My name is Laurie Santos.
I teach psychology at YaleUniversity,
and today, I want to talk to youabout pricing biases.
This lecture is part of aseries on cognitive biases.
You’ve just won a raffle,
and your prize is a bottle of wine.
Here are your choices.
Option number one is a lovelybottle of California Pinot Noir
that costs twenty dollars.
Option number two is anotherbottle of Pinot Noir,
from the same region, thatcosts fifty dollars.
Which would you choose?
If you’re like most people, you probably went with the more expensive wine.
不论人们的选项涉及到葡萄酒 肉 甚至是卡带录音机
People tend to pick the most expensive option,
whether their choices involve wine, or meats, or even cassette players.
What’s a bit weirder, though,
is the fact that we still like higher-priced good
even when we know that the price it totally arbitrary.
One experiment that showed this bias at work
was done by the neuroscientist Hilke Plassman and her colleagues.
They allowed people to taste a glass of wine from two bottles
that were labeled as eitherten dollars or ninety dollars.
What they didn’t tellparticipants, however,
was that the two bottles were identical.
They contained exactlythe same wine inside.
Even though the wines should have tasted identically,
people reported liking the wine with the more expensive price tag even better.
It seems that merely labeling one thing as more expensive makes us like it more.
We seem to be confusing agood’s price with its value.
This confusion is what’sknown as a”price effect.”
Simply telling someone thatsomething costs more make them like it more.
And the effect seems to hold for lots of different kinds of goods.
You might be tempted to think that
people aren’t as fooled as it seems in Plassman and colleagues’ studies.
Maybe people just say theylike expensive stuff better,
even though they don’t reallysubjectively feel like it’s better.
Plassman and her colleagues worried about that too,
which is why they used a pretty ingenious technique
to test whether subjects actually liked one wine better than the other.
Rather than just asking subjects, they used brain imaging techniques
to test how people’s brains processed the same wine with different price tags.
They found that the parts of a subject’s brain that process rewards,
the same spots that would fire a lot if you won some money,
or saw an attractive mate, or even tasted an amazing dessert,
fired more for the very same wine
when it was labeled with a higher price tag.
So our pricing biasesappear to affect more than
just the subjective evaluationswe report on a survey.
We seem to like higher-priced things more,
even at the level of thereward areas in our brains.
But arbitrarily higher prices don’t just affect what we like.
They can also affect howwell a given product works.
The behavioral economistBaba Shiv and his colleagues
let people pay differentamounts for an energy drink,
and then tested how those drinks worked.
Did they make peoplemore or less energized?
Shiv and his colleagues found that people reported feeling more energized
after drinking the very same energy drink with a higher price tag.
But they also did better on a set of mental acuity puzzles.
Somehow, participants really weremore energized after a drink with a high price tag.
than when drinking an identical drink with a lower price tag.
These results suggest that the price we pay,
for an aspirin, or a bottle of wine, or even an energy drink,
doesn’t just affect what’s in our wallets.
Because of price biases skills,
our minds assume that higher prices mean better quality,
even in cases where the price of a good is totally arbitrary.