Noise Level Influences Consumers’ Buying Choices

August 3, 2012

Unlocking Word Meanings
Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

1. moderate (adj.) [mod-er-it, mod-rit] – average; being at a middle level
Example: People should listen to music at a moderate volume to avoid damaging their ears.

2. innovative (adj.) 
[in-uh-vey-tiv] – new or done in a creative way
Example: The salesman introduced the innovative features of the new iPhone.

3. frame of mind (idiom) [freym uhv mahynd] – a person’s mental condition, mood, or feeling
Example: He was in the frame of mind to get a new mobile phone, so he did not leave the store until he bought one.

4. come up with (phrasal v.) [kuhm uhp with] – to think of or produce something
Example: The supermarket will come up with new discount promotions to attract customers.

5. typical (adj.) [tip-i-kuhl] – usual or normal, just like all others of its kind
Example A typical TV is used just for watching shows, but a smart TV can be used almost like a computer.

Read the text below.

A moderate level of noise makes consumers more likely to buy products that are innovative.

According to a study led by Ravi Mehta, an associate professor at the University of Illinois, hearing moderate noise levels—about 70 decibelsdistracts consumers from their normal way of thinking making them more creative in their choices. Once in this creative frame of mind, consumers are able to appreciate the value of innovative products.

To test how noise affects consumer behavior, Mehta’s group conducted several experiments using noise recordings taken in a busy restaurant and near a highway.

For the study, college students were divided into four different groups. Each group was assigned a noise level: high, moderate, low, and zero noise.

In one experiment, 65 students were asked to answer a creativity test while being exposed to different levels of noise. The group that heard moderate noise had the best performance in the test.

Meanwhile, students who heard low and zero noise came up with similarly average results. The group exposed to a high noise level performed the worst, as students could not focus on the test due to the loud noise.

In another experiment, 68 students were asked in a survey to choose between a typical bicycle and a folding bicycle. Again, each group was made to hear a different noise level. Results showed that students who heard moderate noise were more likely to pick the folding bicycle.

Mehta said the findings of the study could be helpful for store owners wishing to increase sales of innovative and unique products.

Viewpoint Discussion
Enjoy a discussion with your tutor. 

Discussion A

·         Would you say you are someone who gets easily interested in new and unique products? Why or why not?
·         What are some of the factors that affect the way you buy products?

Discussion B

·         Describe the sound level at your home/school/work or favorite shopping place. Are these places noisy or quiet?
·         Would you prefer to live in a peaceful and quiet place, or a busy and noisy place? Please give the reasons for your choice.

August 3, 2012