Page 1

2013

Consumer Behavior

Emily Runde, Jessica King, Sarah Parillo Final Project 5/24/2013


Table of Contents Hypothesis.................................................................................................................................................... 2 Observation ................................................................................................................................................. 2 The Experiment Design .............................................................................................................................. 3 Sample Data Sheet .................................................................................................................................. 3 Field Data..................................................................................................................................................... 4 Data Charts.................................................................................................................................................. 5 Analysis ........................................................................................................................................................ 6 Theory Developed ....................................................................................................................................... 7 APPENDIX I ............................................................................................................................................. 10 Raw Data ............................................................................................................................................... 10 APPENDIX II ............................................................................................................................................ 11 Citations ................................................................................................................................................. 11

1|Page


Hypothesis When offered a sample of a wrapped product versus an unwrapped product, the subject will pick the wrapped.

Observation Our prediction is that when given the option between wrapped and unwrapped samples, the majority of subjects will choose to pick a sample that is wrapped. Have you ever heard of the motto, “Don’t eat the Halloween candy that is unwrapped”? 1 We believe that individuals will feel uncomfortable taking the unwrapped product based on cleanliness and unfamiliarity with the distributor, just like if it were your child’s large bag of Halloween candy that they had accumulated from various strangers around the neighborhood. The wrapped sample provides a sense of security to the subject in that the product has not been exposed to unknown elements in the environment and is less likely to have been tampered with.

1

http://www.childrensdmc.org/upload/docs/HALLOWEEN_TIPS.pdf

2|Page


Experiment Design We will be putting together a direct observation experiment. We will have a tray of free food samples in a public area. The tray will have an equal amount of wrapped and unwrapped product on it, giving individuals the option to choose from one or the other. Our recorded data will determine if our hypothesis is correct.

Sample Data Sheet Final Project Took Wrapped Took Unwrapped Youth, Middle Age, Old (Y/M/O) 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19

3|Page

Gender Alone/Group (A/G) Whole Group took 1? Y/N


Field Data (Refer to Appendix I for raw data)

*Controlled Variables: Type of product, amount of product available, location, time of day, and the wrapped & unwrapped samples. *Uncontrolled Variables: Subjects choice of wrapped/unwrapped, who will accept the sample, and amount of foot traffic in area. Location: Westlake Center, the Art Institute of Seattle, Pike Place Market Sample: Mini snickers Time of Day: 10:30AM-1:00PM For this experiment we chose to distribute samples of an easily recognizable brand that comes pre-wrapped. Candy is an affordable choice that can be purchased in bulk and Snickers bars are the most popular candy bar sold today2, making this the logical choice. We chose to distribute the candies in areas that receive high foot traffic and are common locations for free samples and other goods to be offered. This made it easier to distribute the samples quickly without a lot of hesitation or confusion from our subjects. Factors that we took into consideration when retrieving our data: 1. Did they take a wrapped or unwrapped candy bar? 2. Predict what age category they would fall into. (Youth = 20 yrs. & below; Mature/Middle Age = 21-50 yrs.; Old = 51 yrs. & above)3 3. The gender of the subject. 4. If the subject was alone or in a group. 5. If in a group, did all subjects take a sample?

2

http://www.todayifoundout.com/index.php/2010/10/the-snickers-candy-bar-was-named-after-a-favorite-horseof-creator-frank-mars-in-1930/ 3 The age categories are broad and might not follow standard definitions of the terms.

4|Page


Data Chart

5|Page


Analysis We wanted to find out which type of free sample was more desirable when in a public area. The two samples that we offered were: one with a wrapper and one without the wrapper. We went to two different locations Pike Place Market and Westlake center. We had a tray filled with mini Snicker bars. Half of the tray had wrapped Snickers bars and the other half had unwrapped Snickers. Both of these snacks were placed in a clear cup. When we were testing our hypothesis in the community, our conclusion wasn’t congruent. We thought that the majority of the subjects would take the wrapped sample because it was more hygienic. Based on the chart above for the total number of people we encountered, the majority decided to take the unwrapped snack. When talking to the subjects after they made their decision, they talked about why they had made their decision. The subjects that decided to take the unwrapped snack stated that they didn’t want to worry about opening the wrapper before enjoying the treat. There were others that stated that they trusted us (the carriers of the snack) so they assumed the snack wouldn’t harm them. One mother stated she chose the unwrapped snack so that she could eat it quickly and not share with her child. Some stated that the item looked good when it was unwrapped therefore enticing them to try that one instead. When a person picked the wrapped item they mentioned after that it was for sanitary purposes. Some caregivers stated that they wanted the younger subject to put the snack in their pocket to enjoy later instead of right away. Some subjects were taking multiple snacks and it seemed that the wrapped product was ideal for this situation. Another subject mentioned that they knew what the product was when it was wrapped in its original package. If the subject inquired about the product before making a decision, they were more likely to pick the wrapped product as well.

