Sheffield Café Scientifique

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how most adverts work

06 Mar 2006
Dr Tom Stafford
Department of Psychology, at The University of Sheffield

Most of us don't think we're particularly affected by adverts. But, it can not be for nothing that the advertising industry in the UK spent £13 billion last year trying to change our buying habits. Another couple of billion pounds was spent researching the most effective ways of influencing us. Psychologists have spent years trying to predict what makes people behave in certain ways, and we're not that close to an answer. Perhaps the advertisers, with their massive budget, have cracked it? And if they have, should we be worried? This talk will invite the audience to consider what kind of effect advertising has, and how most adverts work. Although 'subliminaladvertising' is a myth, some recent research suggests that our behaviour can be influenced without our full awareness of it. What these experiments mean for the freedom of the individual is an open question, which we will discuss.