VMSD - September 2017 - 72

CHECKING OUT

C OUR TE SY PE NGUIN R ANDOM HOUSE

Interview by Jennifer Acevedo

Adam Alter

This New York University
Professor of Marketing
articulates how subtle
changes in our environment
can lead to big changes in
our behavior - and what that
means for retail designers.
Your background is in social and
cognitive psychology. How did you
become interested in how environmental
cues affect our thoughts and actions?
One of the things I noticed as I got further into my
graduate career was how many really surprising
effects arose from very, very subtle changes in the
world around us, and how sensitive humans are to
these changes. What was especially interesting is
that so many of them were counterintuitive, or very
hard to predict ahead of time.
Let's talk about how your book, "Drunk
Tank Pink: And Other Unexpected
Forces That Shape How We Think, Feel,
and Behave," got its name.
"Drunk tank" pink is a shade of bright, bubble gum
pink. In the late 1970s and early '80s, psychologists
were trying to figure out how to improve the behavior of students in classrooms. They got a grant from
the Canadian government, which said, 'You can
paint all sorts of classrooms different colors, and
we'll see which ones have the best effects.' For some
reason, this really bright bubble-gummy pink color
calmed the students down, made them more wellbehaved and reduced their delinquency rates.

72

SEPTEMBER 2017

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VMSD.COM

Something as simple
as exposure to a color
changed their behavior?
TOPIC
IRDCONLINE.COM
There's something about it that
calms people down, even makes
them a little bit physically weaker. There's
this famous experiment where [scientists] held up
pieces of pink and blue cardboard in front of college-age males and asked them to grip a device that
measures grip strength. They found that they were
less able to grip strongly when they were looking at
pink rather than blue.

Mirror,
Mirror

How do these findings relate to retail
design?
What happens when you go shopping in the real
world [is that] buying becomes an experience -
something you do, it has a narrative. You look at
the options, you pick something, and you take it
home. That experience is really important for a
human's wellbeing. We thrive on narrative and on
experiences, and when you search for something
online and you buy it, it truncates that whole experience. It makes it much less of an experience than
it would have been if you'd gone out and actually
shopped in the store. x

anything that feels like a meta-

Is there a finding in
your research that's
truly surprised you?
Humans like things that remind
them of themselves. We're a
pretty egocentric species, and

phorical mirror, as though we're
looking at ourselves, is appealing
to us. We all process thousands
of marketing messages, yet if
there's a hurricane that happens
to share the first initial [in your
name], then there's enough of a
personal overlap that it attracts
your interest - it cuts through the
noise.


http://www.IRDCONLINE.COM http://www.VMSD.COM

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of VMSD - September 2017

VMSD - September 2017
Contents
From the Editor
Vmsd Editorial Advisory Board
The Goods
Design Detail
New Beginnings
Tearing Down Walls
Car Talk
Special Report: Retail Lighting Design
Showroom
Ad Index
Checking Out
VMSD - September 2017 - Intro
VMSD - September 2017 - VMSD - September 2017
VMSD - September 2017 - Cover2
VMSD - September 2017 - 1
VMSD - September 2017 - Contents
VMSD - September 2017 - 3
VMSD - September 2017 - From the Editor
VMSD - September 2017 - 5
VMSD - September 2017 - Vmsd Editorial Advisory Board
VMSD - September 2017 - 7
VMSD - September 2017 - The Goods
VMSD - September 2017 - BI1
VMSD - September 2017 - BI2
VMSD - September 2017 - T1
VMSD - September 2017 - T2
VMSD - September 2017 - T3
VMSD - September 2017 - T4
VMSD - September 2017 - T5
VMSD - September 2017 - T6
VMSD - September 2017 - T7
VMSD - September 2017 - T8
VMSD - September 2017 - T9
VMSD - September 2017 - T10
VMSD - September 2017 - T11
VMSD - September 2017 - T12
VMSD - September 2017 - T13
VMSD - September 2017 - T14
VMSD - September 2017 - T15
VMSD - September 2017 - T16
VMSD - September 2017 - 9
VMSD - September 2017 - 10
VMSD - September 2017 - 11
VMSD - September 2017 - 12
VMSD - September 2017 - 13
VMSD - September 2017 - Design Detail
VMSD - September 2017 - 15
VMSD - September 2017 - 16
VMSD - September 2017 - 17
VMSD - September 2017 - New Beginnings
VMSD - September 2017 - 19
VMSD - September 2017 - 20
VMSD - September 2017 - 21
VMSD - September 2017 - 22
VMSD - September 2017 - 23
VMSD - September 2017 - 24
VMSD - September 2017 - 25
VMSD - September 2017 - 26
VMSD - September 2017 - 27
VMSD - September 2017 - 28
VMSD - September 2017 - 29
VMSD - September 2017 - 30
VMSD - September 2017 - 31
VMSD - September 2017 - 32
VMSD - September 2017 - 33
VMSD - September 2017 - 34
VMSD - September 2017 - 35
VMSD - September 2017 - 36
VMSD - September 2017 - 37
VMSD - September 2017 - Tearing Down Walls
VMSD - September 2017 - 39
VMSD - September 2017 - 40
VMSD - September 2017 - 41
VMSD - September 2017 - 42
VMSD - September 2017 - 43
VMSD - September 2017 - Car Talk
VMSD - September 2017 - 45
VMSD - September 2017 - 46
VMSD - September 2017 - Special Report: Retail Lighting Design
VMSD - September 2017 - 48
VMSD - September 2017 - 49
VMSD - September 2017 - 50
VMSD - September 2017 - 51
VMSD - September 2017 - 52
VMSD - September 2017 - 53
VMSD - September 2017 - 54
VMSD - September 2017 - 55
VMSD - September 2017 - 56
VMSD - September 2017 - 57
VMSD - September 2017 - 58
VMSD - September 2017 - 59
VMSD - September 2017 - 60
VMSD - September 2017 - Showroom
VMSD - September 2017 - 62
VMSD - September 2017 - 63
VMSD - September 2017 - 64
VMSD - September 2017 - 65
VMSD - September 2017 - 66
VMSD - September 2017 - Ad Index
VMSD - September 2017 - 68
VMSD - September 2017 - 69
VMSD - September 2017 - 70
VMSD - September 2017 - 71
VMSD - September 2017 - Checking Out
VMSD - September 2017 - Cover3
VMSD - September 2017 - Cover4
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