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诱惑你多花钱的诀窍

更新时间:2019/10/6 8:37:19 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

The trick that makes you overspend
诱惑你多花钱的诀窍

When you buy a cup of coffee, you might have noticed that of the three size options – small, medium and large – the medium-sized serving often costs almost as much as the large. Given the apparent bargain, have you ever opted for the biggest and most expensive option?

你买一杯咖啡,可能已经注意到,大、中、小三种容量——中杯价格几乎和大杯差不多。为了这明显的小便宜,你是否曾经选择过最大杯最贵的?

If so, you have been nudged by a cognitive bias known as the “decoy effect”, in which the deliberate presentation of an additional, slightly less attractive option – in this case, the relatively expensive medium-sized coffee – pushes you to pay out more money than you would have rationally chosen. “If you frame options in a certain way, you can nudge people in the direction of higher-priced products,” says Linda Chang, a psychologist at Harvard University.

如果这样,你就被一种名为“诱饵效应”的认知偏见所蛊惑。这种认知偏见会提出一项不太吸引人的额外选择——比如相对昂贵的中杯咖啡,诱使你支付超出理性选择的钱。哈佛大学心理学家琳达·张(Linda Chang音译)表示:“如果你以特定方式设计选项,就能推动人们转而选择价格更高的产品。”

The decoy effect was first investigated as a potential marketing strategy to influence consumer choices such as this, but the latest research shows that it could also have potent effects in recruitment, healthcare, even politics. It shows us just how easily our judgement is swayed by the context in which the facts are presented – even when that additional information may have no bearing on the overall judgement.

最初研究诱饵效应,是将其作为一种潜在的营销策略,用以影响消费者选择。但最新研究表明,它也可在招聘、医疗、甚至政治方面产生强大的影响。它表明,呈现事实的过程中,我们的判断是多么容易受到周围环境的影响——即使那些额外信息可能没有干扰整体判断。

By learning about the decoy effect, you may become less susceptible to this unconscious influence. You may even discover ways to put it to your own use as a tool for persuasion.

理解诱饵效应,你会较少被这种不自知的意识所影响。你甚至可能把它作为说服别人的工具。

Like many of the now infamous cognitive biases that plague our thinking, the decoy effect was first documented in the 1980s, and the best way to understand these experiments is to consider an example.

与困扰我们的许多认知偏见一样,诱饵效应在20世纪80年代首次被记录下来。最好的理解方法是看一下这个例子。

Imagine you are choosing flights from the following options.

假设您正在从以下选项中选择航班。

Flight A costs $400 with a stopover of 60 minutes.

A航班价格400美元,中途停留60分钟。

Flight B costs $330 with a stopover of 150 minutes.

B航班票价330美元,中途停留150分钟。

Flight C costs $435 with a stopover of 60 minutes.

C航班票价435美元,中途停留60分钟。

In this case, the researchers found that most people would choose Flight A, since it is cheaper than Flight C, but with a shorter waiting time – even though it is considerably more expensive than B.

在这种情况下,研究人员发现大多数人会选择A航班:它比C航班便宜,而且又比B航班停留时间更短,虽然价格比B航班贵很多。

Now look at a different set of flights:

现在看看另一组航班组合:

Flight A costs $400 with a stopover of 60 minutes.

A航班价格400美元,中途停留60分钟。

Flight B costs $330 with a stopover of 150 minutes.

B航班票价330美元,中途停留150分钟。

Flight C costs $330 with a stopover of 195 minutes.

C航班价格330美元,中途停留195分钟。

In this scenario, most people’s preference is now Flight B.

在这种情况下,大多数人的首选是B航班。

Logically speaking, that makes no sense: B should be no more attractive now than in the first example because the waiting time and price are still exactly the same. But the change in Flight C – to have an even longer stopover – has altered the way the participants perceived the other possibilities, so that now they preferred to suffer a longer waiting time for a cheaper price.

从逻辑上讲,B航班没有任何变化:第二个组合中的B航班和第一个组合的B航班,无论是停留时间和价格都完全相同。但是由于C航班的改变,中途停留时间更长,价格变得和B航班一样,因此就改变了参与者对航班选择的感受。所以第二个例子中,他们宁愿忍受更长时间的等待,以获得更便宜的价格。

In each case, Flight C – “the decoy” – was designed to appear similar to, but slightly less attractive than one of the other options (the “target”). And that comparison boosts the target’s perceived desirability. Experiments examining choices such as these have found the use of a well-designed decoy such as this can shift opinion between the other two options by as much as 40% – showing just how easily our decisions can be swayed by the way they are framed.

在各种情况下,C航班这个“诱饵”都与设计者期望胜出的目标选项相似,但吸引力略低。这种对比会增强目标的受欢迎程度。研究这类选择实验发现,使用精心设计的诱饵,可以改变多达40%的观点。这表明我们的决定很容易被选项设计方式所左右。

Crucially, as the first scenario shows, this placement of a dud option can even mean that the consumer is willing to pay more money – making the decoy effect of very keen interest to marketers.

