Pierre Chandon

Pierre Chandon Professor of Marketing at INSEAD France completed a study with four other US based Marketing professors on the theme of ‘When Does the past repeat itself? The Role of Self-Prediction and Norms.”

I found the findings from the study to be very interesting and the concepts in human behavior in normative & non-normative activities to be enlightening.

“Everybody becomes more average” is supported by the study and it would seem that there is a regression towards the norm.

Professor Chandon has also written a few articles on obesity and eating habits.I recommend you to read his papers. Understanding how much we are ‘mindless’ most of the time in our behavior is mind blowing.

Only a month ago, while discussing with a group of supermarket owners, I insisted with them in creating in their customers the pattern of behavior which will bring them back to shop at their respective stores. These habits once acquired become hard to break.

“What we know is that some habits are very hard to break. Anyone who has tried to lose weight or tried to change a habit knows it’s very difficult. So we’re interested in what can we do to make people change their habits,” Chandon says. “And one very simple thing is to ask people if they’re going to do it again next month. This has a very strong impact on whether people repeat what they normally do, or do what they think they should do.”

The study covered “normative” activities such as exercising, and non normative ones, such as grocery shopping. “When we ask people to predict whether or not they’re going to go grocery shopping, there’s really no norm about how often you should go grocery shopping. Just by asking people that question reminds people what they have normally done in the past and, as a result, they’re more likely to repeat it in the future.” So where there is ‘no ideal behaviour’ as is the case with grocery shopping, asking people to predict their future actions increases the likelihood that they will repeat their past behaviour. ( INSEAD: Assistant Professor of Marketing Pierre Chandon)


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