Incorporating modes of thinking into your sensory and consumer studies

Dave Lundahl, InsightsNow, USA; Christopher Simmons, Ohio State University, USA; Greg Stucky, InsightsNow, USA; Nathalie Janin, Fonterra, New Zealand; Dr Caroline Withers, MMR, UK; Dr Carolina Chaya, Universidad Politécnica, Madrid, Spain

Behavioural scientists have identified three distinct modes of human thinking that are relevant to understanding how people respond to sensory stimuli, to make decisions, and/or to anticipate outcomes or consequences from decisions. Implicit thinking is used within moments of experience where sensory memories enable rapid, non-conscious decisions. Explicit thinking is reserved for moments where decisions have consequence or when information is new. Prospective thinking involves the anticipation of outcomes from past sensory memories.

Together, these three modes account for how consumers react in the moment of, or in anticipation of, a natural sensory experience, as well as how participants respond within sensory and consumer studies. Whereas there are many passive techniques (e.g., biometrics, fMRI), this Learnshop will focus on active techniques where participants are placed into activities within a context that results in qualitative and/or quantitative response using one or more modes of thinking. The activity influences what modes of thinking might be used by a participant. The context influences memories participants have available to make decisions.

Using this framework, we will first present an overview of these active techniques which will be followed by three application talks by industry researchers. The first will present implicit/explicit association techniques that measure both a dichotomous response and time to respond metric. The second will involve applying auction methodology (gamification). The third will be applications that place participants into prospective thinking mindsets.

These case studies will each include hands-on activities such that attendees will experience how these techniques control for, or measure, modes of thinking to yield insights through sensory and consumer research. Throughout the Learnshop, the audience and panel will be engaged to discuss each activity, context and mode of thinking and how they will shape the future of sensory and consumer research.

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