Friday 10/05/2013 10:00 - 12:00
Location: Brunel Univeristy, Howell Building, Room H139
Speaker: Dr Jonathan Freeman, CEEDs Project Coordinator, Senior Lecturer in Psychology at Goldsmiths, University of London

NOTE: this seminar will be run as a 2h Workshop format.

Contrary to conventional wisdom, recent research suggests that unconscious processes are found to be more efficient than conscious processes with respect to consumer choice of complex products. When comparing between houses, cars or even cheaper but complex and multifaceted products such as washing machines, consumers who put the most thought into their decisions (and think in a rational manner) are not necessarily more likely to make the right one. This is because rational thinking seems to bring consumers away from their true preferences, making them unhappy with their choice over time. Complex consumer decisions are instead best made without too much conscious thought, or in the absence of “attentive deliberation”. Irrational choosers, who choose with their emotions, tend in fact to emerge as the best performers when it comes to determining the right choice in complex matters. In this seminar I will present some of the ideas we are developing in the CEEDs project, which is based on research which has found the unconscious to play a bigger role than previously thought in decision making and understanding of complex information. In CEEDs we are exploring how new technology might assist our everyday decision making and information foraging. For consumers this means that they could have a more personalised shopping experience that helps them to make faster decisions about which product might be better. Ultimately CEEDs aims to help people make decisions that are more satisfactory for them. This requires collecting information about people’s responses or reactions to products (and parts of products) of which they may or may not be aware of having. This is not to say that people would not have conscious control over their choices, but rather that their ‘implicit’ responses could be used to help them make the right conscious decision. For designers, CEEDs can be used as a tool to better and more deeply understand customers’ responses to products and unconscious market needs. Besides being used in commercial (retail) contexts (for use by consumers and product design teams), the CEEDs approach can also be applied in domains such as archaeology and neuroscience, for experts to better understand data interrelationships, or history, for expert user groups and public information displays. The seminar will be arranged in a workshop format, in which attendees will be asked to imagine other innovative usage scenarios for technologies using CEEDs or other approaches, looking at which issues could arise in a fictional good case, and how best to address the challenges.

Dr Jonathan Freeman, BSc, MPhil, PhD (http://www.gold.ac.uk/psychology/staff/freeman/) is Managing Director of i2 media research ltd. and Senior Lecturer in Psychology at Goldsmiths, University of London. He directs all research conducted by i2, including academic research projects. Jonathan’s expertise is in the area of user research, with a focus on adoption and use of media products and services. He has over 15 years experience in the evaluation of new media products and services, using the full range of methodologies deployed by i2, successfully disseminating results within both academic and industrial contexts.
Jonathan is coordinator of the CEEDs (Collective Experience of Empathic Data Systems) project (http://ceeds-project.eu/), a 48 month project funded under FP7 which aims to take the merging of virtual reality and human consciousness to new levels.