至关重要的是,正如买咖啡场景所显示的那样,设置无用选项甚至可能意味着消费者愿意支付更多的钱,从而产生营销人员非常感兴趣的诱饵效应。

Psychologists still debate the exact reasons for this particular effect, but one idea is that the comparison with the decoy offers us an easy justification for an otherwise arbitrary decision. If you were to compare just A and B, it’s hard to know exactly how to appraise the trade-offs between cost and waiting time – how much money is 90 minutes’ extra wait really worth? But if one option is obviously better than the decoy – Flight C – on one of those measures, you have a ready-made reason to explain your preference.

心理学家们仍在争论这种特殊效应的确切原因,但有一种观点是,将其与诱饵进行比较,为我们提供了一个很容易的理由,来为一个原本武断的决定辩护。如果只比较A航班和B航班,很难确切知道如何评估成本和等待时间之间的关系——90分钟的额外等待时间到底值多少钱?但是,如果其中一个选项明显优于诱饵(C航班),那么你就有现成的理由来解释自己的选择喜好。

These patterns of behaviour have been observed for many different kinds of goods – from beer to TVs, cars and houses: an unattractive third option changes people’s preferences between the two other possibilities.

从啤酒到电视、汽车和房子,对许多不同种类的商品,人们都观察到了这种行为模式。

In his book, Predictably Irrational, Dan Ariely described how The Economist uses a decoy effect to encourage readers to opt for a more expensive subscription to its magazine. In this case, the publishers offered a digital subscription for just $59, a print subscription for $125 and a third option of a combined print and online subscription for the same price – $125. The print-only choice here is clearly a decoy, since it offers less than the print and online package for the same price, but Ariely found that its mere presence substantially increased uptake of the combined subscription (rather than the digital only). Indeed, when only two options were available, readers were 52% more likely to go for the much cheaper online-only option, compared to a choice involving a third decoy.

在《可预测的怪诞行为学》(Predictably Irrational)一书中,作者艾瑞里(Dan Ariely)描述了《经济学人》杂志如何利用诱饵效应,鼓励读者选择更昂贵的订阅方式。出版商提供的数字版订阅仅为59美元,印刷版订阅为125美元,第三个选项是印刷版和数字版订阅结合,价格相同,也是125美元。那个只提供印刷版的选项显然是一个诱饵,因为它提供的产品明显劣于印刷版和数字版结合。艾瑞里发现,它的存在,大大增加了合并订阅(而不是数字版订阅)的使用量。事实上,当只有第一和第三这两个选项时,读者选择最便宜的数字版订阅的可能性比有三个选项时高52%。

The decoy effect may also be rife in sales of high-end goods. A recent paper from the University of British Columbia has documented the influence of the decoy effect on the diamond market, finding that the presence of slightly inferior, but equally expensive products can contribute more than 20% of the retailers’ profits.

在高端商品销售中,这种诱饵效应也很普遍。英属哥伦比亚大学(University of British Columbia)最近的一篇论文记录了钻石市场的诱饵效应。该论文发现,质量稍差但同样昂贵的钻石产品,可以为零售商贡献逾20%的利润。

Not everyone is equally susceptible to the decoy effect. In line with the research on other cognitive biases, the researchers have found that it depends on your thinking style. Questionnaires, for instance, can determine whether some people are more prone to listening to their gut feelings, or whether they are more analytical and prefer deliberative reasoning. (It is the more intuitive thinkers who are most likely to be swayed by a decoy.)

并非所有人都容易受到诱饵效应的影响。根据对认知偏见的研究,研究人员发现这取决于个人的思维方式。例如,问卷调查可以确定一些人是否更倾向于服从他们的直觉,或者更善于分析,更喜欢深思熟虑的推理。(直觉更好的人最有可能受到诱惑。)

Interestingly, hormones can play a part in that: higher levels of testosterone, for instance, tend to make people more impulsive, which means they are more susceptible to the decoy effect. (Even more evidence that the historic notion of biological men as the “rational sex” is completely unfounded). The decoy effect is also prevalent in group decision making – we can’t rely on others to debias our thinking.

有趣的是,激素也会起到一定的作用:例如,睾丸激素水平越高,越容易冲动,这意味着他们更容易受诱饵效应的影响。甚至有更多证据表明,生物学意义上的男性是“理性性别”,这一历史性概念是完全没有根据的。 诱饵效应在集体决策中也很普遍——我们不能依赖他人来消除我们的思维偏见。

Besides identifying who is more or less vulnerable, scientists have also explored the decoy effect in different circumstances, besides consumer decisions. Ariely, for instance, has found that it might be present in dating. According to his research, we tend to fancy someone more if they appear alongside a “decoy” who is similar looking, but slightly less attractive. That’s worth remembering if you are flicking through profiles on Tinder – your perceptions of someone’s attractiveness will depend on who came before or after.

