RE: Preloading and The Above-Average Effect

Valdesolo, P. (2010). “Flattery Will Get You Far.” Visited on October 8, 2012:

A study suggests that flattery is effective, illustrating that even obviously manipulative comments play into the an individual’s high self-regard, affecting later behavior. This phenomenon, called the above-average effect, can be found for example in advertising. When a person views an advertisement showing an exaggerated response to a product’s use, their response in the aisle when making a choice, is measurably swayed. Sunlight, breezes, and smiling people in light sweaters walking through green pastures create a positive impression we remember when buying liquid laundry detergent of a certain brand, even if we know there is little rational correlation.

Conceptual Design: The principle of the above-average effect could be used strategically. Research into a population’s background might give a picture of how to articulate a product; or, similarly, the idea of preloading expectations through associations in a programmed environment could be used to aim a particular audiences preferences or choices, or make rational jumps easier when transitioning from one experience to another.

Interaction Design: “I want to be special!” Letting the user interact and uniquely configure their use of the product. Research into cultural background should be done to make necessary components available: user studies. History or provenance is often a good starting point to make an object relevant, making personal relationships and tying into a user’s culture.

Interface Design: Visual design should be stylized to reflect qualities found important to the audience.