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The Hidden Benefit of Objectivity

It should be clear to all of us that the more you do something, the better you get at it. Practice makes perfect. However, the downside can be illustrated through what is known as an ‘open field experiment’ involving rodents.

The rodents are placed into an open field, which, not surprisingly, elicits servere stress symptoms: an inability to move, elevated corticosterone etc. When the same procedure of placing the rodent out in an open field and letting it experience a fear response, what happens is, well, startling. Over time, the rodent stopped showing signs of fear. It wasn’t showing signs of immobility  and defecating anymore, but yet, its corticosterone levels where still  elevated.

This examples shows how the decisions that we make consciously over time can become part of our subconscious. Significantly, the absence of stress or fear does not make a decision any more ‘right’ – it just feels that way because we don’t experience the fear associated with the decision anymore. What could the implication of this be? When you are faced with a decision that looks easy to make, it might be only because the situation is familiar. I think the same goes for any marketing decision. When we have to make stressful decisions, it is best to get the viewpoint of an ‘outsider’ so that they can provide us with more objective feelings of what risks the decision(s) entail.

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Werner van Zyl
Phone: +27 84 810 22 74
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