Last Updated on February 23, 2022 by Rovamedia

Before the advent of digital marketing buzzwords like “customer-centric” or “consumer behavior”, the relationship between marketing and psychology was little if not void. Then enters; psychological marketing! For many decades, researchers have studied how people cognitively respond to marketing. In fact, it’s well-established fact today that people have sensorimotor, cognitive, and affective responses to marketing. Marketing psychology, sometimes called ‘Neuromarketing’, applies neuropsychology to content, marketing, and sales as a way to influence purchasing decisions.

Remember, in a previous article I had explored exclusively the intent of psychology marketing. As detailed earlier, Marketing psychology can give smart marketers and business owners a competitive advantage, by optimizing marketing strategies and tactics in ways that intentionally and proactively influence the psychology and people’s behaviors and decisions to identify more potential customers.

Psychology has a powerful impact on the world today. Our daily lives are deeply impacted by the interaction of biology, relationships, and mental processes. Psychologists are skilled at understanding the role these factors play in influencing health, happiness, and overall well-being.

Psychology is a rich and fascinating subject that has practical applications in many areas of life. If you have ever wanted to learn more about why people think and act the way they do, then studying psychology is a great way to gain greater insight into the human experience.

In this article, I’ll be writing alongside Veys, and we’d be sharing our thoughts on this phenomenon. But what are the cognitive biases and how does it affect an audience when deploying it for marketing?

Cognitive Basis: A Focal Outlook

Cognition refers to “the mental action or process of acquiring knowledge and understanding through thought, experience, and the senses”.  As the Merriam-Webster Dictionary explains, Cognitive skills and knowledge involve the ability to acquire factual information, often the kind of knowledge that can easily be tested. So cognition should be distinguished from social, emotional, and creative development and ability. Cognitive science is a growing field of study that deals with human perception, thinking, and learning.

The brain is endlessly perceiving, processing, planning, organizing, and remembering—it is always active. Yet, you don’t notice most of your brain’s activity as you move throughout your daily routine. This is only one facet of the complex processes involved in cognition. Simply put, cognition is thinking, and it encompasses the processes associated with perception, knowledge, problem-solving, judgment, language, and memory. 

Imagine all of your thoughts as if they were physical entities, swirling rapidly inside your mind. How is it possible that the brain can move from one thought to the next in an organized, orderly fashion?

Lumen Learning explains it this way;

Upon waking each morning, you begin thinking—contemplating the tasks that you must complete that day. In what order should you run your errands? Should you go to the bank, the cleaners, or the grocery store first? Can you get these things done before you head to class or will they need to wait until school is done? These thoughts are one example of cognition at work. Exceptionally complex, cognition is an essential feature of human consciousness, yet not all aspects of cognition are consciously experienced.

Cognitive psychology is the field of psychology dedicated to examining how people think. It attempts to explain how and why we think the way we do by studying the interactions among human thinking, emotion, creativity, language, and problem solving, in addition to other cognitive processes. Cognitive psychologists strive to determine and measure different types of intelligence, why some people are better at problem-solving than others, and how emotional intelligence affects success in the workplace, among countless other topics. They also sometimes focus on how we organize thoughts and information gathered from our environments into meaningful categories of thought, which will be discussed later.

What Makes a Cognitive Bias?

The concept of cognitive bias was first introduced by researchers Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahneman in 1972. Since then, researchers have described several different types of biases that affect decision-making in a wide range of areas including social behavior, cognition, behavioral economics, education, management, healthcare, business, and finance.

A cognitive bias is a systematic pattern of deviation from norm or rationality in judgment. Individuals create their own “subjective reality” from their perception of the input. An individual’s construction of reality, not the objective input, may dictate their behavior in the world.

You can see cognitive bias as a systematic error in thinking that occurs when people are processing and interpreting information in the world around them and affects the decisions and judgments that they make. Cognitive biases are often a result of your brain’s attempt to simplify information processing.

Signs of Cognitive Bias

Everyone exhibits cognitive bias as opined by VeryWellMind. It might be easier to spot in others, but it is important to know that it is something that also affects your thinking. Some signs that you might be influenced by some type of cognitive bias include:

  • Only paying attention to news stories that confirm your opinions
  • Blaming outside factors when things don’t go your way
  • Attributing other people’s success to luck, but taking personal credit for your own accomplishments
  • Assuming that everyone else shares your opinions or beliefs
  • Learning a little about a topic and then assuming you know all there is to know about it

When you are making judgments and decisions about the world around you, you like to think that you are objective, logical, and capable of taking in and evaluating all the information that is available to you. Unfortunately, these biases sometimes trip us up, leading to poor decisions and bad judgments.

Cogintive Biases: Case Studies

Having been involved in the marketing scene for many years, and co-founding Hopefully, I’ve analyzed, tested, and deployed many cognitive biases case studies. To organize this staggering amount of information, the brain has developed a file cabinet of sorts in the mind. The different files stored in the file cabinet are called concepts. Concepts are categories or groupings of linguistic information, images, ideas, or memories, such as life experiences.

