DECODED

Phil Barden 

The one-sentence summary

Decision science is not smoke and mirrors – it can be applied in a practical way if properly understood.

WHAT THE BOOK SAYS

  • The science behind why we buy can now mainly be explained.
  • Our autopilot (system 1, implicit) has a far greater bearing on purchasing decisions than many think. Behavioural economics has been saying this for some time. This is effortless, automatic, fast action.
  • The pilot (system 2, explicit) is the rational, apparently controlled process that is usually mentioned in research as a reason to buy – but this is often misleading since people can’t even explain it themselves.

ELEMENTS OF THE BOOK I PARTICULARLY LIKE

  • Purchasing involves a decision between reward (ownership) and pain (price): the brain offsets the two to create a ‘net value’. Price lists with no pound signs sell more because the monetary symbols trigger pain signals.
  • Triggering process endowment is important – people are more likely to purchase again with a loyalty card showing some stamps already filled in because they feel they are already underway.
  • We are victim to hyperbolic discounting: we will happily have £100 now rather than £120 some time later.