Brain Game: Behavioural economics – the complete picture?
The picture here shows a young couple taking part in one of shopping's great rituals – the search for an engagement ring. It's a routine that's been established in the consumer mainstream since the late 1930s – and you would think that by now we would have a pretty robust idea of what takes place on such occasions.
However, our view of this and other familiar shopping scenes has been transformed in recent years. We now know that an unseen landscape of contextual and unconscious factors has the potential to sway our couple's choice in ways that they may well, themselves, be completely unaware of. The playing field of choice is by no means level – and we can't resist the challenge of working out exactly how it might be slanted.