implicit reaction test (IRT)
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How do respondents feel after taking an implicit reaction time survey?
We always like to finish a survey by asking respondents their experiences of taking a test. These are the themes that come from their responses.
1. Fun and engaging
“Fun to do”, “send me more”, “loved it”, “excellent”, “entertaining and friendly”, “a good experience”, “cool and enjoyable”, “interactive, “innovative”, “unique”, “a nice twist”, “like playing a game”, “aroused my curiosity”.
When respondents find a survey inetresting and engaging, they are more likely to offer their true feelings.
2. Better than taditional surveys
“Not too wordy”, “less overwhelming and tiring”, “better than most surveys”, “better than multiple-choice questions”, “doesn’t beat about the bush”, “not too long”, “unlike open-ended questions, which are hard”.
Traditional surveys can be very lengthy and demanding, and hence less engaging.
3. I don’t understand how it works
“I didn’t understand the purpose”, “I don’t understand what it does”, “what was the point?”.
When respondents can’t work out exactly what you are asking, they have no incentive or opportunity to fake their responses.
4. It was quick
“It was very fast”, “not too long”, “reasonable length”, “easy to do”, “not difficult”, “short and sweet”, “more like this please”.
Implicit reaction time tests are quick and easy to do. This makes them easier to recruit respondents than lengthier, traditional surveys.
Getting insights from data – getting to the “why?”
When you ask consumers about your products, make sure you are using the correct research method.
You may have read about the now famous story of Herman Miller’s Aeron office chair. He developed the chair through the cycle of development, market research, more development, more market research, and so on. Finally, deciding on the design we see now. His research focussed on asking consumers two questions (1) please rate the chair on comfort and (2) please rate the chair on aesthetics. His plan was to use the design which received the highest ratings on both. The trouble was that any design he created got very low ratings on both, even though in his mind he thought he had designed the perfect office chair. Notwithstanding this poor consumer feedback, he went to market…and it became the top selling office chair!
The moral of the story? When you ask someone to rate something new, if it is not simple and obvious or they really can’t verbalise how they feel, they will say they don’t like it. Often consumers will choose the least sophisticated option when they are forced to say why they like it.
The psychologist Tim Wilson has carried out a lot of research showing that when people say they actually like something they often make up a story – an explanation that has no resemblance to reality (in a typical experiment it is the manipulation that determined the liking rather than the story the participant made up). Infact, Tim Wilson has shown that people actually have very poor insights into their own inner worlds – he argues that we are strangers to ourselves.
Consumer Insights – Beyond Liking
To yield more effective consumer insights, we need to go beyond what is immediately visible and dig deeper. We need to examine why the consumer is doing what they are doing in their own world. Insights that are fresh, true, targeted and actionable are those we need to develop.
Split Second’s Implicit research methods go beyond liking. They seek to ask why a consumer prefers this brand, product, or packaging rather than that brand, product or packaging. It can tell us why and how one piece of advertising creative will work on one target audience but not another demographic. Split second’s implicit conusmer testing is able to characterise the feelings the consumer has towards the products, going much deeper than simple liking and disliking. The method is very consumer focussed and bypasses those biases that can influence verbal responses. Split second’s implicit tests are very difficult to fake, hence they provide a pure read-out of consumers’ feelings.
New product development should be cyclical: design the concept, test the market, design the prototype, test the market, develop several design options and test the market. Before implicit technology, this was a slow process, but now with the aid of our IMPRESS platform this product development cycle becomes a reality. We can turn around results in 48 hours, so your development team can get on with the business of optimising the product.
Dr Eamon Fulcher
10 Reasons for using an implicit survey
How it works
This post also answers the related questions and issues that we are often asked:
10 reasons for using an implicit reaction test (IRT).
10 reasons for using an implicit association test (IAT) in consumer research.
10 reasons not to solely rely on a traditional survey.
- Traditional surveys don’t always have a very good way of measuring what is in consumers’ hearts.
- Implicit surveys get right at consumers’ hearts. It’s exactly what the method is all about.
- People often tell you what they think you want them to hear in a traditional survey.
- In an implicit reaction time survey, people don’t explicitly tell you how they feel, they reveal it to you in their reaction times.
- People often fail to make real discriminations in a traditional survey, hence all their product evaluations tend to converge around the average score.
- In an implicit survey people cannot influence their scores (they can’t play the game to influence the results). Hence they make highly discriminating responses, and we often get very distinctive profiles of a brand/pack/advert and so on.
- A traditional survey can often tell you which product or brand is most liked but not why.
- An implicit survey not only reveals the best product, pack, brand, advert, and so on, it can tell you why because it will use 20 to 40 attributes and these are typically highly discriminating. The attributes provide you with a detailed profile of each brand/item.
- In a traditional survey, people often can’t verbalise how they feel but they are required to answer anyway.
- In an implicit survey, people don’t make evaluative judgements, they just try to press the correct keys and so allowing inferences to be made about how they feel – it captures their inner feelings.
Dr Eamon Fulcher