A word from Michael Friedman

What’s the new ‘buzz word’ in your domain? What does it mean and what do we do with it?
Implicit measurement is something we’re hearing a lot about.
What does it mean? There are many different definitions. A basic one is that, with implicit measurement, researchers seek to infer the contents of mental life through experimental procedures. This type of measurement is thought to be beyond the respondent’s awareness and beyond his or her subjective control.
A lot of claims have been made about implicit measurement, but research does not support all of them. At InSites Consulting, we are exploring and implementing some thoroughly researched and theoretically sound implicit measurement techniques.
What can we do with it? We think that, properly done, it can add an interesting dimension to branding studies, concept tests, and many other domains. More to come shortly!
What are you most proud of?
Lately, I have been lucky enough to implement a couple of long-term and ambitious R&D projects, for example our work on implicit measurement. Another interesting project involves tracking the outcomes of online discussion groups, from the perspective of participants, moderators, and clients. The scale and ambition of these projects is really quite amazing to me, and I feel very proud that I work for a company that can see the need for such research, and take it on enthusiastically.
What has surprised you lately?
So this isn’t necessarily related to market research or InSites Consulting, but I was surprised to hear that Herman Van Rompuy, the Belgian prime minister, was chosen to be the first president of the European Union. Apparently many Belgians were also surprised… 🙂
What did your morning look like today?
This morning, I worked on developing syntax (a small computer program) to run the analyses for some implicit measurement tests that we are doing. It was a little bit complicated, but went just fine in the end. I also did some analyses for a project on youth marketing that we are running with MTV Networks. There’s a lot to do at InSites Consulting, but the work is always rewarding!
Let’s end with a ‘quote of the day’!

Assessing the unconscious in terms of processing subliminal stimuli is analogous to evaluating the intelligence of a fish based on its behavior out of water.

This is a quotation from the psychologist John Bargh, a tremendously brilliant researcher who has done a great deal of work on unconscious or “implicit” thought and behavior. His point is an interesting one, which is that, in addition to having a very developed conscious mind; humans have a complex system of unconscious processing which can guide intricate behavior in the absence of direct conscious input. Previous research on this unconscious mind has been conducted in such a way (e.g. presenting stimuli for a very short duration) that has led to an erroneous picture of the unconscious mind as being simple and inflexible, when in fact the opposite is true.

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