November 2012 Archives

http://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2012/11/29/u-s-birth-rate-falls-to-a-record-low-decline-is-greatest-among-immigrants/

This was an interesting study by Pew Research Center about the birth rate in the United States. The headline caught my eye right away because I thought it was strange that the birth rate in the U.S. is the lowest ever recorded.
This study used preliminary data for the 2011 National Center for Health Statistics as well as data from 1990 to 2010 from the National Center for Health Statistics.
The study shows that the United States is displaying a recent large decrease in birth rate due to very low birth rates for immigrants. The substantially lower birth rate of immigrants is pulling the overall number of birth rates down for the country. I thought this was particularily interesting because it shows that birth rate as a whole is not decreasing but the problem is with a small sector. I think that the high level of immigrants skewing the data could lower the validity of the study.

http://pewresearch.org/databank/dailynumber/?NumberID=1638

This research study by Pew Research Center investaged the correlation between cell phone use and holiday shopping.
During a 30 day period before and after Christmas 2011, 38% of cell owners called a friend for advice about a purchase they were considering; 24% looked up online reviews of a product; and, 25% checked prices to see if they could do better elsewhere.
The age group most likely to use cell phones to help make a shopping decision was 18-49, which makes sense since they are the most avid shoppers and cell phone users.

The Best (and Worst) of Mobile Connectivity

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http://pewinternet.org/Reports/2012/Best-Worst-Mobile.aspx


This study shows attitudes of 2,254 respondents toward their cellphones and their usage patterns.The results reported were taken between March 15-April 3, 2012, including interviews on landline and cell phones and conducted in English and Spanish. The overall sample has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.4 percentage points.

This survey's numbers were shocking to me because it showed how attached people are to their cellphones. It is interesting that people can be so attached to an electronic device and have such strong emotions toward it. The most interesting fact to me was the overall pressure people feel to be attached to their phones. Whether or not they want to be attached, they feel as if they have to be because other people are so reliant on their phones. It has become a social norm for people to always be connected with their phones.

Does game violence make teens aggressive?

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http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/16099971/ns/technology_and_science-games/t/does-game-violence-make-teens-aggressive/

Researchers at the Indiana University School of Medicine conducted a study on adolescents and video games. They say that brain scans of kids who played a violent video game showed an increase in emotional arousal and a corresponding decrease of activity in brain areas involved in self-control, inhibition and attention.
The team divided a group of 44 adolescents into two groups, and randomly assigned the kids to play either "Medal of Honor" (violent) or "Need for Speed" (non-violent) for 30 minutes. Immediately after the play sessions, the children were given MRIs of their brains.
Although they cannot definitely say that violent video games make children more violent, they can say that video games make children more emotionally aroused which may lead to violent behavior.

I thought this was an interesting study because kids are so into video games and it will be interesting to see the long-term effects of video games and personality traits.

How Companies Learn Your Secrets

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http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/19/magazine/shopping-habits.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

I thought this article was interesting because it explains the analytics behind Target's marketing strategy and reveals that major retailers probably know much more than consumers are aware of.

Target assigns customers Guest ID numbers whenever possible and tracks all his/her purchases. This allows Target to target the customer on an individual level and advertise products specifically to the customer based on previous purchases.
Target also purchases demographic information on customers with Guest ID numbers to better target products toward them. Some information available to Target includes marital status, income, gender, age, whether you have kids, what part of town you live in and much more.
Through trial and error and many surveys, Target has learned that the best way to get consumers to become regular customers is to send coupons during pivotal times in their lives. For example, during pregnancy, engagement, divorce, etc. These times in your life you are more likely to get into a routine of purchasing habits. Target uses this knowledge to subtly draw you into their store for products by sending coupons for a baby (if you were pregnant) combined with other products so it was less obvious you were being targeted. Target even gets as specific as targeting you during different times in your pregnancy according to how far along you are.

I thought this was an extremely interesting article because as a consumer I feel like I'm completely blind to advertising techniques such as this. It is interesting to think about how much information about yourself is available to corporations and the way they use this information is genius.

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