News & Events

Former UI Professor's Marketing Study Noted

For a 1999 research paper, Baba Shiv, then an assistant professor at the UNIVERSITY OF IOWA, told two groups of experimental subjects that they would be participating in a memory study. He asked the first group to memorize a two-digit number; the second group got a seven-digit one. Then, before the subjects were asked to recall the numbers, Shiv offered them a choice: a scrumptious piece of chocolate cake or a healthy bowl of fruit salad. Remarkably, 63 percent of the subjects who were trying to memorize the longer number chose the cake, compared with 41 percent of those in the shorter-number group. "We distracted the cognitive side so that people were more likely to go with emotional impulses," Shiv says. He is now a marketing professor at Stanford University's Graduate School of Business.

Return to top of page