Paint Me a Picture

By: Dr. James McFarland, People Scientist Over the last few years, an illuminating series of studies about false beliefs and misperceptions about the state of the world has been underway. In the first of these studies (known as “The Gapminder Misconception Study”) published back in 2017, the researchers discovered that misperceptions among the general population … Continued Read more →

The Danger of Boredom

By: Dr. James McFarland, People Scientist What do you think would happen if you spent 6-15 minutes in a room with nothing to interact with but your own thoughts? If this idea gives you an uneasy pause, you are not alone. While it’s tempting to believe that we big-brained humans enjoy thinking for thinking’s sake, … Continued Read more →

CMO Minute: Balancing Profit and Customer Love

By: Dr. James McFarland, People Scientist Although an essential component to the overall success of market economies, profit-seeking is often viewed negatively within many social circles. In fact, for-profit businesses struggle to achieve even a small measure of the goodwill automatically garnered by their non-profit counterparts. For example, studies in psychology show that implying the … Continued Read more →

Hold the Fone: Consumers Care About Proper Spelling

By: Dr. James McFarland, People Scientist Hello everyone! Welcome to our 100th CMO Minute. This week we will be talking about the importance of brand names, and how creating a successful name may not be quite as straightforward as one would think. Consumers have always had a complex relationship with brand names, and rightly so, … Continued Read more →

Artificial Intelligence: Balancing New Technology with Human Empathy

By: Dr. James McFarland, People Scientist …One impulse from a vernal wood  May teach you more of man,  Of moral evil and of good,  Than all the sages can.  Sweet is the lore which Nature brings;  Our meddling intellect  Mis-shapes the beauteous forms of things… -Excerpt from “Tables Turned” (William Wordsworth, 1798) Towards the end … Continued Read more →

Soda Wars: Revenge of the Diet Beverages

By: Dr. James McFarland, People Scientist Not so long ago (the early 1990s) and not so far away (well, here on planet earth), an epic battle filled with intrigue, sabotage, and sacrifice took place. Although it was “fought” in plain sight, few understood that the conflict was designed to ensure that both sides would lose … Continued Read more →

Super Bowl Spot Awards

By: Dr. James McFarland, People Scientist After months of anticipation, Super Bowl LVII has come and gone. With the watercooler discussions of the big game’s highlights (or low points) starting to fade, now is the perfect time to bring up what everyone has secretly been wondering: which of the Super Bowl commercials this year were … Continued Read more →

CMO Minute: Letting the Heart Decide

By: Dr. James McFarland, People Scientist It is no secret that emotional intuition plays a pivotal role in human behavior. As Social Psychologist Jonathan Haidt has explained in his work, the concept of “the emotional dog and its rational tail” provides a firm foundation for understanding why humans make the choices that they do. As … Continued Read more →

CMO Minute: Can Too Much “Science” be Bad for Your Brand?

By: Dr. James McFarland, People Scientist The weight of scientific authority has long been a persuasive tool in marketing strategies. As an extremely social species, humans care a great deal about categorical authority, and in the modern world there are few more revered sources of authority than those affiliated with the theoretical concept of science. … Continued Read more →

CMO Minute: Avoiding the Uncanny Valley

By: Dr. James McFarland, People Scientist When it comes to “humanness,” it turns out there is a fine line between appealing and appalling. Although rather than a line, research suggests the border separating the two feelings may be more of a valley. Typically, assigning human characteristics (e.g., body structure, expressions, emotions) to animals or non-living … Continued Read more →

CMO Minute: The Power of Listening

By: Dr. James McFarland, People Scientist We all have our preferred way of gathering information from the world. Some of us read, many of us watch television or interact with social media, and some of us even prefer to take in our information via the structure of online or in-person meetings (remember those?). In all … Continued Read more →

CMO Minute: Windows to the Soul?

A recent study published in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin has uncovered a surprising result of what happens when attention is directed towards another person’s eyes. Read more →