L2′s annual Innovation Forum will be held on November 6 & 7 this year at the Morgan Library. The two day, TED style forum will feature experts speaking to a variety of innovations in digital marketing, commerce, and social media. Below we highlight one of our forum speakers, Baba Shiv, who will give a talk on “Science of Desire and Desirability.”

Baba Shiv is a professor and the Director of the Strategic Marketing Management Executive Program at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business. His research expertise is in the area of neuroeconomics — specifically how neural structures relate to emotion and motivation in shaping decisions. In addition to an academic career spanning over two decades, Shiv has also served as the editor of the Journal of Consumer Research and is on the editorial boards of the Journal of Consumer Psychology, Journal of Retailing, Journal of Marketing and the Journal of Marketing Research.

Much of Shiv’s research has been on studying consumer behavior and identifying the occasions when consumers become irrational. Surprisingly, it doesn’t always take much. One of Shiv’s experiments involved dividing up a number of Stanford undergrads into two groups and instructing one group to memorize a two digit number and the other to memorize a seven digit number. Students then had to walk into another room and recite their numbers, but not before they were presented with either chocolate cake or fruit salad as a reward for their participation in the experiment. What Shiv discovered was that students who were asked to memorize the seven digit number were almost twice as likely as their two digit counterparts to choose chocolate cake over the healthier alternative. According to the professor, the reason for this is because the rational brain is already so overtaxed, it only takes something as small as the stress or effort of memorizing five extra numbers before the emotional brain starts taking over decision making. The emotional brain decides what it wants even when the rational brain knows it doesn’t need it. Although a simple experiment, the study shows how easily rational decision making can be compromised in any situation, whether shopping while hungry or working while exhausted.

To register for the L2 Innovation Forum, click on the link below. Registration is complimentary for L2 Members.

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