inside stories

Dichotomous Thinking

Consumer buying behaviour most times works on the critical thinking paradigm – making clear, rational and informed decisions. However, we see some decision making patterns straying from this process and entering the cognitive bias domain. Like for most, absence of ill health equals good health or higher price equals better quality. In such cases, the fallacies emerge from what psychologist’s term as dichotomous thinking.

Dichotomous thinking also known as black and white thinking is when a person classifies something into two absolute categories (no shades of grey). We see this phenomenon working the consumer psyche in certain categories where lack of knowledge feeds anxiety. The brain then acts in a way so as to relieve itself of this undesired state. Hence in our minds, absence of carbonated water or sugar or Trans fat equals (conveniently) a healthy product or in case of various brands available for a product, the one which is most expensive will (naturally) be better than the others.
So the next time we go shopping, maybe we can reason with our own judgements and break through these self-built defence mechanisms.