Influence and Marketing (2)

birds and influence

We have seen before on Influence & marketing (1) that influence is more complex than it seems and deserves a much more detailed approach in order to distinguish influence from all of the other influence-like behaviors like for example homophily.


Now, let’s apply this to one of my huge passions: Marketing.  After all, marketing and psychology are much alike. Is influence really what is affecting a purchase decision?  We should differentiate between behavioral changes and behavioral tendencies.


How much influence is there in a purchase decision? That’s a tough question. For starters, we should know the effect of recommendation above the initial probability of purchasing. In other words, what is the added value of influence on my previous probability of purchase decision? will it have any effect?


This problematic can be solved by the use of a person’s social data, but where can we find all the social data about someone, where he indicates all his passions and interests? Would he be willing to share correct information? Well enough rhetoric questioning: You can use social media.


By analyzing the data obtained from social media, we can separate (or distinguish a little better) influence from other confounding factors such as homophily and measure what we really want to measure (it may sound obvious saying “measure what we really want to measure” but if you had a slight idea of the amount of statistical validity problems, you would recognize it is not a trivial matter).… Read the rest of “Influence and Marketing (2)”


Moral behaviour and inequality

moral and unequal pay

We tend to think that the sense of morality and equality are only human traits. However, Psychology has proven that this trait is shared among many different animal species.


It is of particular interest the work of Frans de Wall a biologist and primatologist known for his work on the behavior and social intelligence of primates. We can see in his experiments that monkeys among other animals share a sense of morality. 


For instance, if two monkeys execute the same task and are rewarded unequally, then the monkey who was rewarded poorly will complain and even protest. It is something better seen than explained so I would like to share one of Frans de Wall‘s conferences in TED that illustrates what I’m talking about here.


Here is the short version (for people with less time or who just want a quick peek at the experiment)



The two monkeys are rewarded with pieces of cucumber (the poor reward) and grapes (the better reward).


I think that moral behavior is based upon a sense of fairness / reciprocity and empathy / compassion. What I like about this experiment is that it allows to focus only on the fairness and reciprocity component of moral behaviour because the way they reward the monkeys is not something that they can share.


Of course, humans may react differently in case of inequality because we have “deeper and more complex” reactions, or rationalized reactions.… Read the rest of “Moral behaviour and inequality”


Influence and marketing (1)

Birds of a feather

Human beings are not perfect, and one of the many defects we have is that we confuse correlation and causation. I would like to talk about how it affects Social Influence and then about some of the consequences it can have in marketing.


Influence is when one person is affected by others in an emotional, rational or behavioral manner. Let’s take for example someone famous on TV, a Rockstar or a politician. We know that these people’s actions can have a big impact on the rest of the population. A president’s speech for instance can change the course of a whole country, go to war or achieve a peaceful resolution to a conflict.


But social influence isn’t caused only by big names. We’ve all got a friend who has persuaded us to go with him to a concert, to an opening, or to buy a product we did not even knew it existed. Social influence is also present in these cases where the average guy can influence someone else. If we add social networks to the equation the power of influence can be even higher than we sometimes think.


However, what if the impact of social influence was not that high, or at least not always that high? what if we are overestimating the real impact of social influence? Chances are we do.


One of the main reason is that social influence is really hard to measure and separate from all the other psychosocial possible explanations.… Read the rest of “Influence and marketing (1)”


What motivates us


I would like to share a video that from my point of view should be a classic about what motivates us.

It’s an adaptation of Dan Pink’s talk at the RSA.



It is related to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, focusing on the top of the pyramid where the classical reward system is not as effective as it would seem.


I think one of the biggest truths it speaks is that contrary to popular beliefs, rewards can be a double edge sword. They can sky rocket productivity in repeatable tasks but can also decrease creativity and productivity in mind challenging tasks.


Of course, this does not mean that people should not reward intellectuals, but that different kinds of needs require different kinds of incentives: there is no “one-size-fits-all” solution.


Cvivas.com : Hello World!

hello cvivas.com

Hello World everyone!


I welcome you all to my personal page, Cvivas.com .


Here you will find some of my thoughts and opinions about different areas. I will do my best to keep the focus on Technology, Psychology and Business.

But who am I kidding… there will also be music, art, and a lot of randomness, which I find makes the world a more interesting place.


With no more introductions, i greet you all with the mandatory “hello world” post, a must for everyone who has a computer background.

I hope you enjoy my blog at least half as much as I enjoy sharing it.