Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Human factors strikes in amusing places !

A was reading an article (the specific article is actually not relevant but it was in Businessweek) that was about the big British health products company Reckitt Benckiser Group.  They have decided to take their worldwide market share-leading condom and compete with US market share-leading Trojan in its home territory.   This is a good demonstration of why a dominant market share when you are the only large player in a large market and the only competition is limited to pure play niches is not safe.  Most markets have two majors, so a single major market is ripe for an entrant from somewhere else. 

As much fun as talking about condoms is, my blog today is about something else. The very next page of the magazine was a set of “Business Briefs.”  Of course, that has a pretty standard meaning that everyone would get on their first look.  Except right after reading the article on condoms, my first thought when I saw “Briefs” was men’s underwear.   Just for a second.  But it is a good human factors example of the effects of residual activation on top down processing. I tried to talk enough in my introduction to get you to experience it a little bit too.  Anyone?  Anyone? 

I don’t have time today to go into detail about what residual activation or top down processing is.  If you have taken a cognitive psychology of human factors course you probably already know.  Quite a few of the “Isn’t this amazing” illusions that get sent around by email take advantage of this phenomenon. 

This happened to be a funny one, so I thought I would share.

1 comment:

Sandra G. said...

Well you did a good job on your "lead-in" since I was thinking the exact same thing when I got to that part of your description. (Glad to know it wasn't just me!) :)