the research was to different people was ignored. It’s made me secretly skeptical about research. Which is ironic, since I spend a fair amount of time searching out research, thinking about it, interpreting it and writing about it. I guess some research is better than no research? 

Does culture shape “basic” cognitive processes?– And now I’ve come across an entirely new reason to be skeptical about the theories we have about how the brain works — cultural effects. In his book, The Geography of Thought, Richard Nisbitt discusses research that shows that how we think — our cognitive processes — are influenced and shaped by culture. For example, if you show people from “the West” (US, Europe) a picture, they focus on a main or dominant foreground object, while people from Asia pay more attention to context and background. Asian people who grow up in the West show the Western pattern, not the Asian pattern, showing that this is based on culture, not genetics.

Is most of our research in psychology based on what “westerners” think? — This has profound implications for some of the theories we have about cognitive processing. We have research about how people think, how many items can be stored in memory, etc. What if these theories about how people think are really theories about how Western people think and are not universal?

Do cultural differences show up in brain activity? — Sharon Begley recently wrote about this inNewsweek. She reports on recent neuroscience research that confirms the cultural effects. “… when shown complex, busy scenes, Asian-Americans and non-Asian–Americans recruited different brain regions. The Asians showed more activity in areas that process figure-ground relations—holistic context—while the Americans showed more activity in regions that recognize objects. To take one recent example, a region behind the forehead called the medial prefrontal cortex supposedly represents the self: it is active when we (“we” being the Americans in the study) think of our own identity and traits. But with Chinese volunteers, the results were strikingly different. The “me” circuit hummed not only when they thought whether a particular adjective described themselves, but also when they considered whether it described their mother.”

Will it ever end? – This is the curse of research. Just when we think we know something, we find out there are more questions than answers! One trend that should help is that there is more and more research coming out of Asia. If you peruse the psychology scientific journals you will see that more than half of the research that is being published today comes from Asia. Another big chunk comes from Europe, so the psychology research now is not so US centric. This will help, or will it? Will we now have to worry that the results from Asia don’t apply to the West? Should all psychology research be done using different cultures?

What do you think?

For more reading:

Ambady, N., Freeman, J. B., Rule, N. O. (in press). Culture and the neural substrates of behavior, perception, and cognition. In J. Decety & J. Cacioppo (Eds.), The Handbook of Social Neuroscience.Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Sharon Begley’s article in Newsweek: West Brain, East Brain

To find out more, check out The Geography of Thought, by Richard Nisbett.

Originally published on WhatMakesThemClick.net.

#20: We go below the “fold”

#20: We go below the “fold”

For the last year or so there has been a heated debate about “the fold”. The fold is the idea that there is a place on a web page that is the bottom edge of what people will see when they look at the page in a browser, and that in order to see anything below that line, the visitor has to scroll down the page. This concept comes from newspapers — there is content on a newspaper page (especially the front page) that is below where the paper folds. In the newspaper world there has been interest for decades and maybe even centuries, at this point, about what to print right above the fold, right below the fold, and right on the fold. This concept bled over to websites in terms of what shows on the screen without scrolling. 

What’s the big deal about the fold? — For many years a guiding principle of web and content design has been: If it’s important make sure it’s above the fold, because visitors may not scroll and see more. But lately marketing people, user experience professionals, and others have been questioning this principle. Certainly there is often a lot of material that is below the fold, and people seem to be clicking on it.

Want to see a visual example? — At iampaddy.com there is an interesting visual example. Here is a short video I made from the iampaddy blog that makes the point that maybe people really will scroll:

 

So do we worry about the fold or not? — I believe it still holds true that the most important content should be above the fold, and that if it is above the fold then it is most likely that people will see it. BUT, if it’s below the fold that doesn’t mean people WON’T see it. Ok, not a definitive answer I know, but the best we can do right now with the data we have (stay tuned… I plan to do some research of my own on this topic).

What do you think? How concerned should we be about whether information and links fall below the fold?

Originally published on WhatMakesThemClick.net.

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