Happy Thanksgiving

Consumers frequently have to choose between options that satisfy very different and often competing goals. For example, you’re at a restaurant and that piece of chocolate cake displayed under the counter is talking to you. But your “fit self” thinks you should grab an apple instead. Or you’re out shopping and have to choose between two pairs of shoes. One pair is more stylish but the other is much more comfortable. Such situations are common and consumers who find themselves torn between two goals are the most susceptible to influence.

Goals initially ignored by consumers do not fade away, but will instead linger in the backs of our minds. During the time we ignore a particular goal, it will get stronger and eventually come to the surface. We can no longer ignore the goal and we then flip-flop between various options…

“Our study provides a glimpse into why consumers feel so much angst when they encounter choices with conflicting goals. Namely, the goal that appears to have been initially ignored finds new energy on the back burner and reasserts itself at the next earliest opportunity. In short, important goals are hard to ignore because ignoring them just makes them stronger,” the authors conclude. –Science Daily

Fiction Writing Prompt: What goals does your protagonist have on the back burner that may be interfering with his or her focus on the primary goal for the storyline? Write a scene that shows the interference.

Journaling Prompt: What goals do you flip flop on? How do you deal with it?

Art Prompt: Consumer flip flop

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Inform your readers about how goals that they ignore become stronger and how they can use this psychological quirk to attain their desires.

Photo Credit: faith goble on Flickr

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