6|Page


Conclusion Even though we couldn’t talk to every subject that took a free sample, the general conclusion for this product came down to two major factors. When taking a wrapped item it was based on the idea of the product being more hygienic and, when taking an unwrapped item, it was based on convenience. We thought the majority of the population were more concerned about their hygiene and we were proven wrong. Based on our direct observation, the need for convenience is slightly higher than the need for a more sanitary product.

7|Page


Theory Developed The data collected can be evaluated through Richard Gregory’s Theory of Visual Perception. Psychologists believe that visual perception goes beyond just the physical capability to see, hear, touch, and smell and that we also observe items differently based on our own experiences. The viewer’s previous knowledge and experiences can change how a certain stimulus is perceived. Our study with the wrapped and unwrapped snacks indicate that people distinguish the sight of unwrapped and wrapped snacks differently based on their own individual experiences and knowledge. Our hypothesis stated that people would prefer the wrapped candy over the unwrapped because of hygienic reasons, due to the unfamiliarity with the distributor. We predicted that the person might perceive the unwrapped product as unclean because it has been opened. This would be an example of Gregory’s theory because the item does not look dirty in any way, but the viewer might recognize it as unclean because it is unwrapped and we are not familiar. Another experience that might affect how a person would identify unwrapped candy could be the link to the warnings of poisoned Halloween candies that are broadcasted every trick-or-treat season. People experienced fear from these warnings, therefore the sight of unwrapped candy might remind them of the warnings and they will think the candy is dangerous. The stories that provoked these warnings in the first place were later proved a myth. People still fear candy from strangers because fear is an emotion that is stored in the brain and continues to alter people’s perception. The data collected did prove our hypothesis wrong because a slight majority of the subjects took the unwrapped candy. We believe this can also be compared to Gregory’s theory. Gregory states that 90% of the information that reaches the eye is lost before it reaches the brain. This means that the brain must fill in the rest of the picture based on knowledge and past experiences. When looking at a woman giving out free samples of candy, the brain sees the items in the environment, such as the woman, the tray, and the samples. This is then combined with the previously stored information, like the memory of sweet chocolate. Gregory believed that perception is a hypothesis; we make assumptions based on experiences from the past. So a majority of the subjects trusted us and ate the unwrapped candy. The fact that we appeared clean

8|Page


and were in a public setting where other businesses give out samples set the environment as a safe one. Our visual perception is constantly changing and learning and Gregory proves this through optical illusions. Often optical illusions are hard to see, but once we have seen the illusion it is difficult to remove that from our memory. So even though many were taught as children not to take candy from strangers, our society has adapted us to perceive certain situations as safe.

9|Page


APPENDIX I Raw Data (See Attached)

10 | P a g e


APPENDIX II Citations

"HALLOWEEN SAFETY TIPS." CHILDRENâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;S HOSPITAL OF MICHIGAN REGIONAL POISON CONTROL CENTER. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 May 2013. <http://www.childrensdmc.org/upload/docs/HALLOWEEN_TIPS.pdf>. Hiskey, Daven. "The Snickers Candy Bar Was Named After a Favorite Horse of Creator Frank Mars in 1930." Today I Found Out RSS. N.p., 11 Oct. 2010. Web. 22 May 2013. <http://www.todayifoundout.com/index.php/2010/10/the-snickers-candy-bar-was-named-after-afavorite-horse-of-creator-frank-mars-in-1930/>.

11 | P a g e

Consumerbehavior final mjrandmnr