Irrational Consumer Mind
Evolutionary explanation of “irrational” consumer behavior
Today most of the studies argued that consumer behavior can not solely depend on rationality. Buying decision is considered as logical phenomena, in which the price and quality of the product evaluated objectively by the consumer. However, our mind is working in a more complex attitude, and evolutionary psychology can help us to understand the consumer mind on “irrational” choices.
Recently, marketing specialists interested in neuroeconomics and neuromarketing to have a better understanding of consumer behavior. Without any doubt, evolutionary psychology provides a wider perspective on decision making which may be quite beneficial for the marketing specialists to analyze consumer behavior.
Humans have some fallacies when it comes to preferences, but are they really irrational? A preference that serves as a beneficial tool for us to maximize our fitness in the environment, may seem irrational for the modern world. Therefore, the irrationality of the behavior can not be understood only for the modern conditions with economic parameters. For example, Nirvana Fallacy known as perfect solution fallacy is a human tendency to seek ultimate and the perfect solution which may seem quite irrational for the modern world. Perfect solution fallacy creates too much anxiety and stress on modern humans since we live in a huge society with millions of options and solutions to everyday problems. However, Nirvana Fallacy is quite crucial for a hunter-gatherer to maximize the fitness based on natural selection. Because solutions to everyday problems such as choosing poisonous food to fulfill hunger may be deadly for a hunter-gatherer. Therefore, consumer choice that aimed to find the perfect one can not be considered as irrational at all.
Consumers may be far from being rational even for the decisions of food and beverages. People are not quite aware of what drives their actions when they choose between healthy vs. unhealthy foods. As evolutionary psychology perspective claims, sweet is one of the significant food preferences for the human universal. Sweet flavors mostly have high calories and they are easy to handle, which is crucial for hunter-gatherers. Therefore, when we eat sweet flavors, we feel happy and satisfied, which is in line with left frontal activation.
It is important to note that understanding of the decisions that are not fully conscious is crucial to interpret consumer behavior. However, marketing specialist should consider ethical values, before targeting and manipulating human instincts and preferences. Likewise, manipulation of the decision making based on the human tendency to increase fitness evolutionarily might create problems for the consumers and it needed to be handled quite responsibly by the marketing specialists. Our adaptive mechanisms may not always be the best option for the modern world.