Blink introduces us to the power of thin-slicing by way of example. In no more than 15 minutes of observation, Gottman can predict with 90 per cent accuracy whether a couple will be together in 15 years. Or consider how an art expert thin-sliced a year-old Greek statue in the blink of an eye and was able to tell it was a fake. Or consult the retired soldier whose thin-slicing intuition can outwit the supercomputers of the US Armed Forces. The great thing about thin-slicing, argues Gladwell, is that we can all do it, especially when it comes to thin-slicing each other.
Evolution has honed our social intelligence, allowing us read people accurately based on fleeting first impressions — which is why speed dating and chatroulette might actually be a good idea. But how can marketers harness the power of thin-slicing to cut through data smog and make smarter decisions? Our conscious mind is the tip of the cognitive iceberg, and what we feel as intuition is really the result of unconscious rapid cognition, fast and frugal information processing that goes on subliminally.
Thin-slicing harnesses this powerful adaptive unconsciousness, allowing us to make smart decisions based on minimal information and minimal deliberation. Just thin-slice it. For experienced marketers with a proven track-record, this may indeed be the smart option. However, Gladwell warns us that experience and expertise are preconditions to effective thin-slicing; untrained intuition leads to bad decisions based on prejudice, bias and stereotypes.
Which is why it often makes sense to seek advice from category and industry experts to inform task at hand. In the blink of an eye, a single expert can usually tell you more than a mountain of survey data. Rather than ask for explicit feedback as you would in a survey subject to a whole host of research biases such as self-censure and social-desirability biases , the IAT measures feedback implicitly and directly through the time it takes for consumers to complete thin-slicing tasks researcher resources.
Head over to the Project Implicit site , and take a test to find out just how — behind the veil of political correctness — racist, sexist or ageist you really are — and then talk to your research agency about using the IAT for concept testing and attitude measurement. Or Sign In With.
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Little, Brown and Company. Paul J. Life Well Balanced. The term blink refers to the blink of an eye, that is, to a very short moment that leaves no time for conscious consideration of alternatives before a decision takes place. Mystery solved!
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