除了确定谁更容易受影响外,科学家们还探索了除了消费之外其他情况下的诱饵效应。例如,艾瑞里发现它可能存在于约会中。根据他的研究,如果一个人和另外一个长相相似但吸引力稍低的“诱饵”一起出现,我们往往会更喜欢这个人。如果你正在浏览Tinder(婚恋交友网站)上的个人资料,这点是值得注意的。你对某人魅力的评判将取决于谁在他/她之前或之后出现过。

The decoy effect might also influence our voting in elections, and recruitment decisions. In these kinds of situations, the “decoy” may appear by accident rather than having been deliberately placed in the selection, but if you do come across two candidates who are similar, but one is slightly superior to the other, it will heighten your regard for them compared to the other competitors.

诱饵效应也可能影响我们的选举投票和招聘决定。在这些情况下,“诱饵”可能是意外出现而不是被故意设计为选项,但如果你遇到的两个候选人是类似的,其中一个略优于另一位,你对他的关注度会比其他竞争对手更高。

Chang, who has conducted research on the decoy effect on hiring decisions, wonders if this may become a particular issue as algorithms begin to screen candidates and present options to recruiters. “It could be the case that you're presenting choices consisting of decoys, and so you're actually pushing people in favour of some options,” she says. It’s not just recruiters who may be affected: recent experiments suggest the decoy effect can also influence the potential employee’s choices of workplace benefits.

琳达·张对招聘决定中的诱饵效应进行了研究,她想知道,随着算法开始筛选候选人并向招聘者提供选项,这是否会成为一个特别的问题。她说:“可能摆在你面前的,是由诱饵组成的选项,实际上是在鼓励招聘者选择某些选项。”不仅招聘人员可能会受到影响,最近的实验表明,诱饵效应也会影响应聘人员对工作单位福利的选择。

On a more positive note, scientists in the UK have also started to consider whether the decoy effect might be used to encourage people to make healthier life choices. Christian Von Wagner, a reader in behavioural science and health at University College London, for instance, recently explored people’s intentions to undergo a vital – but unpleasant – screening for colorectal cancer. He found that given the choice between arranging an appointment for the screening or not having the procedure at all, many people chose not to go. But if he also presented them with a third option – an appointment at a less convenient hospital with a longer waiting time, ie, the decoy – the uptake was greater.

更积极的一面是,英国科学家也开始考虑诱饵效应是否可以用来鼓励人们选择更健康的生活。例如,伦敦大学学院(University College London)行为科学与健康的研究员瓦格纳(Christian Von Wagner),最近就探讨了人们对重要但令人不快的结肠直肠癌筛查的态度。他发现,如果要在接受一次检查或不做检查之间做出选择,许多人选择不做。但如果同时给他们提供第三种选择——在不太方便、等待时间较长的医院预约,即设置诱饵,他们会受强烈影响。

As we saw with the other examples, this wasn’t because people chose the undesirable decoy – it simply made the screening at the original hospital appear less burdensome. In later work, Von Wagner also offered female participants the option to be examined by a doctor of the same gender (the preference) or a different gender (the decoy). Once again, the presence of the decoy increased people’s intentions to undergo the procedure. “It was very clear evidence for the presence of the decoy effect,” Von Wagner says – and proved to be more effective than other strategies, such as trying to appeal to people’s conformity by emphasising the number of other people who were also taking the test.

正如我们在其他例子中所看到的,这并不是因为人们选择了不受欢迎的诱饵,它只是让起初那家医院的筛查显得不那么繁重。在后来的研究中,瓦格纳还让女性参与者选择由性别相同的医生(偏好)或性别不同的医生(诱饵)进行检查。诱饵的存在再一次增加了人们接受筛查的意愿。瓦格纳表示:“这是非常明确的证据,证明了诱饵效应的存在。”事实证明,这种策略比其他策略更有效,比如通过强调参加筛查者的数量来吸引人的从众心理。

Here the decoy effect might save lives. But we could all apply its principles to hone our own persuasive skills in our personal and professional lives. If you are discussing travel plans with friends, for instance, and haven’t decided yet where to go, you might present two alternative arrangements at your city of choice, but one with a slightly more expensive hotel. Even if your friends might have otherwise selected a different location, the comparison might just prime them to opt for your preferred option.

在这里,诱饵效应可能会挽救生命。但我们都可以在个人和职业生涯中运用它来提升自己的说服技巧。例如,如果你正在和朋友讨论旅行计划,但还没有决定去哪里,你可能会在你选择的城市提出两种不同的安排,但其中一种是稍贵一些的酒店。这样,即使你的朋友可能已经选择了另外的城市,这种比较可能让他们认同你的首选。

Just don’t be a victim of it yourself. Whether you are buying headphones or deciding on a retirement plan, deliberately ask whether you are really choosing the option you need or want, with the attributes you were originally seeking, or whether you were distracted by a deliberately unappealing alternative. Like an expert sniper trained to avoid false targets, you may find that your judgement suddenly becomes a lot more incisive.

只是你自己不要成为它的受害者。无论你是在买耳机,还是在决定退休计划,你都要谨慎地问自己,你是否真的选择了你需要或想要的东西,你的选择是否你的初心所寻,还是你被一个故意设置的糟糕选择分散了注意力。就像一个训练有素的狙击手,需要避免错误目标,可能会发现他的判断突然变得更加敏锐。

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