Concepts are, in many ways, big ideas that are generated by observing details, and categorizing and combining these details into cognitive structures. You use concepts to see the relationships among the different elements of your experiences and to keep the information in your mind organized and accessible. Another technique used by your brain to organize information is the identification of prototypes for the concepts you have developed. A prototype is the best example or representation of a concept.

Want to influence people? Use cognitive biases. I’d let Yannick Veys express his school of thoughts in this regard. Veys, over to you!

Yes, Uchechukwu thank you for taking us along on the overview of cognitive psychology, This section is filled with examples on how to use cognitive biases to your advantage but will disappear in 48 hours. So be quick!

1. Scarcity:

You were just the “victim” of the first bias – Scarcity. Limited time, limited amount, they entice you to act because you realize you could lose out on a (perceived) benefit.

In reality, I might just extend the “validity” of this section.

2. Anchoring:

What would you say if I offered you a $2,000 coaching program to make all your dreams come through? In reality, I already know you can’t afford it so I have a great alternative for you.

All the courses, checklists, and examples are included in the coaching program for just $49.

That’s what Anchoring is. By first giving you the high ticket offer of $2,000 you think the $49 is a steal. In reality, it’s just a way to get you to buy the $49 offer.

Now I’ll make it even more interesting to you.

3. Loss Aversion:

I have a coupon for you for 50% off. But it’s only valid for the next 24 hours.

I just gave you something of value. A “coupon”. You can almost feel it in your hands and you’re now afraid to lose it. So you want to redeem it.

That’s what’s called Loss aversion.

Owners of assets want to get more money for what they’re HODLING vs people who’re not HODLING. It’s basic psychology.


4. Authority Leveler:

I have 18,000 followers. And if I say something, it’s more true than if someone with 43 followers says it.

  • Followers
  • Fortune
  • Fame

It’s all used as an Authority lever. You buy from people you know or that are well known. The Kardashians, Beckhams, all capitalize on this.

5. Framing Effect:

If you don’t read my next tweet you will have to pay me a $5 fine.

If you read my next tweet I will love you forever. The example above is the Framing effect.

Framing things negatively (pay me) is more effective than positive (get love/paid).

6. Halo Effect:

Google’s Super Bowl ad is only aired because of the Halo effect.

They hope that an ad like that, which makes us feel all mushy inside, will rob off on how we perceive their entire business. Making their privacy breaches less Top of Mind.

7. Commitment Biases:

Could I borrow your pen, please?

It’s a small ask & most people would say yes.

Because most people say yes, they’re also inclined to say yes to a bigger ask. Could you also sign this petition against XYZ, please?

That’s Commitment bias. The unwillingness to contradict ourselves.

The first tweet of this section is going to be massively referenced by people like you. Stay on the Bandwagon (effect) and show that you read this and know how to use cognitive biases to your advantage!

OK, one more!

8. Specificity Bias:

You will be fined $6.42 if you don’t share this post!

That’s called the specificity bias. If something looks like it’s been calculated and not rounded it must be true!

As you know, if people don’t share this article on their feeds, they have failed in this small task and are now likely to fail in life generally. As you all know no one wants to be around failures in life. They just aren’t attractive people. So Uchechukwu, what do you have to say in conclusion?

Conclusion: Cognitive Biases Is For Marketing

Thank you, Veys! Wow, you just made me start questioning everything marketing. You know what Veys? These case studies you just referenced are always staring at our faces every day.

Concepts are at the core of intelligent behavior. We expect people to be able to know what to do in new situations and when confronting new objects. If you go into a new classroom and see chairs, a blackboard, a projector, and a screen, you know what these things are and how they will be used. You’ll sit on one of the chairs and expect the instructor to write on the blackboard or project something onto the screen. You do this even if you have never seen any of these particular objects before, because you have concepts of classrooms, chairs, projectors, and so forth, that tell you what they are and what you’re supposed to do with them. Furthermore, if someone tells you a new fact about the projector—for example, that it has a halogen bulb—you are likely to extend this fact to other projectors you encounter. In short, concepts allow you to extend what you have learned about a limited number of objects to a potentially infinite set of entities.

An average individual’s mind wanders 30% of the time. As Leverage Edu opines, our brains help us interpret the environment, recognize everyone and everything, learn new knowledge, and ironically, we really don’t know how much of our brains work. However, modern neuroscience and neuropsychology have made significant strides in explaining the impact our minds have on our daily tasks. This is why Psychology feels intriguing and thought-provoking to many!

In fact, move over definitions and what is it threads, this article teaches you cognitive biases by applying them to you. It’s not dark magic. It’s just knowing how things work! Cognitive bias makes marketing fun because marketing psychology anticipates buyer behavior by understanding our cognitive biases. The ‘Action Paralysis Principle’ is where this is deployed. Note that people commonly second guess their own behavior, especially if they’re not sure how their decision will impact them or people close to them.

Understanding marketing psychology will give you a competitive edge in the digital market.  More than this, understanding and anticipating consumer behavior will enable you to get closer to your customers and provide them with elevated shopping experiences

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