UPA Boston: The Mind of the User

Posted on: June 13, 2010

At the UPA Boston conference, Colleen Roller discussed why seemingly insignificant aspects of information presentation can have a surprising effect on people’s perceptions and behavior.

  • People like to make easy choices
  • Cognitive fluency is how easy or difficult it is to think about something. Cognitive fluency is subtle and pervasive.
  • People tend to be attracted to what is: average, familiar, symmetrical.
  • The mere exposure effect – Exposing people to stimuli more than once increases attractiveness
  • What impacts how people determine the truth of unfamiliar statements? The size / color of text, frequency of exposure, rhyming words.
  • Rhyming words are an easier cognitive load / mental ease
  • People apply the sensation of mental ease to statements
  • Fluency of perceived truth is as follows: easy to decipher => must be familiar / safe => must be popular  (reply on social consensus when unsure) => must be true
  • People perceive things with names that are hard to pronounce as: risky, new & novel, exciting and full of adventure, likely to make them sick
  • Something that feels hard to decipher => is not familiar => must be risky
  • Rhyming text is easily remembered and seems more accurate
  • How its worded / appearance changes perception of statement (rhyme as reason effect)
  • People will postpone difficult decisions when the fond size used is difficult to read.
  • What can help people be more careful and prevent silly mistakes on tests? Using a font that is difficult to read.
  • A personal questionnaire that is less legible causes people to answer less honestly
  • To boost student morale, ask them to list a few reasons why they’ll succeed, many reasons why they my fail. It raises moral because the amount of mental work needed to come up with a long list of reasons for failure changes perception.

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Alla Zollers

I design products and services that just. make. sense.

When products make sense, customers are happy.

If customer are happy, they sign-up, stay on site, engage, share, and buy your product or service.

Happy customers allow companies to profit in both senses of the word.

I provide the following services:

• Heuristic Evaluations
• Discovery Research
• Strategy and Vision Development
• Information Architecture
• User Experience Design
• Usability Testing

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