centre stage effect

Are we in control of our own decisions?

Pokémon Go is sweeping the nation, in fact the world. Part of the game requires players to reach level 5, visit a gym and then pick a team. The choice being InstinctMystic, or Valor. It seems many are going for the middle option and choosing Mystic, turning many gyms across the country blue.

However, this choice is not that surprising as when presented with three choices consumers often choose the middle option. This is true of coffee shops, ice creams and salad boxes where there is often a choice of small, medium and large. We even see it occurring on our motorways with many driving in the middle lane.

There has been a lot of research into why most choose the middle option, known as the Centre-Stage Effect. It doesn’t matter whether items are arranged vertically or horizontally or whether there are three options or five, consumers will still choose the one in the middle. The theory behind it is that people often associate the middle option as the most popular choice, bringing an element of group psychology into it.

Businesses use this to their advantage in pricing strategies, ensuring the highest profit margin can be gained from the middle option. So next time you’re making a purchase decision think carefully about your choice, especially if leaning towards the middle option.


By Danielle Barnett, Associate Director

This entry was tagged Engagement, Technology, Apps, Consumer psychology, Centre-Stage Effect and posted on July 27, 2016

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