The 'irrationalisation' of surveys: Using behavioural economics to improve research results

Kevin Karty, Jeffrey Henning, Janet Thai, Bin Yu and Steve Lamoureux
Affinnova, USA


One of the most popular methods for assessing the likely success of innovations ranging from new products to product refreshes to new positioning is the monadic test.

The monadic test represents a desire to be as clinical and rational as possible when asking a respondent to evaluate a product or concept. A concept is shown to a respondent in isolation, often devoid of the context under which actual purchases are made, and respondents are asked how likely they are to purchase this concept. In a pure monadic test, a single respondent evaluates one, and only one, concept. In a sequential monadic test, a respondent might evaluate two to four concepts one after another in random order. The monadic test assumes that respondents are able to predict their future behavior with some degree of accuracy in a clinical fashion.