In lecture, I was incredibly interested with the Projective tests and how they are able to tell so much about the character of a person. Although I was interested, I didn't know how to make a blog post about it. Going to faithful Wikipedia, I saw one of the headings was uses in marketing which is exactly what I plan on majoring in. Match made in heaven. I looked up scholastic articles about projective tests used in marketing and found the perfect one (linked below). It first summarizes what we were taught: some information can not be gained simply by asking. Because we are intelligent humans, there is always a bias in our answers because it comes from us. The article talked about how sometimes questionnaires about products do not truly measure the market but instead measure how people want to be seen. The subjects, being human, respond in a way in which they are viewed favorably. Saying you drink diet, exercise more than you do, or, in the case of this article, drink light beer is a natural "white lie" that many tell but that screws up the data.
The article used an example of the projective test used by researchers of Nescafe. When subjects said they didn't like the product, the main response was, "I don't like how it tastes." Puzzled by these vague responses, they switched to a projective test. They made two grocery lists, one with Nescafe and the other with regular coffee then asked subjects to write a little about the woman buying everything on that list. The findings show that the woman who bought Nescafe was lazy, stingy, and a bad wife. They concluded it was not the product itself, but rather what the product did to the social custom of coffee. It's the complete act of making a pot of coffee which is seen as womanly, a good wife, and active in the kitchen. Obviously, no subject could pull that information out when asked why they didn't like the product. It wasn't that the taste was bad, it was that instant coffee meant the woman was abandoning the traditions of caring for the family, guests, or neighbors. Women would not buy the coffee because they did not want to be seen as a negligent wife.
The article concludes with the reminder that products affect the private circle and customs of everyday life where traditions and social norms are incredibly important. I found this research not only interesting, but also insightful about the everyday life of an average human and the bias we all carry. The same techniques and general rules used in Psychology can be used in the business world to know and understand the customer. Although these tests can be pricy to implement, the knowledge gained shows the hidden bias of the customer base which can make or break a product on the market. I would like to see other cases where projective tests were used in marketing to see if it always has the same type of response. Where do projective tests fail? Is there a line where people won't express their feelings, even in a projective test?